Click Image to Visit the Pecan Grove Press Web Page for Poetry from Paradise Valley


Poetry From Paradise Valley

Pecan Grove Press has released an anthology of poems, a sampling of works published in Valparaiso Poetry Review during its first decade, from the original 1999-2000 volume to the 2009-2010 volume.

Poetry from Paradise Valley includes a stellar roster of 50 poets. Among the contributors are a former Poet Laureate of the United States, a winner of the Griffin International Prize, two Pulitzer Prize winners, two National Book Award winners, two National Book Critics Circle winners, six finalists for the National Book Award, four finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award, two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, and a few dozen recipients of other honors, such as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, etc.

Readers are encouraged to visit the Poetry from Paradise Valley page at the publisher's web site, where ordering information about the book can be found.

Best Books of Indiana 2011: Finalist. Judges' Citation: "Poetry from Paradise Valley is an excellent anthology that features world-class poetry, including the work of many artists from the Midwest, such as Jared Carter, Annie Finch, David Baker, and Allison Joseph. It’s an eclectic and always interesting collection where poems on similar themes flow into each other. It showcases the highest caliber of U. S. poetry."
—Indiana Center for the Book, Indiana State Library

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Veterans Day: Brian Turner's "Here, Bullet"

In last Week’s Sunday Times, an article titled “Battlefield Salvos” addressed a question about the apparent lack of accomplished poetry written by soldiers active in current war zones. Of course, many readers are familiar with soldier-poets from past wars. The article cites Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon as examples from World War I. In a recent post here at “One Poet’s Notes” James Dickey’s World War II poetry, particularly “The Firebombing,” was highlighted, as was Richard Hugo’s “Letter to Simic from Boulder,” concerning Hugo’s participation in bombing runs over European cities during the Second World War. In addition, the current issue of Valparaiso Poetry Review includes W.D. Ehrhart and H. Palmer Hall, poets who served in Vietnam, and the issue features John Balaban, a conscientious objector who chose to serve in Vietnam as a civilian. Other notable contemporary poets who were among the military in Vietnam would include Bruce Weigl and Yusef Komunyakaa.

However, thus far the production of well-written poetry from service members in our contemporary conflicts seems limited. The Sunday Times author offers one explanation: “The poets of the first world war were serious writers operating at the very limit of human experience and sent back first-hand literary reports. It’s difficult to imagine an equivalent situation ever reoccurring, at least in the West. Most of the poets I know would think twice before setting a mousetrap, let alone enlisting for active service.”

Nevertheless, the article correctly identifies one prominent new soldier-poet who has received praise for his first book of poems: “True, Brian Turner, the American soldier with the creative writing MA, published a volume of war poetry that goes far beyond the hobbyist poetry that most people write at some time in their lives, especially to express sadness or loss, but he is the exception who proves the rule.” The newspaper’s mention of Brian Turner is seconded by a comment at the end of its article in the online edition by fellow blogger Andrew Shields, who offers his recommendation of Here, Bullet, Turner’s first volume of poems, and who also posted this video to his blog.

As I previously indicated in my January review of Here, Bullet at “One Poet’s Notes,” Brian Turner’s powerful collection of poetry arising from his experiences as a soldier provides readers with excellent and engaging perspectives of combat or conflicted emotions sometimes felt by soldiers seeing active duty on the contemporary war front. As I noted in that review, Turner served seven years in the U.S. Army, including tours of duty in Bosnia-Herzegovina and then Iraq, and he also is an MFA graduate from the University of Oregon’s creative writing program.

Therefore, on this Veterans Day weekend, I again recommend to readers Brian Turner’s Here, Bullet (Alice James Books, 2005), and I include his reading of the book’s compelling title poem:


If a body is what you want,
then here is bone and gristle and flesh.
Here is the clavicle-snapped wish,
the aorta’s opened valves, the leap
thought makes at the synaptic gap.
Here is the adrenaline rush you crave,
that inexorable flight, that insane puncture
into heat and blood. And I dare you to finish
what you’ve started. Because here, Bullet,
here is where I complete the word you bring
hissing through the air, here is where I moan
the barrel’s cold esophagus, triggering
my tongue’s explosives for the rifling I have
inside of me, each twist of the round
spun deeper, because here, Bullet,
here is where the world ends, every time.

To hear more of Turner reading his poems and being interviewed, I suggest visiting the excellent page devoted to Brian Turner at the From the Fishouse web site.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Written in response to Brian Turner Poetry Reading

Muffled sounds from behind white walls
Turning away for fear of all that appalls
Word knives slash through the unholy veil
Can you see? Can you hear my dreadful tale?
Meaning! yes Meaning is the power of the poet
With the courage to see and the words to show it

David G. Jones