Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Inaugural Publication of Loch Raven Press at Amazon -- Sandy Lyne's In the Footsteps of Paradise

The inaugural publication of Loch Raven Press, In the Footsteps of Paradise by Sandford Lyne is now available from

Sandy Lyne worked for years as a Kennedy Center Partner in Education teaching children and writing teachers throughout the United States and beyond. His collections of poems by young people, Ten-Second Rainshowers (1996) and Soft Hay Will Catch You (2004), were published by Simon and Schuster. His Writing Poetry from the Inside Out: Finding Your Voice Through the Craft of Poetry was published posthumously in May 2007 by SourceBooks Inc. of Napierville IL. Sandy's own poems appeared in the anthology Quickly Aging Here, Some Poets of the 1970's, edited by Geof Hewitt (Doubleday/Anchor, 1969), in small chapbook editions, and in numerous journals, including The American Poetry Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, and Poetry East. Sandy Lyne passed away on February 7, 2007.

I provided the following blurb on the back cover:

Guided by an inner light throughout his career, Sandford Lyne has written complex poems of the human heart in a deceptively simple, accessible language. These poems are filled with the love of plain speech, the search for wisdom and redemption, the willingness to let the sublime enter everyday life, and the belief in the sacredness of the word. As a Kennedy Center Fellow, Lyne taught poetry writing to over 50,000 young people and teachers, and influenced many lives beyond his calling. Though this book is tinged with grief, it ultimately affirms the joy of being alive and passing on the love of language to the next generation.


"I am repeatedly struck by the range of poems in this collections: the psychological range, the poetic range, the imaginative range. These are poems that could have been written anywhere and they are, in fact, written at different stages of Sandy’s life and of the different physical places he lived in. They are poems of youth and poems of maturity. They are poems of leaving and poems of arriving. They are poems of large vacant spaces in our lives and poems about the ways love fills those places. Whatever they are in the shapes and turns they take, they are always poems centered in and sung from the geography of the human heart.”
– Darrell Bourque, Louisiana Poet Laureate, 2007-2008

“Sandy’s poems surfaced from depths where words can’t go. His calling and art was to dive and live at such silent, potent depths, and to translate their soul-refreshing stillness into poems that join you wherever you may sit; that say, unmistakeably, ‘Friend.’ A fluid living calm still clings to these soulful surfacings. He wanted you to have them and here they are at last.”
– Geoffrey Oelsner, author of Native Joy: Poems, Songs, Visions, Dreams


For those who enter the weekly poetry challenges at the Wild Poetry Forum, you might remember a word-group poem of Sandy's that was used about a year ago:

Emperor Children Fireflies Moon


The emperor is in the garden.
He came there to admire the moon,
as emperors do.
His children hide there,
covering their laughter with their hands,
wishing not to be seen.
They, too, came out for the moon,
but they also came to catch the fireflies.


The moon is emperor tonight,
slowly crossing the garden
of the sky,
no children to accompany him,
an emperor alone.
Perhaps he came to play with
the starry fireflies.


How sad the emperor seems tonight,
and lonely as the distant moon.
The burdens of ruling are great,
and assassins could be anywhere.
He remembers his days as a child
when his only care
was catching fireflies in the summer night.


The emperor invites the children
to his summer garden.
They think he wants them
to admire the moon.
No, he wants them to teach him
their art of catching fireflies.


I want to grow up to be
the emperor of my life someday.
I want someone to love me, to think
that I’m the sun and moon.
But I will never outgrow
the job of catching fireflies
in the summer nights.


No moon tonight.
No matter.
Let him sleep,
that golden emperor
of the summer night.
I will be like children
happy in the dark,
their hearts made bright
in chasing fireflies.


Winter night, so cold
the emperor moon
a frozen statue
in the glistening sky.
Icicles hang from
the pagoda roof,
twinkling here and there
like summer fireflies.
Here, too, the snowman
left by playing children
to help us forget, for now,
the joys of summer days.


My father thinks he’s emperor
of our house.
His watch is ruler of his days.
He whistlers from the porch
to call me in.
It’s time, he thinks.
No moon tonight to give away
my hiding place.
I’ll come in soon, but for awhile
I want to linger—
and you can guess—
the summer night is full of fireflies!


Enough fireflies in my jar—
in the darkness of my room
they’ll replace the summer moon.
It’s good to be a child, I think,
to play, then sleep,
and be the emperor of my dreams.


I hope some of you will find this book of interest and worthy of a read.

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