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

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Moment for Claude Monet

Claude Monet was born on this date (November 14) in 1840. Few other artists have had as much influence over the future direction of art. Indeed, Monet’s painting, Impressionism, Sunrise, when exhibited in 1874 supplied an art critic with the term “impressionist” to characterize Monet and his fellow exhibitors. Although the critic’s language was meant to be a disparaging swipe at the surprising and innovative style of art in the paintings on display, Monet and the others adopted the title for themselves. Impressionist art, with its emphasis on light and atmosphere, as well as recreation of spontaneity in sweeping brush strokes or imitation of Romantic reflection of emotional experience in the tone of the work, changed the path of art in the late nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century.

In fact, one would be safe to say the Impressionists’ perceptions of the world around them also exerted significant influence on those in other fields of art, including music and literature, an impact that continues today, where Impressionism remains the most popular style of art among those patrons attending museum shows as well as in the artistic tastes of the general public. In honor of Monet, I would like to take just a moment to offer a poem of my own, “Autumn at the Farm,” with imagery that I readily acknowledge also owes a great deal to my high admiration for his work.


This afternoon as that fresco of hills above our
valley is filled with the scald of early-October

light, my son examines a patch of pumpkins,
checking for roundness. Fingers splayed,

he runs his small hands along every surface.
Although each seems even more orange

in this season’s sharpening angle of sun,
he discovers their rare areas of darkness,

pointing out imperfection, spotting irregular
blotches that appear like little islands painted

on a schoolroom globe. Kneeling, he knocks
ever so softly at one after another and listens

for the hollow response that follows every rap.
As he reaches to lift the one he has chosen,

a distant landscape burns behind him, far
fields where the cut stubble of corn stalks

suddenly blossoms almost as if with all
the varieties of light one might find in a tilted

prism, while nearby, long shadows cling
to the dark barn and farmhouse. A frieze

of thin clouds bands the horizon, already
beginning to absorb the colors of sunset.

A couple of crows veer above an oak
as their black reflections slant effortlessly

across that bright pond now shimmering
beyond a display of flowers still in bloom

beside the garden path. The whole scene
seems lit like the poplars and haystacks

of Monet’s oils on canvas. However,
when my son motions to offer me his

selection, both arms full, and with nearly
half his body hidden behind that icon

of autumn, I am sure such a gesture
is not just another abstract notion of art.

—Edward Byrne

“Autumn at the Farm” was included in my collection of poems, Tidal Air, published by Pecan Grove Press in 2002.

1 comment:

Faith said...

Thank you. You put me in the pumpkin patch, as well. I liked your poem very much. The Monet picture was the perfect inspiration. Nice.