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

Thursday, November 3, 2011

“Snow Squalls” from TINTED DISTANCES

Last weekend as I watched television reports about the unusual early snowstorm moving up the East Coast and barreling through New England, I was reminded of the weather transitions I have witnessed in northern Indiana each year during autumn months. Following comments on social media by friends and relatives caught in the path of the storm or observing news stories about how the late-October combination of wind and snow toppled trees still heavy with leaves, causing extensive electrical outages, I thought of similar scenes I have seen here in the past. Although this fall has been mild by normal standards for the region, there have been a number of times when snowstorms arrived in northern Indiana during the end of October or beginning of November. One memorable Halloween storm caused a terrible airplane disaster when a passenger jet plummeted into a soybean field whitened by sleet and snow at a nearby farm in 1994. All 68 on board died in the crash.

Nevertheless, more than anything else, the first half of November often seems simply a reminder of the continual need to adjust for change, whether that merely be trading the lawn mower for the snow blower in the storage shed or more grandly involve recognizing the temporal yet cyclical nature of life itself through the shift in seasons and the returning images of bare trees or empty gardens in an increasingly wintry looking landscape. Though I often imagine living in a tropical climate where the days are always warm and sunny, I must acknowledge the enduring fascination I hold for the four seasons and the characteristics they display in my part of the world every year, an interest frequently reflected in my poetry. Despite the frigid snowbound January mornings when I confess to an envy of those I know inhabiting more temperate regions of the country, I confide a certain pleasure derived from the variety of climate conditions exhibited during the course of a quartet of distinctly different seasons.

When I lived among the western mountains for four years, I looked forward to and valued the cold dry snow that often powdered trees and covered ski slopes on late autumn mornings, but the adhesiveness of heavy wet snow accompanying November squalls with winds whipping off Lake Michigan offers another sort of beauty, which also can be appreciated and present a lesson concerning transformation or acclimation. Consequently, as November begins again and I anticipate the first snowfall that surely will occur sometime this month, signaling another notable change in seasons, I offer the following timely poem from my recently released collection, Tinted Distances:


Early November and just a few fitful leaves
. . . . . still linger on thin fruit trees leaning beside

our back fence, though lifting in that wind
. . . . . drift bringing shifting rows of snow squalls

over an empty stretch of meadow. Already,
. . . . . all across this landscape seems bleached out.

Each of these features now appears changed
. . . . . to a paler shade of gray the way deck wood

weathers in winter or rich colors of printed
. . . . . images often will blanch under summer sun.

By tomorrow morning, this short storm also
. . . . . may fade away, the skeletal shapes of bared

branches will be the only things that remain
. . . . . to frame those frozen fields yet whitening

beneath brightening skies and the far scarves
. . . . . of clouds darkening the line of the horizon.

I invite readers to discover more about the poetry in Tinted Distances, and I remind everyone that the volume is available for purchase.

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