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, November 9, 2008

Barack Obama and Derek Walcott

In the week after the presidential election much has been made in literary circles about a news photograph showing President-Elect Barack Obama, who had written some poetry as a student, carrying around Nobel Prize-winner Derek Walcott’s Collected Poems 1948-1984, perhaps received by Obama as a gift upon his victory. At the same time, on the day after the election Walcott released a new poem, “Forty Acres,” written for Obama and available to readers at the Times Online website.

Perhaps this is a fine occasion for all to revisit Walcott’s poetry, including “Sea Grapes,” the title poem from a collection published in 1976 and a piece that appears in the book held by Obama in the news photo. Derek Walcott can be seen reading “Sea Grapes” in the video clip above.


That sail which leans on light,
tired of islands,
a schooner beating up the Caribbean

for home, could be Odysseus,
home-bound on the Aegean;
that father and husband’s

longing, under gnarled sour grapes, is
like the adulterer hearing Nausicaa’s name
in every gull’s outcry.

This brings nobody peace. The ancient war
between obsession and responsibility
will never finish and has been the same

for the sea-wanderer or the one on shore
now wriggling on his sandals to walk home,
since Troy sighed its last flame,

and the blind giant’s boulder heaved the trough
from whose groundswell the great hexameters come
to the conclusions of exhausted surf.

The classics can console. But not enough.

Adam Kirsch, in his recently released book of criticism, The Modern Element: Essays on Contemporary Poetry (W.W. Norton, 2008), writes of Derek Walcott: “Walcott’s constant theme, from his first poems to his very latest, has been the struggle to reconcile this poet’s freedom with the bonds of history. He has seldom seemed to doubt his powers; his is an enormous gift, probably the greatest of any poet now alive, and his career is an almost uninterrupted progress in mastery. The doubts were rather about his place, and assailed him from both sides: the colonialist exclusivity of whites, the nationalist exclusivity of blacks.” Kirsch further observes: “Walcott’s constant alertness to historical injustice is the necessary complement to his nostalgia for history.” Therefore, maybe Derek Walcott is equipped to empathize with Barack Obama in ways few poets might be able.

Readers will find additional information about Derek Walcott and analysis of his poetry in a pair of previous “One Poet’s Notes” posts: “Derek Walcott: Sixty Years of Poetry” and “Derek Walcott: The Prodigy.”


Anonymous said...

If ever there was a poetry book the President–elect should read it is ”Path To The White House” by Khaidji, also by a West Indian poet. This Bajan Poet creatively crafts acrostics which records the campaign trail and covers some of the more topical issues from the Primaries to General Election. There is a moving Birthday wish to Barack Obama and tributes to “Toot” and Tim Russert. The last two poems are congratulatory.

All the poems in this hard cover 240 pages book are acrostics and are all based on the political race from a different perspective. Anyone can enjoy the nostalgia as these poems reminisce on what is now one of the greatest times in American History but based on the fact that Khaidji is Barbadian (remember Eric Holder and Rihanna are Bajans too), Barack Obama is loved throughout the world. I got my copy of ”Path To The White House” by Khaidji from BajanBook.com and highly recommend it to everyone

Lots of talent comes from out of the West Indies and clearly Bajan Poet Khaidji is no exception

Anonymous said...

As a Saint Lucian, I can understand why Mr. Barack Obama would want to indulge in one of our two Nobel Laureates, Derek Walcott's poetry. He has mastered the art of literature and is a genius who is definitely a role model for many.

In every piece of poetry from " A City's Death By Fire" to " Love After Love", Walcott enlightens us about very different issues but with clever understanding of situations and themes like Love to Religion to the History of Saint Lucia, which he, I would think has personally experienced.

Although, there are many other great poets, I believe that Derek Walcott is the best choice for the best " Time Magazine's Person of The Year". No doubt that for someone who has made history; Barack Obama would be able to associate himself and appreciate the historical background and humour that is always expressed in Derek Walcott's literature.

=) ***** for Derek Walcott
***** for Barack Obama

sexy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.