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, December 13, 2009

Remembering and Celebrating the Poetry of James Wright

James Wright was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio on this date (December 13) in 1927. The author of a dozen books of poetry, Wright’s career as a poet was framed by his first volume, The Green Wall, winning the Yale Series of Younger Poets award in 1957 and his Collected Poems winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1980, the year of his death. Stanley Plumly, a fellow Ohio poet, has written in an essay titled “Sentimental Forms” from his book of criticism, Argument & Song: Sources & Silences in Poetry: “Wright’s gift to us is his ability to identify and identify with the sources of emotion. His poems are among the most generous we have because they risk again and again the tension of the form not finding what will suffice.”

In his collection of critical essays, Unassigned Frequencies, Laurence Lieberman similarly describes Wright: “He has the largeness of heart of the great empathizers, and worse, a mind suicidally honest, a mind hellishly bent on stripping away all self-protective devices. His best poems enact the drama of a mind struggling, usually with punishing success, to resist the temptation to take solace from its own compassionating ardor. The pain he feels for another never becomes a disguised way of cheering himself up. It is a tougher thing.”

This blog’s meter displaying statistics of visitors to the site indicates one of the most popular posts published at “One Poet’s Notes”—originally appearing in February, 2008—has been an article written about James Wright and his wonderful work titled “Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio,” which may be the best-known poem concerning football and Americans’ fascination with sport. In that piece I offered how Wright identifies and empathizes with the individuals depicted in his poem, presenting scholastic athletics as part of a metaphor that “addresses social issues of distinction or contrast based upon individuals’ wealth, class, ethnicity, race, and gender.”

Today, as Wright’s birth date coincides with the weekend’s announcement of another Heisman Trophy winner, a pinnacle achievement in scholastic athletics, perhaps this is an apt time to invite readers to revisit my commentary on “Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio,” as well as to urge everyone to take this opportunity to remember and celebrate the poetic achievement of James Wright.


Justine Valinotti said...

I'm not much of a football fan, but "Autumn Begins In Martin's Ferry, Ohio" is one of my favorite poems. You're right when you say that Wright empathises with everyone in that poem. But the best thing about it is that its language moves seamlessly, not only between everyone mentioned in the poem, but through the change in the season (fall) as well as the seasons of the lives depicted in it, especially in the last stanza:

Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other's bodies.

Twenty-five years after I first read that poem, I still say, "Wow!"

Hannah Stephenson said...

Thanks for this reminder to revisit Wright's wonderful work, and that poem. It's a doozy.

Unknown said...

What a great find. I always knew great poets were from Saginaw and named Theodore R. (Theodore Roethke), I didn't know great poets were also born on December 13!

"Their women cluck like starved pullets,
Dying for love."

A fan,

Theodore Rapson of Saginaw, celebrating my 55th birthday today (December 13)

dves said...

this poet is so much good in terms of epic and poem. That's why I saluted this icon.

Get Info Here said...

Wow! 25 years? I can't believe it. Well, it's your opinion.

Justine Valinotti said...

I wrote a little tribute to Wright on my own blog: http://transwomantimes.blogspot.com/2009_12_13_archive.html

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