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 13, 2009

National Book Critics Circle Board 35th Anniversary and John Ashbery

Last night the National Book Critics Circle Board celebrated its 35th anniversary with a gathering in New York City that featured John Ashbery and E.L. Doctorow, winners of the first NBCC Awards for poetry and fiction in 1974—Ashbery had been recognized for Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror and Doctorow received his award for Ragtime. Fortunately, the 35th anniversary proceedings were available on a live webcast presented by the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space for all viewers to enjoy.

Indeed, I viewed the event in widescreen clarity on my laptop while sitting in a wicker rocker on my backyard screen porch facing a line of trees half a nation away from the setting. Drinking coffee and eating delicious chocolate cake my wife had baked, I must have been more comfortable than those actually attending the ceremony, who seemed to be repeatedly shifting their positions upon generic metal and hard plastic seats as they witnessed nearly two hours of speeches or brief commentaries by the pair of honored guests and a couple dozen present or former board members, all anticipating an opportunity for refreshments.

During the evening, mixed emotions were expressed by a number of participants about an apparent shift of book reviewing from newspapers to online venues in the past decade. Herb Liebowitz, former board member and editor of Parnassus, succinctly declared the concern shared by others when he asked: “Will bloggers replace book reviewers? I hope not.” Some speakers, including Doctorow, voiced distinctly negative reactions to recent developments online, as well as trepidation about literary commentary and book blogs.

However, Ashbery professed a bit more optimism about the future in his gracious remarks, suggesting online journals and literary blogs were not necessarily bad for poetry. To the contrary, he stated his belief that such Internet presences had engendered a situation nowadays in which new and larger audiences were continually being introduced to poetry.

Although I appreciated listening to the history of the National Book Critics Circle as revealed through anecdotes offered by various board members, my mind kept returning to the fact that thirty-five years had passed since the release of John Ashbery’s Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, a volume that has been a significant influence for many poets and a collection that has been a personal favorite of mine. Even Ashbery appeared uneasy being reminded how long ago the book had been published, humorously beginning his comments: “I don’t need that ‘thirty-five years ago.’ What can you do?”

Currently at Critical Mass, the blog of the National Book Critics Circle Board of Directors (where readers will find live-blogging of the activities and the webcast will be available for viewing), Maureen N. McLane presents an essay in retrospect of Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. Additionally, I invite readers to visit elsewhere on “One Poet’s Notes” (“John Ashbery: ‘Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror’”) where I have written about the collection’s title poem and discussed my own personal associations with the book through my experiences as Ashbery’s student at the time of its release.

Update (9/15/09): Video of John Ashbery’s presentation at the National Book Critics Circle Board anniversary ceremony is now available.

[Readers will find additional articles concerning John Ashbery on “One Poet’s Notes” in the following posts: “Crossing John Ashbery’s Bridge,” “John Ashbery: ‘Interesting People of Newfoundland,’” “John Ashbery: ‘Forties Flick,’”John Ashbery, Pierre Martory, and Jackson Pollock,” “John Ashbery and Fairfield Porter,” “Poet of the Year: John Ashbery,” “John Ashbery: ‘My Philosophy of Life,’” and “Poetry, Painting, and Economy: Rothko, Warhol, and Ashbery.”]


sirvan said...

Very well said sir, congratulations.

Trée said...

The internet and blogs like this one, have given me access to poetry I would have never perhaps seen, read, enjoyed, experienced and been inspired by. Likewise, reviews of poetry, both amateur and professional online have enriched my understanding at times and hours when no bookstore is open, when no journal or magazine is owned. I started writing because I started a blog and had to do something, such as write, because of the blog. I've written quite a bit over the last five years, none of which would exist, without the blog and the online community of support via comments. There is a heartbeat to the online community, a reaching of hands and minds across distance and time in a way I never experienced when I was in college twenty-five years ago.

James Marcus said...

The generic metal-and-plastic seats were actually pretty comfortable. But you had the deluxe package: the wicker rocker, the coffee, and the chocolate cake. By the time I elbowed my way to the snack area once the proceedings were over, the remaining cheese cubes were already being carried away. Anyway, it was a lovely evening, and Ashbery's gracious, funny remarks were the high point, even if they came at the beginning. As one of the final speakers, I'm not even sure if my own mini-oration made it into the broadcast. But I was very happy to be there.

Jane Ciabattari said...

So great to read this writeup from the webcast perspective. It was an evening that in ways went by in a blur, but the texts coming up on Critical Mass (and those already posted, including Maureen's In Retrospect critical essay) will be there for us to ponder at leisure. Agree with James, the chairs weren't bad. Reception involved lots of catching up with folks who in some cases hadn't seen each other in years.

Edward Byrne said...

Pleased to hear the seats weren't as uncomfortable as they appeared. Perhaps I was just a bit spoiled in my chair. The webcast did catch all the remarks, James, though I was sorry some folks needed to shorten their prepared comments. As Jane suggests, I look forward to reading the complete texts when they are available. Thanks for allowing the proceedings to be available by webcast!