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, June 27, 2009

An Elegant Epigraph: Frank O'Hara on Writing About Experience

Frank O’Hara celebrated his birth as this date (June 27) in 1926. [Readers should note recent recovery of records indicates he actually may have been born on March 27, 1926.] When asked by Donald Allen to provide a preface for his poems in the New American Poetry anthology published in 1960, O’Hara at first supplied his now well-known “manifesto” on “Personism.” However, Allen determined the submitted essay did not suit the tenor of the anthology; therefore, O’Hara substituted a shorter prose piece. Although not as famous as O’Hara’s explanation of “Personism,” which compared the process of writing a poem to the intimacy and directness of talking on the telephone with another, Frank O’Hara’s subsequent statement authored in 1959 for the Allen anthology appears to offer some valuable advice:

“I am mainly preoccupied with the world as I experience it, and at times when I would rather be dead the thought that I could never write another poem has so far stopped me. I think this is an ignoble attitude. I would rather die for love, but I haven’t.

“I don’t think of fame or posterity (as Keats so grandly and genuinely did), nor do I care about clarifying experiences for anyone or bettering (other than accidentally) anyone’s state or social relation, nor am I for any particular technical development in the American language simply because I find it necessary. What is happening to me, allowing for lies and exaggerations which I try to avoid, goes into my poems. I don’t think my experiences are clarified or made beautiful for myself or anyone else, they are just there in whatever form I can find them. What is clear to me in my work is probably obscure to others, and vice versa. My formal ‘stance’ is found at the crossroads where what I know and can’t get meets what is left of that I know and can bear without hatred. I dislike a great deal of contemporary poetry—all of the past you read is usually quite great—but it is a useful thorn to have in one’s side.

“It may be that poetry makes life’s nebulous events tangible to me and restores their detail; or conversely, that poetry brings forth the intangible quality of incidents which are all too concrete and circumstantial. Or each on specific occasions, or both all the time.” —Frank O’Hara

—From New American Poetry 1945-1960 (Grove Press, 1960), and reprinted in Frank O’Hara: Standing Still and Walking in New York (Grey Fox Press, 1975), both edited by Donald Allen.

Readers are invited to view some of the other articles at “One Poet’s Notes” with commentary, audio, and video concerning Frank O’Hara: “Frank O’Hara: Having a Coke with You,” “The Poet and the Painter: Grace Hartigan and Frank O’Hara,” “Grace Hartigan and Frank O’Hara,” “Larry Rivers and Frank O’Hara,” and “Frank O’Hara and Jackson Pollock.”

[“An Elegant Epigraph” serves as the recurring title for a continuing series of posts with entries containing brief but engaging, eloquent, and elegant excerpts of prose commentary introducing subjects particularly appropriate to discussion of literature, creative writing, or other relevant matters addressing complementary forms of art and music. These apposite extracts usually concern topics specifically relating to poetry or poetics. Each piece is accompanied by a recommendation that readers seek out the original publication to obtain further information and to become familiar with the complete context in which the chosen quotation appeared as well as other views presented by its author.]


-K- said...

Didn't Brad Gooch's biography reveal that O'Hara was actually born on March 27? As I recall, it was the usual reason; his parents didn't want it to come out that she was pregnant before they were married so they left town as a married couple and returned a year later with their 'nine' month old baby.

Edward Byrne said...

Yes, both dates are commonly reported as O'Hara's birthday. O'Hara celebrated June 27 as his birth date: it is listed as such by the Dictionary of Literary Biography, the Writer's Almanac, and the Academy of American Poets, as well as various other organizations. Gooch determined that March 27 may have been the actual date of birth, as you state, which gives us twice as many opportunities to honor O'Hara. As a point of clarification, I will amend the post above to note this.