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, September 27, 2009

Michael Martone: Visiting Writer Reads Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.

All in the Valparaiso area are invited to attend a presentation by Michael Martone, fiction writer and essayist, September 28 at 7 p.m. in Valparaiso University’s Brauer Museum of Art. Martone’s appearance represents the English department’s opening event in this year’s Wordfest series of readings by prominent writers of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or critical commentary. Visitors to the museum are also urged to examine the current featured exhibition: “Selections from the Robert and Ellen Haan Collection of Historic Indiana Art.” A reception and book signing will follow the presentation by Martone. Admission is free.

Michael Martone was raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is a graduate of Indiana University who also earned an M.A. in the creative writing seminars at Johns Hopkins University. Among his publications—including works of fiction, essays, and creative nonfiction—are Racing in Place: Collages, Fragments, Postcards, Ruins (University of Georgia Press, 2008), Double-Wide: Collected Fiction of Michael Martone (Quarry Books, 2007), Michael Martone: Fictions (Fiction Collective 2, 2005), Unconventions: Attempting the Art of Craft and the Craft of Art (University of Georgia Press, 2005), The Blue Guide to Indiana (Fiction Collective 2, 2001), The Flatness and Other Landscapes (University of Georgia Press, 2000), Seeing Eye (Zoland Books, 1995), Pensées: The Thoughts of Dan Quayle (Broad Ripple Press, 1994), Fort Wayne Is Seventh on Hitler's List (Indiana University Press, 1990), Safety Patrol (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988), and Alive and Dead in Indiana (Alfred A. Knopf, 1984). He has edited two collections of essays about the Midwest: Townships: Pieces of the Midwest (University of Iowa Press, 1992) and A Place of Sense: Essays in Search of the Midwest (University of Iowa Press, 1988). Michael Martone is Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Alabama.

Martone’s crisp and creative prose often appears poetic. Indeed, the title chapter of Racing in Place, recalling incidents of the author’s past relating to Memorial Day and the annual running of the Indianapolis 500, contains 33 brief pieces labeled “Hoosier Haiku.” A few examples follow:


I have a picture of my mother and father sitting on their graves. Always planning ahead, they purchased the plots in the Catholic cemetery years ago. They bought the monuments too, already engraved with their names and birthdates. They were optimistic enough not to have the 19 of the death date inscribed, but their names are there and their birthdates. The markers are simple slabs of polished granite the size and shape of swing set seats, very low to the ground. It looks as if they are sitting on the ground. They are smiling. We went there one Memorial Day to look at all the graves. My father’s parents’ and sister’s, my mother’s parents’ and grandparents’. We ended up checking out how their own graves were doing. There they were. The stones were supposed to be that small and low to make maintenance of the cemetery efficient. No flowers allowed. There were flags on Memorial Day but those were taken back up after a day or two. In the future, the mowers would cut right over the stones as they sank the rest of the way into the ground.



One year, something happened. A wreck at the start of the race had killed several drivers. I remember listening to the restart in school a day later. I was in art class rolling out clay to coil into pots. Others were kneading the clay or cutting blocks of it with wire. The teacher was firing pieces in the small kiln, and you could hear the whoosh of air as it burned. The announcers at the track were subdued and sad. It seemed the completion of the race was more of a chore now, something that had to be done. The engines sounded muffled. I liked my art class. It was quiet as we worked. The teacher moved from table to table, here smoothing the lip of a pitcher with his thumb, there applying a slip with an old brush. The radio muttered in the corner.



I practice driving in the cemetery. My father sits in the passenger seat playing with the radio. The yellow Rambler is a company car he bought at auction, a decal of the company’s logo peeled from the door. It’s a big cemetery. In the older part there are old trees and the monuments are columns and urns and obelisks. Wrought iron fences or low walls of stone outline family plots. The roads curve around in circles. I stop and start and signal. I ease out the clutch, and the engine bucks. I can gain a little speed on the straightaways of the new section where the markers are in ordered rows and next to the ground. Mary, the Mother of God, directs traffic at an intersection. I go by my grandmother’s grave again. A troop of Boy Scouts carrying backpacks filled with toy flags sifts between the stones, dipping down to the ground, in ones and twos, to decorate them for the weekend.

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