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

Saturday, August 14, 2010

For Pam on Her Birthday: “Spring Afternoon”

As we celebrate my wife Pam today on her birthday, I’d like to revisit a poem I wrote for her. “Spring Afternoon” was the first section of a triptych dedicated to Pam that appeared in Words Spoken, Word Unspoken, a collection published in 1995. This poem recalls the first afternoon Pam and I ever spent together when we visited the Indiana Dunes along Lake Michigan, a location we have cherished as significant to us ever since then.

Composing the poem, I believed the lines described the scenery fairly accurately and closely reflected the atmosphere of the day, and I was delighted that the connotations or symbolism readers might attach to the details worked within the reality of the experience. Indeed, I was pleased suggestions of new beginnings, warmth, or hopefulness appear in a number of items mentioned throughout the poem as well as in the tone of the language selected.

Certainly, especially looking back these many years later on the chosen moments depicted in the poem, the hints foreshadowing an enduring emotional closeness seem even more important. Therefore, as she prepares to open presents on her birthday, I wish to take this chance to thank Pam again for those precious gifts of warmth and affection she has always given to me.


. . . . . . . . . .for Pam

We walk a wooded lane that rises high
above lakeshore dunes, the thin pines reaching
over us almost aimlessly, gathered

together through so many years by wind
and sun. Below us, a few bathers wade
the still-chilled waters of Lake Michigan.

In the distance, others stroll a sandy
neck of land left untouched by winter’s hand.
All around us small beginnings of spring

show themselves: bushes spotted by blossoms,
an irregular fringe of wildflowers,
the slash of a hawk against the high sky.

It is the Easter weekend, and a far-off
church bell echoes from its steeple post, calls
our attention to the late hour.

Descending the darkening ridge, we stop
awhile, huddle in warmth, and watch the soft
lakeside shadows link with one another.

. . . . . —Edward Byrne


Pat said...

Ed, I still recall the anxious anticipation Pam was feeling those twenty-seven years ago. She was a college senior looking forward to an afternoon at the Dunes with the attractive new English professor. It's so nice to have the afternoon so beautifully memorialized in this poem. Little did you two know this would be the beginning of a life-long love. This is a fitting and romantic birthday gift for Pam, and her grateful mom thanks you for all the love and support you give to her.

Maureen said...

Your imagery conveys all the newness of spring, life starting out, possibilities. It is a lovely and deeply tender poem. I imagine your Pam must cherish all the feelings that went into it.