In the video, Huggins discusses our need as people to have a sense of origin and place. He asserts, “Without this [awareness of] place, we have no sense of who we are — no identity.” Though he was born in Mississippi and grew up mostly in New Orleans, Huggins recites in the video his poem “An Airfield in Alabama” about his father training to be a fighter pilot in WWII, from his second poetry collection Blue Angels, to give an example of a literary piece that “without an awareness of place […] would not and could not get off the ground.” Huggins notes that without such tributes to one’s place and origin, “We would pass over the landscape existing only for a short period of time and leave no mark or record of our passing.”
The This Goodly Land website, developed by the Alabama Center for the Book, catalogues and celebrates Alabama’s rich literary traditions, including a map of Alabama’s literary landscape. See the video of Peter Huggins at The Goodly Land website.
Huggins’s In the Company of Owls tells of young Aaron Cash, who discovers an illegal still on his neighbor Morgan’s property. When Aaron’s family refuses to sell their land, Morgan resorts to increasingly threatening acts, leading to a final confrontation in which Aaron must make the most difficult decision of his life. With woodcut illustrations by Paula Goodman Koz, In the Company of Owls is a brilliant Southern family story.