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

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Edward Byrne: "Grace Notes"

This morning, on my son’s eighteenth birthday, I recall the first lines of poetry written about my impressions of Alex on the day he was born, a bright and frigid morning very much like today. Now, although Alex stands about six feet tall, my initial image of him still seems important to preserve, like an old photograph showing a stilled moment that remains significant because it somehow captures more than the physical features of an individual or the visual characteristics of a setting.

“Grace Notes” serves as the opening poem in Tidal Air, my book-length sequence published by Pecan Grove Press.


—For Alex

. . . We must try
To love so well the world that we may believe, in the end, in God.
—Robert Penn Warren


This morning while the vagrant moon’s white
wafer still spots the western sky, and hoary

boughs of pine stand stark against a fire-bright
sunrise, all nature seems quiet, as though a sweet

sterility has opened its invisible umbrella
over everything. In this time when even early

risers creep from cot to coffee pot, and the first
few tentative signs of human life have at last

begun to usurp the night-long silence, my son,
only hours old, carefully curls both hands, high

as his arms will allow, above his head, reaching
blindly into the uncharted air around him.


If he, too, could see the scene outside this window
and know the enormity of the lifelong plunge

to which he was now committed, would he
also recognize the remarkable effortlessness

with which the world presents itself? There is
no way to anticipate the many nameless meadows

incandescent in midday blaze, the wintry heights
of mountains snow-whitened and blurred by blizzard

winds, or the motion of steadfast tides that push
upon an uneven shoreline broken by centuries

of exposure. Nothing prepares us. Innocence
ensures surprise at each grace note nature offers.


And so I watch my son’s initial movements,
hands stretching and the unconscious yawn

of sleep, and I try to imagine what words one
could use to tell—should one decide it were right

to confide such things—how it feels to be a father,
or how, even now, this is just one more unexpected

pleasure of nature. In the years since my own
October birth, I’ve come to discover joy in images:

this afternoon, though the sky goes gold in sunlight,
and all the small stones strewn along the shore sparkle

like gems displayed as gifts until the whole seaside
seems to shudder, I know no more the world could give.

—Edward Byrne

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