This Goodly Land

Charles Ghigna (August 25, 1946–present)

Other Names Used

Alabama Connections

Selected Works

Literary Awards

Biographical Information

Charles Ghigna was born in Bayside, N.Y., and moved with his family to Fort Myers, Fla., when he was five. He began writing poems as a child and was inspired by a high school teacher to keep a writing journal. Ghigna attended classes at Edison College and the University of South Florida and graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a BA in 1967 and an MEd in 1970. He taught English at a high school in Fort Myers from 1967 to 1973 and took some graduate courses at Florida State University. He also served as the poetry editor for The English Journal for the National Council of Teachers of English. In 1974, Ghigna moved to Birmingham, Ala., where he taught creative writing and was poet-in-residence at the Alabama School of Fine Arts until 1993.

While still in college, Ghigna began publishing his poems in literary magazines. During the time that he was teaching, he would write in the evenings after he had finished grading papers. Ghigna’s first book, Plastic Tears, was published in 1973. He broke into national magazine publishing in September of 1974 when Harper’s Magazine published one of his poems. Ghigna began writing poems for children in the 1980s. These were initially published in children’s magazines such as Highlights for Children, Cricket, and Jack and Jill. His first children's books, Good Dogs Bad Dogs and Good Cats Bad Cats, were published in 1992. The following year, Ghigna resigned from teaching to write full-time. During the 1990s, he wrote a daily syndicated column, “Snickers.” He acquired the nickname, “Father Goose,” when he began appearing at schools to read his poems. In 2003, Ghigna's One Hundred Shoes as a "Children's Choice" selection for the Book-of-the-Month Club. The following year, A Fury of Motion was chosen by the Texas Library Association for their "Tayshas Reading List" for young adults. Ghigna lives in Homewood with his family.

Interests and Themes

Charles Ghigna writes free verse for adults and rhyming poems for children. The subjects of his books and poetry for children include nature and animals, humor, holidays, riddles, seasons, school, sports, and the power of a positive attitude.

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Reference Book Chapters and Encyclopedia Entries

Reference Web Sites

Location of Papers

Photo by Lucy Merrill; courtesy of Charles Ghigna.

Last updated on Apr 27, 2009.

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