Chosen from hundreds of manuscripts as the winner of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, Ann Hudson's The Armillary Sphere possesses, in the words of final judge Mary Kinzie,
“… a brightness of spirit and quickness of thought that are conveyed with extraordinary care as she frames moments of experience. Her style is unobtrusive—no fireworks of phrasing obscure the thing felt and seen. So simple a device as taking an intransitive verb transitively can shed strong light on the moment: “A fine sheen /of sweat glistens the cocktail glasses,”—and Hudson studies emotions with a brave restraint that resists cliché, while deftly joining together intuitions that bring contradictory or opposing charge.… Both circular and digressive, Hudson's portrayal of beings of all ages poised on their varying thresholds brings a novelist's sense of details unfolding into their future under the control of a fine poet's pure and condensed language of likeness.”
"The poems in The Armillary Sphere are alive with a language of attention that redeems meaning from experience -- whether it is imagined, as when Galileo recalls the pendulum swing of a cathedral chandelier from his childhood, or registered as the direct experience of a poet alert to the world she confronts:
From a shrub, two sparrows fly up
in a double helix and dart away.
We repeat ourselves endlessly
and are never the same.
These poems record and recover a rich world, one that comes alive to the focused eye, to an ear attuned to authentic sound, and a mind both spry and surprising."
-- Gregory Orr
“Hudson….is a poet of fine observational skills. There is the delightfully tactile, almost synaesthetic, quality of an image such as:
…the long avenue
of oh through my throat --
Surely the exercise that can arrive at such an image is tantamount to meditation-- total presence in the moment.”
-- Gilbert Wesley Purdy