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

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Poetry and Place: "Landscape and Lyricism"

For many poets a sense of place plays an important role in the initiation of images or offers a contribution to the establishment of tone during the composition of a poem. Richard Hugo labeled a location that sparked his lines of poetry as a “triggering town,” a term he used as the title of his well-known and influential book of essays. Donald Hall once wrote about this issue in his book of essays and notes on poetry, Goatfoot Milktongue Twinbird (University of Michigan Press), when he stated: “For some poets place is golden, and the golden place like the golden age is usually unattainable—either because it is in the historical past or because it is in the biographical past of the poet, or both. (Such doubling is a poetic habit.) The poem wishes to attain—perhaps does attain, for a moment—a rare condition of blessedness, which the place sponsors.” Among the most famous poets associated with place, Hall lists Wordsworth, Thomas, Eliot, Whitman, and Pound. Certainly, one easily could create a roster of writers who depend upon place for inspiration and examination that continues far beyond that handful of writers.

I have always regarded a sense of place as an essential element in much of my writing. Within descriptive passages I usually find my lines of lyricism and the language tools used to subtly allude to various issues or to learn further about a few of my own reemerging concerns. Like many before me, I enjoy employing aspects of landscape for symbolic or connotative purposes. Therefore, when I recently was asked to submit a group of poems and a prose commentary to Segue for that literary journal’s current issue, I chose to focus upon examples from my new work that illustrate my emphasis on place as subject matter or that use setting to some extent in order to promote the poem’s main topic. As I observe in the following excerpt from my essay, “Landscape and Lyricism,” I believe a combination of landscape and literary techniques in lyrical poetry frequently provides opportunities for poets and usually proves to be a pair of compelling complementary components in contemporary poems:

Charles Wright has remarked that all of his poetry involves recurring concerns: “There are three things, basically, that I write about—language, landscape, and the idea of God.” Yet, when pressed, he confides everything begins with landscape and one’s surroundings: “Landscape, like form, is everything to me.” Wright employs vibrant images of landscape in lyrical language to initiate associations or memories that lead toward forming more thoughts and a succession of events: “Narrative does not dictate the image; the image dictates the narrative.” Similarly, almost all of my poems originate in natural images, actually glimpsed or merely imagined, that introduce emotional responses and elicit contemplation concerning experiences or observed incidents drawn from my memory or my imagination.

Like Wright, I have a great fondness for landscape artists, particularly those painters whose works evoke difficult universal issues commonly confronted by humans—the inherent temporality of life or the transience often witnessed in natural beauty, the acceptance of change and the acknowledgment of one’s own mortality . . ..

I thank Eric Melbye, editor of Segue, for the invitation to contribute as the featured author in volume 7 of his fine journal, and I believe readers will agree with me that the issue’s table of contents displays I am in excellent company in this current issue. I urge all to check out Segue and browse through each of the issues in its archives. I especially present this recommendation to those who have not yet encountered the magazine. I am sure such readers will find a valuable new source for good literature.

1 comment:

Ron Slate said...

Living in Wisconsin in the mid-70s, I was introduced to Lorine Niedecker's poetry. To emphasize the great value of her work beyond "localism," her first proponents made a case for her work's highly deserved place among the best of the Objectivists. But a new book called RADICAL VERNACULAR, LORINE NIEDECKER AND THE POETICS OF PLACE (U-Iowa) reconsiders the role of location/place in her poetry -- and by extension, in poetry in general. There are 17 essays -- as you'd expect, of varying quality and interest. Thanks for your post.