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, March 21, 2010

"Spring Walk Along the Lake" by Edward Byrne

As we welcome the new season today, I offer a piece from a sequence of poems that appeared in my book-length diptych, Tidal Air, published by Pecan Grove Press in 2002. This poem is inspired by a spring trip to nearby Lake Michigan, an annual ritual for my wife and me since we spent our first afternoon together at an Indiana lakeshore beach more than two decades ago, and an event that regularly has included our son in the years since his birth.

Indeed, the author’s photograph of me that appears on the back cover of my new book, Seeded Light, and that can also be seen in the blog sidebar, is a picture taken this past year by my wife during one of the visits with our son to the dunes stretching along the shore of Lake Michigan.


. . . . . I

We listen to the sweet lilt of a warbler whistling
. . . . . in the thin fringe of dune forest that stretches

beside us. When its yellow feathers flutter
. . . . . among shadows, those startling splashes of color

light the low-growing oak and hickory like a lone
. . . . . night lantern flickering in a brisk wind. Despite

these still and chilly waters, my wife and I
. . . . . have returned again, as if in a ritual, to witness

the beginning of spring. And now our young son
. . . . . Alex wanders ahead. Stepping uncertainly

across the beach, as though to guide us, he tiptoes
. . . . . through the seasonal debris that has collected

for months in this cleft of shorefront,
. . . . . that still litters the whole expanse of sand.

. . . . . II

By instinct, he picks up sticks and bits of shells,
. . . . . gathering together the grit left by another bitter

winter. However, this is only his first walk
. . . . . along the lake, and he doesn’t know the history

of these visits; he doesn’t understand yet
. . . . . the tacit covenant with nature that someday

also will govern his actions. A ring-billed gull
. . . . . skims the water’s surface. Following a repeated

pattern, it lifts toward the clouds and then tilts
. . . . . over the shore once more, unfurled wings riding

an otherwise indiscernible updraft. As if baffled
. . . . . by our presence, voicing its shrill call, it ties

loose loops twice around us before rising
. . . . . even higher in a widening reel beyond the treetops.

. . . . . III

I stare, spellbound. Alex watches
. . . . . for a moment, then turns away, unimpressed

by the bird’s apparent weightlessness,
. . . . . as though his three-year-old innocence

assures that nothing is impossible,
. . . . . no defiance of natural law is inconceivable.

Suddenly, I’m stunned by my son’s
. . . . . lack of surprise at anything nature offers,

and I realize how much wiser than I
. . . . . he may be, as I remember how quickly

this backdrop of trees will be transformed,
. . . . . how their leaves will be gilded in a flush of light

when at last a late June sun burns above
. . . . . the lake, warming these slack and shallow waters.

[Tidal Air is available from Pecan Grove Press. Interested readers may also purchase a signed copy of the book directly from me by mailing a check for $12 (free shipping) payable to “Edward Byrne” at the following address: Department of English, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso IN 46383.]

1 comment:

Maureen said...

This is a beautifully written poem. Reading the third section, especially beginning with the lines "I'm stunned. . . ", is like watching the sun set.