“With their easy manner and deeply ingrained intimacy, the poems of David Huddle’s Blacksnake at the Family Reunion read as if written on the skin: personal and family history interspersed with the imaginative and the speculative, all scanned and reported with a practiced and practical eye.”—Carol Moldaw
David Huddle’s latest collection, Blacksnake at the Family Reunion, shares intimate and amusing stories as if told by a quirky, usually reticent, great uncle. In “Boy Story,” a teenage romantic meeting ends abruptly when the boy’s sweetheart realizes they have parked near her grandmother’s grave. The poem “Aloft” recalls a widowed mother’s indignation after she receives a marriage proposal in a hot air balloon. Haunted by the words on his older sister’s tombstone—“born & died . . . then / a single date / in November”—the speaker in one poem struggles to understand a tragic loss: “The ampersand / tells the whole truth / and nothing but, / so help me God, / whose divine shrug / is expressed so / eloquently / by that grave mark.”
Blacksnake at the Family Reunion continues Huddle’s ongoing poetic inquiry into the power of early childhood and family to infuse adulthood with sadness and despair—an inquiry conducted with profound empathy for the fragility of humankind.
A native of Ivanhoe, Virginia, David Huddle served in the U.S. Army in Germany and Vietnam and earned degrees from the University of Virginia, Hollins College, and Columbia University. Author of seventeen books of poetry, fiction, and essays, Huddle has taught at the University of Vermont, the Bread Loaf School of English, the Rainier Writing Workshop, and Hollins University.
72 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
LSU Press Paperback Original