Andrew Louis Glaze
April, 21, 1920 – February 7, 2016
By his daughter, Elizabeth Glaze
On April 21st, 1920, Mildred Ezell Glaze and Dr. Andrew Louis Glaze welcomed their 1st child into the world in Nashville, Tennessee. Thus began 9 decades of debate as to whether their son was “Andrew L. Glaze III” or “Jr.”. He was indeed the 3rd Andrew L. Glaze, but his grandfather’s middle name was spelled “Lewis”. His father simply called him, “Sonny”.
The family moved to Birmingham, Alabama, and his father established a successful dermatology practice. To this day, fans of my father’s poetry look his name up on the web and find themselves staring at AMA papers with titles like, “Syphilitic Sore Throat Diagnosed as Diphtheria. Subsequent Eruption Confused with Supposed Antitoxic Erythema, by Andrew L. Glaze, M.D.” Clearly, there was more than one writer in the family.
Glaze attended Harvard, “Because, daddy wanted to have a son at Harvard”. He found a mentor and fan in Theodore Morrison, his creative writing and poetry professor. Morrison remained a friend until he passed away in 1988. In 1963, Glaze’s first book Damned Ugly Children was dedicated to Morrison with the simple tribute “To Ted”.
He graduated in 1942, and promptly signed up for service in WW2. His dismayed and well connected father asked a friend to place his son in a “safe” position. This is how Glaze found himself on a military base on Anglesea Island in Wales, where life was so boring that his major accomplishment was a decision to order soccer balls and introduce other soldiers to the sport. He was a Communications Officer in the Army Air Corps. Despite being abroad, during this time he had poems published in Virginia Quarterly Review and The Saturday Review.
After the war, faced with a lengthy wait to be shipped home, he studied at The University of Grenoble. According to a 2009 correspondence with Galway Kinnell, he also taught there. While in France he learned to ski, hiked and biked with youth groups, and improved the French he’d studied since childhood although his friends joked that his accent was abominable.
Returning home, he spent nine years as a reporter with The Birmingham Post Herald newspaper. In 1949 he married Dorothy Emily Elliott, the daughter of William Young Elliott. By a twist of fate, W.Y. Elliott later became the 4th Poet Laureate of Alabama (1975—1982), and his sister, Inez Elliott Anderson, eventually became the 1st poet Laureate of Tennessee. In 2013, when our father became the 11th Poet Laureate of Alabama, my brother and I pondered the realization that we now had 3 State Poet Laureates as ancestors.
When my father and mother moved to Manhattan in 1957, I was with them. We became a foursome when my brother was born, but a divorce came in 1961. For the next 20 years our father worked in the PR department at the British Tourist Authority on 5th Avenue. The fact that he was extremely prolific with his own writing during this time is a testament to his self-discipline. Also bear in mind, at times he stopped writing poetry completely and devoted months to writing and re-writing plays (of which there are over 10) and novels (at least 3). Years later when he taught at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference one summer, he said he’d been asked if he waited for inspiration to come to him before writing. His answer was that he worked at it daily. The truth was that he approached it like a 2nd job. He would write before leaving for work, return home for lunch and write, come home in the evening and write a bit more, and spent part of every weekend writing. When he decided not to go the traditional route and teach at a university he knew he’d have to work harder than average to establish himself as a published writer. For this reason, he continued to write every day of his life until the winter of 2014. He was 94. His reason for finally stopping was that he’d been working on a detective novel for fun, he’d reached the point where he needed to work on the ending, and his memory was failing so that he could no longer retain all the loose ends well enough to pull them together.
He always considered New York City to be his adopted home, and over the course of 30 years in Manhattan he found a circle of highly supportive poet friends to encourage and boost him. In 1962, he met his 2nd wife, Adriana Keathley, a dancer and actress. After retiring, he agreed to relocate to her hometown of Miami. There, he spent the next 14 years writing and found a new group of writers and poets as friends. In 2002, at the age of 82, Glaze returned to Birmingham with his wife, continued writing, and found a 3rd group of supportive friends among local writers. He was appointed Poet Laureate of Alabama in 2013, and in 2015 he became an inaugural member of the Alabama Writer’s Hall of Fame. It was in Birmingham, in 2016, that he died two months short of turning 96. He donated his body to medical research at UAB Medical School.
The following links are fairly accurate, and contain greater detail: