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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

William Blake and Allen Ginsberg

On this date 250 years ago William Blake was born at 28 Broad Street in Carnaby Market, London. From the time he was a boy, his primary training was as an engraver and illustrator. When he was a child, Blake also claimed to have had mystical visions of God and of angels. Later, sitting by his brother’s deathbed, Blake declared he witnessed his brother’s spirit rise toward the ceiling, clapping his hands in exaltation.

Blake’s talent as a visual artist combined with his unrestrained imagination and a strong lyrical sense led to powerful poetry readers have found compelling over the centuries. Indeed, Blake’s influence reached right into the world of contemporary American poetry, primarily through the writings of Allen Ginsberg.

In 1948, during his early twenties, Allen Ginsberg claimed to have had a vision of his own during which Blake spoke his poems to the young man. Relating the experience, Ginsberg explained feeling serenity, “that there was this big god over all, who was completely conscious of everybody, and that the whole purpose of being born was to wake up to Him.” Ginsberg reported: “I wasn’t even reading, my eye was idling over the page of ‘Ah, Sun-flower,’ and it suddenly appeared—the poem I’d read a lot of times before.” The voice he assumed was Blake’s sounded “like God has a human voice, with all the infinite tenderness and anciency and mortal gravity of a living Creator speaking to his son.”

Eventually, Blake’s inspiration, along with other contributing guidance by the works of Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams, prompted Ginsberg to composition of his most influential poems, including “Howl,” that helped direct the course of contemporary American poetry in the last half of the twentieth century and beyond.

To celebrate Blake's birthday and to hear Allen Ginsberg sing William Blake’s poetry, I suggest readers visit the Ginsberg/Blake audio page at the University of Pennsylvania.

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