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, August 6, 2009

Listening to Elizabeth Bishop

The current issue of Poetry (July/August 2009) contains a remembrance of Elizabeth Bishop by Katha Pollitt, who first encountered the poet when Pollitt audited one of her courses as a student at Harvard in the early 1970s. Pollitt recalls Bishop with fondness and appreciation for her generosity towards students: “What strikes me, having taught a bit myself, is how kind she was. We can’t all have been budding poets, yet she talked about our work as if we were.” Additionally, Pollitt’s recollection of Elizabeth Bishop includes a memory of attending the poet’s appearance at the Guggenheim Museum in the late seventies, a reading I also experienced as a student and about which I wrote thirty years later in a piece previously posted on “One Poet’s Notes” in 2007, “Elizabeth Bishop: The Poet’s Voice.”

Although details in our accounts of Elizabeth Bishop’s 1977 reading are somewhat similar, our reactions to the poet’s performance differ a bit; yet, our conclusions about the importance of listening to Elizabeth Bishop seem to coincide.

Katha Pollitt recounts Bishop’s Guggenheim Museum reading: “Bishop is sometimes described as a notoriously poor reader of her own work—flat, low-key, lacking in presence. After all, she was a short, gray-haired woman who wore nondescript wool skirts that fell below the knee, the antithesis of what a poet was supposed to look like. I thought she was a good reader—I dislike theatricality in poetry readings, and that super-sensitive breathy chanting thing poets get into where every line ends with an upward lilt like a question. But more than that, her reading was a kind of gift; it made me see that whatever way a poet reads his or her own work is fine, is, in fact, perfect, because the way they read is part of their sensibility, their own personal expression of their poem.”

As I wrote at the time of my post: “I was a student who thoroughly admired Bishop’s poetry, and I still do. However, I remember my disappointment at the presentation, in which Bishop’s voice seemed weak and without much inflection or enthusiasm, appearing almost as if she believed she had been compelled to endure an unpleasant experience.” Nevertheless, in my 2007 article I also link to a few recordings available online of Elizabeth Bishop reading her poetry, “a more youthful voice in ‘The Fish,’ recorded in 1947, and a bit more invigorated voice in the other poems (‘In the Waiting Room’ and ‘The Moose’) than I had witnessed.”

Like Pollitt, in my article I concluded students in poetry courses would find value if they “listen to Elizabeth Bishop’s readings and hear the poet’s voice.” I recommend readers of “One Poet’s Notes” do the same as well, noting the importance of each carefully chosen word in Bishop’s wonderful poetry.


Jessie Carty said...

there is really nothing like hearing a poet read their own work. thank you so much for the links, i just adore elizabeth bishop.

Keith Wilson said...

People complained about her reading style? I find it refreshing.

And I have never heard anyone complain about that raise of voice at the end of a poet's reading of a poem, but now it's going to bother me. ha

UFC 101 Live Stream said...

elizabeth bishop was a very good woman. we'll never forget her