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

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Memories of March Madness and the AWP, Basketball and Poetry

This week the weather has finally warmed somewhat, and today the last remnants of snow have melted in Valparaiso. We’ve even experienced our first thunderstorms signaling the eventual oncoming of spring in Indiana. However, the arrival of the NCAA basketball tournament, preceded by a week witnessing all the conference championship games, offers another sure indication the beginning of spring may be upon us. Indeed, my spirits are lifted every year by the start of March Madness no matter which teams make their way into the brackets of office pools across the country.

Nevertheless, the 1998 tournament (chronicled above) remains among my favorite memories, particularly because of Valparaiso’s miraculous run to the Sweet 16 and the appearance of my alma mater, Utah, in the championship game. Additionally, these elements blend with a few fond recollections associated with literary events, as I viewed some of the games at an Associated Writing Programs conference in Portland at a hotel bar among a number of fellow poets, including a couple of other Utah grads.

I doubt my breast pocket name tag, worn at any conference I ever attend and identifying me as being from Valparaiso University, will ever receive as much attention and as many nods of approval as I observed while walking the corridors toward poetry readings and panel sessions or touring publishers’ exhibits after the famous last-second winning shot by Bryce Drew was broadcast repeatedly during that week of the Associated Writing Programs conference. Consequently, I believe some of the subsequent literary conversations developing from the initial talk about basketball may have helped promote and sell more copies of my book, East of Omaha, which had just been released and was being displayed at my publisher’s table in the AWP book fair.

The AWP conference in Portland wasn’t the first or the last that I have attended. Likewise, the 1998 NCAA tournament isn’t the only one from which I hold great memories; however, that year my enthusiasm for college basketball and my passion for poetry intersected in a manner that will not likely be repeated.

For further thoughts concerning connections between March Madness and poetry, visitors are invited to read a pair of my previous articles about basketball and poems: “March Madness and B.H. Fairchild’s ‘Old Men Playing Basketball’” and “Indiana Basketball, Homer Drew, and ‘Jumpshots in the Dark.’”

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