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, February 9, 2008

Poetry Prize

Last week I was involved with promoting the annual university literary contest held during the spring semester, which encourages all undergraduate students to submit poems (as well as fiction and nonfiction) for various prizes, including the Academy of American Poets Award. Usually, more than one hundred poetry submissions with varying levels of sophistication and assorted subject matter are received from across the campus for forwarding to judges. The entries are unread by me or anyone else on the English department faculty before they are sent for consideration by the judges.

Judges for the contest are always selected from among published writers or editors of journals outside the university; therefore, the winning poetry entry remains unknown to me and my colleagues until notice is received from the judge for announcement at an annual end-of-semester ceremony held in late April, where the prize-winning students and other finalists are asked to read aloud their works to a sizable gathering from the campus community, as well as those parents who sometimes attend. Occasionally, the poems chosen for honor have proven to be puzzling or provocative pieces containing daring language challenging differing boundaries of taste and evoking interesting comments from those in the audience.

In addition, this week students in one of my introductory creative writing courses are submitting early drafts of poems for initial consideration by the class. Each semester as new poetry-writing students share their work for the first time, I am curious what kind of personal revelation I will find within the lines on the page. Though the poems are mostly rough drafts and in need of polish, rarely do the relatively wide range of free expression and the attempts at inventiveness in the vivid language shown by these beginning writers disappoint me.

Nevertheless, having taught poetry writing for a number of years, I can recall extreme examples containing uniquely disturbing perspectives or graphic use of language presented in the student poetry I have received, sometimes leading to rather curious conferences in my office as we discuss ways to edit and revise the poetry for improvement.

Therefore, every year at this portion of the spring semester, as the student writing contest entries arrive and the in-class workshops begin, I again am reminded of the humor found in this classic video comedy sketch (“Poetry Prize”) with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie—yes, also known as Dr. House to all of us who are devoted fans of the television show. I hope you enjoy this spoof of student poetry and the creative writing conference!


Peter said...


"I can't pretend to be much of a judge of poetry. I'm an English teacher, not a homosexual."

Nina said...

Hugh Laurie and Poetry - what could be better?
"If this is poetry, then every lavatory wall in England is an anthology..." There's an idea for a University Press...