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, May 6, 2009

Ellen Bryant Voigt Wins 2009 Poets' Prize

This week Ellen Bryant Voigt was named as the recipient of the 2009 Poets' Prize for Messenger: Selected Poems 1976-2006, published by W.W. Norton. The finalists were Marvin Bell for Mars Being Red (Copper Canyon Press), Kelly Cherry for Hazard and Prospect (LSU Press), and Mark Jarman for Epistles (Sarabande Press). The award will be presented at the Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York City on May 21, and the honor of being chosen carries a $3,000 prize for Voigt.

There are so many literary awards announced for poetry each year that I sometimes hear in my head the voice of Alvy Singer from Woody Allen’s Annie Hall: “What’s with all these awards? They’re always giving out awards.” Nevertheless, although some literary awards may be more prestigious or offer larger prizes, I am once again pleased to see the announcement of this prize, and I am happy to repeat the results here. After all, this prize has the distinction of being initiated by, voted on, and funded through fellow poets.

Indeed, poets Robert McDowell, Frederick Morgan, and Louis Simpson founded the Poets’ Prize, which was first awarded in 1988. A committee of 22 American poets, currently chaired by R.S. Gwynn, nominated candidates and chose Voigt as the winner. Previous winners during the past twenty years include A.E. Stallings, Brian Turner, Catherine Tufariello, Robert Wrigley, X. J. Kennedy, Philip Booth, Wendell Berry, Marilyn Nelson, Sydney Lea, Marilyn Hacker, Jared Carter, Maxine Kumin, Adrienne Rich, and a number of others.

However, I do have one complaint about the Poets’ Prize: the process takes so long that the award always lags behind in scheduling, and the prize is given for a book that appeared two years earlier. In fact, Voigt’s volume, Messenger: Selected Poems 1976-2006, was published in 2007. My review of the collection appeared on “One Poet’s Notes” in the beginning of June 2007. At the time, I observed:
Whether writing in free verse, blank verse, or a more formal sonnet sequence, Voigt almost always displays an ability to create great lyrical lines that communicate clearly to convey through images their important emotional content. Throughout her more than thirty years of publishing, including seven collections of poetry, Voigt has demonstrated her talent as a writer who combines lyrical craftsmanship with compelling content. Indeed, in Messenger: New and Selected Poems 1976-2006 evidence exists, through an accumulation of esteemed poems, of Voigt’s immense and continually increasing talent . . . .

Readers are invited to examine the rest of my extended commentary about Ellen Bryant Voigt’s Messenger: Selected Poems 1976-2006.

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