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, September 22, 2007

Galway Kinnell: "The Book of Nightmares"

When I came across this engaging and moving video by Nicholas S. Kritter, which includes Galway Kinnell reading a section from his book-length poem The Book of Nightmares (1971), I was reminded of the first time I’d heard Kinnell present the work. Shortly after the book was published, I attended a reading of it by Kinnell at the Donnell Library Center auditorium in New York City. At the time, I was an undergraduate taking my first courses in creative writing and discovering a passion for poetry.

Kinnell’s magnificently dramatic reading, during which he offered the entire book-length piece mostly from memory, proved compelling and persuasive as I realized how powerful a poem could be. Kinnell based material in The Book of Nightmares upon his antiwar activism during the Vietnam era and his experiences as a volunteer for the Congress of Racial Equality in the South, as well as his efforts in support of integration and voter registration during the sixties in Louisiana, a location now again in the news for more racial conflict in the city of Jena. However, alongside the death and pain inherent in those subjects of war and racism, Kinnell’s poem is framed by images of life and joy, the births of his two children, Maud and Fergus.

As I mentioned in a recent entry, the visiting writers series for this academic year already has begun at Valparaiso University, and I hope my students are fortunate enough to be rewarded by witnessing an inspiring presentation by one of our guest poets the way I was influenced, and continue to be, by my attendance at Kinnell’s reading so long ago.

Galway Kinnell’s most recent collection of poems, Strong Is Your Hold, was published at the end of 2006, only a few months before he turned 80 earlier this year. Kinnell has received the Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Frost Medal, and a MacArthur Fellowship. Kinnell’s volumes of poetry include Strong Is Your Hold; A New Selected Poems; Imperfect Thirst; When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone; Selected Poems; The Past; Mortal Acts, Mortal Words; The Book of Nightmares; Body Rags; Flower Herding on Mount Monadnock; and What a Kingdom It Was. He is the editor of The Essential Whitman. He has also published translations of works by Yves Bonnefoy, Yvan Goll, and François Villon, and Rainer Maria Rilke.

One can examine online the text of The Book of Nightmares, including the excerpt Kinnell reads in Kritter’s video. For more complete information on Galway Kinnell, I suggest his web page at the Poetry Foundation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Definitely Kinnell's masterpiece. Flawed in some ways, but brilliant for its unflinching intensity.