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 20, 2011

Vernal Equinox: “Spring Walk Along the Lake”

As the vernal equinox arrives this evening and Monday represents the first full day of spring, I remind readers about “Spring Walk Along the Lake,” one of my poems that appeared in Tidal Air (Pecan Grove Press, 2002). Visiting the Indiana Dunes along the southern shore of Lake Michigan during the spring season has been an annual event since I met my wife and we spent our first day together there on a bright spring afternoon.

For decades, the spring trips to the dunes and our walks across the beach have served as opportunities to experience a sense of renewal, as well as ways to measure time or gauge changes that have occurred from year to year. This ritual has continued to have special significance for Pam and me, and it has even become a family tradition for us as our son, Alex, has grown over the years, accompanying us on our walks each spring. Indeed, this poem recounts his initial steps along Lake Michigan at the age of three.


. . . . . 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

Instinctively, 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.

—Edward Byrne

In addition, I would like to remind readers that a signed copy of Tidal Air can now be obtained at a special discount of ten dollars during the current Spring Reading Sale, as detailed in the sidebar of this page.


Maureen said...

This a poem that I've read several times from my copy of "Tidal Air". The imagery is vivid and the voice lyrical. It's lovely.

Aaron Geiger said...

Oh, the dynamics between sentimentality and youth! I love the appreciation of the season, of the vitality and tangible taste of nature. If I could paint this poem, it would be in pastels and hushed whispers and singing birds.