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

Monday, June 27, 2011

“Outside the Floodwalls” from TINTED DISTANCES

As I watched news this past week of the flood waters rising and cresting in North Dakota, engulfing the city of Minot, as well as endangering a nuclear reactor in Nebraska near the swollen Missouri River, I felt great sympathy for the people in that region, especially the many who have lost their homes, and I thought of a visit to Huntington, West Virginia years ago during which I traveled along the floodwalls there, guided by a friend and resident of the city.

After once again being devastated by a great flood in 1937 that left 6,000 citizens of Huntington homeless, the city was included in a Flood Control Act passed by Congess, authorizing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to immediately construct floodwalls about 15 miles long and as high as 20 feet to protect the area from the Ohio River, which they have done to this day. In 1937, the river crested at 69 feet, which would have been just three feet short of the top of the current wall. Indeed, at least a dozen times since the building of the walls, the city has been saved from subsequent destructive flood levels.

“Outside the Floodwalls,” the following poem of mine inspired by that visit to Huntington, is included in my new collection of poems, Tinted Distances, recently released by Turning Point Books:


. . . . . For DeLane Ball

. . . . . I

This morning when the sun began to show itself
. . . . . above those uppermost ridges that scratch against

the smooth blue skies like black saw blades,
. . . . . we drove down from your home hidden among

the higher, densely wooded hills. Descending
. . . . . steep and winding roads, we arrived just as a fast

peel of dawn finished. Already, the early bustle
. . . . . of this city’s small business section had begun

as, at last, we passed through the thick brown dust
. . . . . of downtown construction towards floodwalls

reaching far and tall beside the river’s narrow edge.
. . . . . You have lived here forty years, nearly your whole

life, often traveled much of the river’s length looking
. . . . . to discover lost inlets with rare waterlogged wrecks

or rotted out hulls left forever in sludge and filled
. . . . . with bilge. In these beloved mysteries, you tell me,

you have found a way to measure life’s change,
. . . . . loss come as part of the cost of taming the waters.

. . . . . II

Today, you’ve taken me for a tour of those remote
. . . . . ruins you’re sure will never lose their significance,

have shown me boats that, like the stored memories
. . . . . of old men, you say may have grown faulty

with age, but continue to give a glimpse into lives,
. . . . . times we will never witness. And now afternoon

is ending, this stretch is littered with large barges
. . . . . drifting down river, each searching its home port.

As those old cargo boats slip slowly past a last grasp
. . . . . of evening light, overloaded holds gracelessly

bear their burdens once more. Massive bulks
. . . . . dragged steadily downstream by the slightest pull

of a late summer current, they eventually disappear
. . . . . in a flat distance brought on by faint haze of dusk,

and all along these marred banks lining the Ohio,
. . . . . darker stains of high-water lines, which yet mark

these great gray walls like still visible scars, again
. . . . . are starting to recede into nightfall’s first shadows.

. . . . . —Edward Byrne

Tinted Distances is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In addition, I am currently offering a sale of signed and numbered copies of the volume. Please view sidebar for ordering signed copies. Readers may also find more information about Tinted Distances and details on purchasing the autographed discount copies at my personal web site, which presents a further selection of poems from this new collection and other past books for readers to browse as well.

1 comment:

Michael Parker said...

This is a fine poem, Edward. Timeless, significant.