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Poetry. Heart music, soul song. There is something about this particular arrangement of words that digs a deeper meaning out of a word, a phrase. While I don’t know how April was chosen as National Poetry Month, it seems fitting, as Virginia sheds her winter coat and bursts into bloom, that we celebrate Virginia’s poets. We will visit our 2020 Library of Virginia Literary Award-honored poets and encourage you to accept the invitation into their worlds. 

Week 3

For reminders on how best to consume a poem, visit PBS Newshour’s Guide.

David Huddle

David Huddle holds degrees from the University of Virginia, Hollins College, and Columbia University. Originally from Ivanhoe, Virginia, he taught for 38 years at the University of Vermont, then served three years as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University, as well as multiple chairmanship and fellowships at august institutions across the East Coast. Huddle’s work has appeared in The American Scholar, Esquire, Appalachian Heritage, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Shenandoah, Agni, and The Georgia Review. His novels have won best book declarations by Esquire magazine and the L.A. Times Book Review. With multiple finalist nominations under his belt for the Library of Virginia Literary Awards, he won the fiction prize in 2012. He is currently a professor emeritus at the University of Vermont.


  1. Huddle begins his poem with an excerpt from Barbara Greenberg’s work of the same name. Do you think his inspiration is her work or a similar experience he lived that was brought to mind by Greenberg? Read David Huddle’s explanation of Greenberg’s work here.
  2. Have you encountered a stranger whose presence was so commanding, it silenced a room? What do you remember about that person?
  3. It seems as though Huddle is transforming his gaze into the girl’s power. Does the poem leave you with a sense of the girl’s power? That she “owns” her viewers as “tiny strands of our attention?” Do you believe the girl would actually feel that way? If not, how might she feel?

As a culmination of our National Poetry Month observance, please watch this panel discussion with our Virginia Literary 2020 Award winner and finalists, moderated by Virginia Poet Laureate, Luisa A. Ilgoria.

Craving more? Purchase featured poets’ books at the Virginia Shop, supporting not only the poets and their publishers, but the Library of Virginia through the Library of Virginia Foundation.

Nan Carmack

Director, Library Development & Networking

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