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

Thursday, December 11, 2008

McCoy Tyner: The Past and the Present

McCoy Tyner was born in Philadelphia on this date (December 11) in 1938. His remarkable ability first came to the attention of John Coltrane when Tyner was still a teenager and played a couple of times with Coltrane. In the first half of the 1960s Tyner was further associated with John Coltrane as a member of his quartet. During that stint working with Coltrane, Tyner firmly established himself as an accomplished accompanist and a sensational soloist.

Now, more than a half century since he initially began his career, McCoy Tyner continues to tour at the age of seventy, appearing this weekend at the Blue Note in New York City. In his book, The History of Jazz, Ted Gioia eloquently explains Tyner’s musical expertise seen evolving during his years as a member of Coltrane’s quartet:

Tyner delighted in ambiguous voicings, liberally spiced with suspended fourths that rarely resolved, often played with a thunderous two-handed attack that seemed destined to leave permanent finger marks in the keys. Tyner’s solos were, if anything, even more energetic. Single note lines, leavened with wide, often unpredictable interval leaps, jostled with sweeping arpeggios, cascading runs, reverberating tremelos. His touch at the piano, which originally possessed brittle sharpness, took on volume and depth, eventually emerging as one of the fullest and most easily identifiable keyboard sounds in jazz.

Therefore, the above video of McCoy Tyner’s amazing solo performance of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” seems appropriate in providing a sample of his playing that blends his past with his present.

As my last class of the semester met yesterday, and I am now reading a final few student reports on past poetry collections by significant poets, I will take this opportunity to recognize Tyner’s 70th birthday by listening to his music during the process and by remembering Tyner’s encouraging attitude toward artists embracing the past in order to pursue new directions in the future.

Occasionally, my students, particularly some in poetry or fiction writing, question the need to write term papers about previous works and wonder about the benefit in reviewing writings by past authors. Continually, I emphasize to my creative writing students the value of analyzing those writers whose works have laid the groundwork for today’s literature to be written by them and others in the present.

I similarly will remind myself once again on this day of the importance for all artists, including contemporary poets, to have knowledge of previous practitioners in their fields by repeating the following words of wise advice once offered by McCoy Tyner: “I think it is good to use the past as a base; it’s good for anyone to have foundations to use as a starting point, because the stronger and deeper the foundations are, the further one can progress.”

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