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, June 20, 2010

Poem for Father's Day

On this Father’s Day I am once again reminded of various scenes shared with my father that continue as images in my mind and frequently are included among the vivid reflections filling lines of my poems. Indeed, one of my volumes of poetry, Tidal Air, presents a book-length poem in the form of a diptych with each half containing a dozen sections about father-son relationships: the first part, “Whole Notes and Half Tones” (described as “Songs for My Son”), regards my relationship with my son beginning with his birth; the second portion, “Cormorants in Morning Light” (labeled “Memoirs for My Father”), presents some significant moments associated with specific elegiac recollections of my father that have arisen since his death.

As a sample from that segment, I offer today “Winter Coast,” the ninth piece of the twelve cantos concerning my father.


In summer this coarse stretch of beach is covered
. . . . . by sun-bleached stones and shells shimmering

like ice shavings beneath a noonday glare,
. . . . . but today only a few odd boulders show ghostlike

through snowfall, and a lone pin oak, its bare
. . . . . branches stretching beside the water’s edge,

now merely seems no more than an etching
. . . . . against this stale gray sky. Despite the low light

of winter, I am still able to notice the ocean’s
. . . . . slow, subtle motion—rocking back and forth

the way a hammock may sway under influence
. . . . . of warm August winds—and I know how quickly

that nightly high tide can reclaim some more
. . . . . of this shore before me. Throughout the years,

I’ve returned, as if also brought back by the tidal
. . . . . pull of a full moon, to this place where I would

walk with my father when he explained causes
. . . . . for that coastal erosion we saw all around us:

large blocks of rocks tumbling from sea
. . . . . cliffs forming this terrace platform underwater,

and the shoreline current drifting ceaselessly
. . . . . toward the north, lifting with it what it could.

Often, I’ve thought about the doubt I harbored
. . . . . those days when he spoke of the cost of such

a loss. Yet, here, in the din of this oceanside
. . . . . murmur—as I again can hear his soft voice

which had been weakened by age and, at times,
. . . . . was nearly drowned out by the sea’s persistent

pulse—I’ve come to understand those words.
. . . . . Each evening, whether under dense cloud cover

or the lacework of constellations, when
. . . . . even the least bits of sediment and other debris

have been swept away in this sea wash—
. . . . . which I believe is as important as those forces

of ancient glaciers against the earth’s surface
. . . . . and the gradual scarring begun by the shift

of slow-moving masses over uneven ground—
. . . . . a little less remains of the world we once knew.

. . . . . —Edward Byrne

For those interested in reading the complete sequence of poetry in Tidal Air, I invite you to check the sidebar about ordering a copy in the "Summer Reading Sale.”

In addition, since this weekend coincides with the U.S. Open Golf Championship, scheduled every year for the final round to fall on Father’s Day, watching the event once again evokes other more pleasant memories of those many fine times shared with my father on a golf course. Indeed, in a previous post at “One Poet’s Notes”—titled “Golfing with My Father” after a poem by W.D. Ehrhart that appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review and is reprinted in the article—I have written in prose about assorted impressions of my father that are tied to the sport, and I recommend readers revisit that commentary as well.

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