Editor's Pick: Recommended Reading
In correspondence received from readers of Valparaiso Poetry Review over the years, one regular feature of the journal, “Recent and Recommended Books,” repeatedly has been complimented and noted for its usefulness. Accompanying each issue of VPR, this page lists current volumes of poetry or poetics, as well as other books concerning poets, such as biographies, readers of the journal might wish to examine.
Despite the fact that a number of the collections cited have been reviewed within the issues of Valparaiso Poetry Review or in the posts of “One Poet’s Notes,” the editor’s blog, the unfortunate reality is that most of those worthy books received do not get enough specific attention and could be overlooked, lost among the long list annually tucked away in the additional pages archived at VPR. Therefore, to increase awareness about more of those valuable collections that have not been a subject of individual commentary or review in Valparaiso Poetry Review, “One Poet’s Notes” offers a continuing series of brief notices, known as “Editor’s Picks,” containing additional information concerning highly recommended books.
Light from a Bullet Hole: Poems New and Selected 1950–2008, Ralph Salisbury. Silverfish Review Press, 2009.
Ralph Salisbury is the author of ten books of poetry and three books of short fiction. His awards include a Rockefeller Bellagio Award, a Northwest Review Poetry Award, and a Chapelbrook Award. His poems have appeared in various anthologies and numerous journals, including Carolina Quarterly, New Letters, New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry, and Poetry Northwest. In choosing him as a finalist for the Oregon Book Award, judge Maxine Kumin wrote, “This is a poet dedicated to keeping his heritage alive. His book deserves a broad audience.”
In an introduction to Light from a Bullethole: Poems New and Selected 1950-2008, Andre Krupat reports about this new collection of poetry and its author: “The poems of this volume make stunningly clear the ways in which Ralph Salisbury continues to model the traditional and modern (postmodern, if you will) roles of the poet as Cherokee humanist and indigenous cosmopolitan. Marked by deep roots and varied routes—he has read and taught in Italy, England, Norway, Germany, and India, and helped to English the work of the Finnish Sami, Nils-Aslak Valkeapaa—he is a little like the postindian but deeply tribal characters in Gerald Vizenor’s novels, The Heirs of Columbus and Dead Voices. This is to say that Salisbury writes, as he puts it in the dedication to Rainbows of Stone (2000), in the interest of all ‘the human tribe of this world,’ and the animal tribes as well.”
Praise for Light from a Bullet Hole: Poems New and Selected 1950-2008:
“Although Ralph Salisbury may refer to himself as ‘A Killer Seeking Forgiveness,’ this collection of his new and selected work shows him to be one of the most thoughtful and moral writers of his generation. Without ever sacrificing literary excellence for self-righteousness or eloquence for polemic, Salisbury’s memorable poetry reflects not only his long full life and the Cherokee culture that has shaped his vision, it is also a corrective lens through which we may view anew the story of our American nation.” —Joseph Bruchac