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

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Remembering Deborah Digges

Once I asked myself, when was I happy?
I was looking at a February sky.
When did the light hold me and I didn't struggle?
—Deborah Digges

As sad news about the death of Deborah Digges by suicide over the weekend filtered though emails and blog posts yesterday morning, I heard words of praise for the woman many had admired, and I felt the emotion of sorrow expressed by those who knew Digges well for years, even decades, far beyond my one brief meeting with her. Some comments complimented her as a teacher and mentor, while others spoke of her as a good friend or caring mother. However, all of us who have read her wonderful poems in various collections or who have assigned to our students her anthologized poetry, works in which the poet’s intelligence and insight were always evident, realized how significant the loss to contemporary literature with the silencing of her lyrical voice.

Therefore, I believe listening once again to the poet read her own lines may be the best way to remember Deborah Digges. Consequently, I recommend readers celebrate her life and work by watching the above video of Digges offering a few of her poems at an event in Pasadena only one month before her death. I invite viewers to take this opportunity to observe her contribution to poetry once more and to share in the appreciation for her as demonstrated by the audience’s heartfelt applause at the close of her presentation. The reading was part of an event co-sponsored by Claremont Graduate University and Red Hen Press.

Deborah Digges was the author of four collections of poetry. Her first book, Vesper Sparrows (1986), won the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Prize. Late in the Millennium was released in 1989. Rough Music (1995) won the Kingsley Tufts Prize. Trapeze (2005) represented her most recent release. She was in the process of completing a fifth volume of poetry that had been scheduled for publication in the fall. Digges also wrote two compelling memoirs, Fugitive Spring (1991) and The Stardust Lounge (2001). In 1995 Digges translated Ballad of the Blood, poems by Cuban dissident poet Maria Elena Cruz Varela. Additionally, she had been the recipient of a number of impressive honors, including grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation.


Maggie May said...

It's terrible the way that she went. I keep thinking of it.

Risa Denenberg said...

Thank you. I didn't know her as a poet, but I will listen and learn. And thank you for this blog, which helps me to stay in touch with poetry during my prosey life.

Anonymous said...

Ed, I listened to Deborah Digg's astoundingly heartbreaking reading this morning and have come back tonight to look for comments by others -- surprised to find so few. I have found very little information out there so I guess people are too stunned to say anything. Once again you have done just the right thing by posting this reading for us. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Isn't she a wonderful poet. She was also a most wonderful woman, a most wonderful friend. A heart as grand as the world itself. I miss her so. Thank you for posting this recording.

Anonymous said...

On a brilliant, sunlit day in April in a private ceremony, Deborah Digges was laid to rest next to her beloved Frank on their plot in the forested section of Wildwood Cemetry, Amherst, Massachusetts. May she rest now, toward eternity.

Allan Peterson said...

Thank you for this tribute, Ed, and this opportunity. I have all her books and admired her work but had never heard her.

Anonymous said...

I am just getting to know the work of Deborah Digges. Thank you for the gift of the video which gave me her voice reading her own poems. I wish the light had held her through April and beyond.

Thank you,

Anonymous said...

Ed, thank you for posting this video. I have admired Deborah Digges's poetry for some time, but have never had the privilege of hearing her read. I hope her spirit has found peace at last.

Anonymous said...

It was such a very sad thing to happen, I do believe this was a suicide and not an accidental death. Suicide is a terrible thing to do to one's students and to one's children.
I wish there had been ssome sort of intervention with and for Deborah after she published her last book Trapese. That book screamed "I want to die."

Anonymous said...

So sad about Deborah.I met her once many years ago. Suicide is a terrible thing to do to one's children and students.

betty h said...

I am coming to Deborah Digges' work vey late. Only this morning did I read her poem " The Coat" and I knew at once I must order her recent book of poems. Such a tragic loss is her death - but what a gift to discover her. B

Bell said...

I was at that reading in Pasadena, for my poetry course at CSUN. It was stunned to hear about her death. I spent weeks denying suicide. I will never forget that night, or the tears her poetry brought out of me. Forever changed by her. It's a tragedy that her voice is gone. Thankfully, she wrote so she is immortal.