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, June 21, 2009

Father's Day Poem

On this Father’s Day I am once again reminded of various scenes shared with my father that continue as images in my mind and frequently are included among the vivid reflections filling lines of my poems. Indeed, one of my volumes of poetry, Tidal Air, presents a book-length poem in the form of a diptych with each half containing a dozen sections about father-son relationships: the first part, “Whole Notes and Half Tones” (described as “Songs for My Son”), regards my relationship with my son beginning with his birth; the second portion, “Cormorants in Morning Light” (labeled “Memoirs for My Father”), presents some significant moments associated with specific elegiac recollections of my father that have arisen since his death. As a sample from that segment, I offer today “Florida Drought: A Remembrance,” the fifth piece of the twelve cantos concerning my father.


A bright haze held all afternoon as August’s
pervasive heat presented itself once again.

After weeks of warm weather, the summer
grass, that now had been tinged brown, stretched

like a tattered sleeve along an exposed bank
blown dry by wind: the yellow-veined palms

tossed softly forth with each breath of Gulf
current. Our skin already stung by sun, we sat

on a bench beneath those trees until evening.
With cool relief brought by each sea breeze,

we sighed in satisfaction. I know the words
we spoke mattered little, or so it seems: today,

only images linger—the red sunset flaming
beyond a flock of gulls, a bright streak of beach,

those bicycle paths unreeling along the shore,
a cargo-laden keel disappearing in the distance.

Soundless sights remain in my memory
like portraits of some season of loss—the last year

we’d experienced such an extended shortage
of rain, the summer you first felt your stunning

pain. Perhaps, I do not need much more
than those short glimpses yet kept as preservation.

Somehow, I will always remember that night—
how palm trees already were slipping to silver

under a cast of pale moonlight as a few full
sails still labored across the windswept bay.

—Edward Byrne

For those interested in reading the complete sequence of poetry in Tidal Air, I invite you to order a copy from Pecan Grove Press at the book’s publicity page on the publisher’s web site. In addition, since this weekend coincides with the U.S. Open Golf Championship, scheduled every year for the final round to fall on Father’s Day, watching the event once again evokes other more pleasant memories of those many fine times shared with my father on a golf course. Indeed, in a previous post at “One Poet’s Notes”—titled “Golfing with My Father” after a poem by W.D. Ehrhart that appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review and is reprinted in the article—I have written in prose about assorted impressions of my father that are tied to the sport, and I recommend readers revisit that commentary as well.