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, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day, Indy 500, and Louis Armstrong

This year marks the 100th anniversary since the construction of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway complex, the site of the famous Indianapolis 500 race every Memorial Day weekend. Occasionally, I have written about my affection for the automobile and racecars, as in a previous post titled “Cars, Culture, and Contemporary Poetry.” Although my wife, my son, and I are avid NASCAR fans who enjoy everything about stock cars, and like most NASCAR fans we are not as interested in open-wheel racing, we make an exception every year for the Indy 500. Indeed, with NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 Sunday evening, this year its 50th running (though originally known during the first twenty-five years since its start in 1960 as the World 600), my family and I usually spend the day feasting on barbecue and pizza while the various televisions in the house broadcast 1100 miles of racing for ten hours or more.

Although NASCAR conducts its Brickyard 400 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the end of July, the magnitude of the Indy 500 event with its attendance exceeding quarter million spectators, as well as millions worldwide viewing on network television, and the numerous traditional elements of the festivities create an atmosphere as extraordinary as any in sports.

I appreciate the many ways Memorial Day is honored during the pre-race ceremonies. Also, as a resident of Indiana, I especially take delight in observing the annual continuation of local touches to the proceedings, such as the rendition of “On the Banks of the Wabash” by the Purdue University All-American Marching Band and their accompaniment to Jim Nabors when he sings “Back Home Again in Indiana.” However, as a great fan of jazz, I have included above Louis Armstrong’s splendid instrumental version of “Back Home Again in Indiana.”

Of course, the central focus of attention on the contest at Indianapolis Speedway reinforces various comments I have previously made about auto racing, including an “admiration for individuals who literally place their lives on the line as the ultimate test of sport” (“Daytona 500, NASCAR, Tom Wolfe, and American Literature”).

Finally, I urge readers to visit previous articles on “One Poet’s Notes” concerning the significance of Memorial Day: “Memorial Day Memories” and “H. Palmer Hall: ‘New Names.’”

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