Woody Creek, Colorado, June 2016
W.W. Norton’s paperback edition of Dry Bones in the Valley is available in the US as of April 6, 2015. It will fit in a large pocket and is suitable for travel, reading, swatting insects, and other uses. Links to retailers can be found on the book page.
This past weekend I attended the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes and Festival. By day, jacaranda trees were in bloom; I’d never seen trees that purple before. Saturday night, will wonderments never cease under the stars of heaven, Dry Bones in the Valley took the prize in the Mystery/Thriller category. At the ceremony, the UCF string quartet played the winners on and off the stage. I don’t usually crow about the book on this particular page, but hey, it felt and still feels just as strange and dreamlike as anything else …
“For those of us who write poetry, Stanley Kunitz’s life and his work remind us that although we have been born into an unkind world that tells us to be hard and separate, it is our calling to dance for the joy of survival on the edge of the road. We must have faith that we will change, and yet we must remain modest. Poetry is a necessary and natural phenomenon, neither superior to the work of the tortoise beetle larva nor less wonderful. We must choose love before love story, sky before painting of sky, gentian blossoms before poem, even though those these choices might lead to heartbreak. We must be kind. We must be present. Kunitz reminds us not to neglect the humble life that dies into our poems, and is no less blazingly luminous for being ordinary.”
-from “I Dance for the Joy of Surviving: Stanley Kunitz’s Meditations on the Writing Life” by Dante Di Stefano. Writer’s Chronicle, September 2014
“One bright moonlit night, as one of the sons of the farmer who lived at LLwyn On in Nant y Bettws was going to pay his addresses to a girl at Clogwyn y Gwin, he beheld the Tylwyth Teg enjoying themselves in full swing on a meadow close to Cwellyn Lake. He approached them, and little by little he was led on by the enchanting sweetness of their music and the liveliness of their playing until he had got within their circle. Soon some kind of spell passed over him, so that he lost his knowledge of the place, and found himself in a country, the most beautiful he had ever seen, where everybody spent his time in mirth and rejoicing. He had been there seven years, and yet it seemed to him but a night’s dream; but a faint recollection come to his mind of the business on which he had left home, and he felt a longing to see his beloved one. So he went and asked permission to return home, which was granted him, together with a host of attendants to lead him to his country; and, suddenly, he found himself, as if waking from a dream, on the bank where he had seen the fair family amusing themselves. He turned towards home, but there he found everything changed: his parents were dead, his brothers could not recognize him, and his sweetheart was married to another man. In consequence of such changes he died broken-hearted in less than a week after coming back.”
–As told to John Rhys, author of Celtic Folklore, Welsh & Manx, Volume One (1901)