Governor Robert Bentley will commission Andrew Glaze as the eleventh Poet Laureate of Alabama in a ceremony in the Old Archives Chamber in the Alabama State Capitol on November 5 at 10 a.m. A reception will follow at the NewSouth Bookstore, 105 South Court Street, Montgomery, AL 36104. The event is open to the public.
Glaze is the author of eight books of poetry, and has published two collections of selected works. Glaze initially won critical acclaim with the publication of his first book, Damned Ugly Children: Poems (Trident Press, 1966). According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama, “Glaze has received Poetry magazine's Eunice Tietjens Award, and the American Library Association included his book Damned Ugly Children in its Notable Books List for 1966. Library Journal chose I Am the Jefferson County Courthouse as one of the best small press titles of 1981. He has won a National Hackney Award, and his selected poems, Someone Will Go On Owing, received the Best Book of the Year Award from the Southeastern Booksellers' Association in 1998. He was also the first recipient of the ABA Online Award the same year.”
Born in Nashville in 1920, Glaze soon moved with his family to Birmingham, where his father practiced medicine. He attended Harvard College and served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corp during World War II. After the war, he briefly attended Stanford University.
Glaze eventually returned to Birmingham, where he worked for nine years as a reporter for the Birmingham Post-Herald. He moved to New York in 1957 after he testified against a deputy sheriff during a civil rights trial. There, his career flourished with publications of his poems and productions of his plays. After several years in Miami, Glaze returned to Birmingham in 2004.
Act No. 92 of the 1931 Alabama Legislature created the honorary office of Poet Laureate of Alabama. The poet laureate is designated by the Alabama Writers' Conclave, a voluntary organization of Alabama historians, playwrights, fiction writers, poets, and newspaper writers. The Writers' Conclave designates a suitable candidate and upon the election of a nominee by a majority of the membership at any annual meeting, the name is certified to the governor. The governor then issues a commission to the poet laureate.
The term of office of the poet laureate was initially indeterminate. The term was changed to four years by an amendment to the constitution of the Alabama Writers' Conclave that became effective in 1983. This amendment also limits the poet laureate to one four-year term and requires that a poet laureate nominee have resided in Alabama for at least fifteen years. Membership in the Alabama Writers' Conclave is not a requirement for nomination as poet laureate.
(Photo of Andrew Glaze by Robert P. Glaze)