Nils Peterson welcomed summer 2011 with A Walk to the Center of Things, his long-awaited collection of poems. For the last few years, he has been reading some of his poems at various events, straight from his manuscript. It has now been released as a caesura edition, a special project by Poetry Center San Jose, and printed and published by Robertson Publishing of Los Gatos, California.

The press release for the book reads: “Poetry Center San Jose is proud to present as its first offering in its new publication series, caesura editions, Nils Peterson’s A Walk to the Center of Things. Nils Peterson was chosen as the First Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County because of the many years he spent making poets and poetry available to the public, for his encouragement of young writers, and for his own work. This collection confirms the wisdom of that choice and is our way to support poetry in a time when institutional funding is disappearing.”

Here is what other notable poets have to say about Nils Peterson’s new publication, A Walk to the Center of Things:

Robert Bly
The poems have great affection for the feminine, and they are wonderfully patient with human confusion.

Jane Hirshfield
Nils Peterson’s poems move with depth, authority, and the occasional grace-granting glint of humor as they travel through image, idea, and a deep storehouse of recollection both cultural and personal. A lifetime’s attention to both writing and living buoys these intimate, intelligent, sometimes, chastened, sometimes celebratory, but always compassionate pages.

Joseph Stroud
Nils Peterson is a poet who sets the world before us—tangible and mysterious. With almost effortless craft and a superbly tuned ear for the music of language, he reveals the luminous within the everyday events of our lives. To use Sappho’s words, he is an artisan of the “keen, clear song.” Varied in subject and manner, his poems embody a deep pleasure and wonder in being alive, and they bring us into the company of a larger life.

Not only is the book well-designed and well-edited, but interspersed with the poems is a generous sampling of artist Patrick Surgalski’s artwork that he created for his print show at the San Jose Museum of Art.

Nils Peterson, generous as only he can be, acknowledged the appreciation he received for his new book, but not “without sufficient trumpeting” of his artist-friend, whose artwork graces the cover, and throughout the book.

Surgalski holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work is in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Portland Museum Gilkey Graphic Arts Collection among others. He is a Professor of Art at San Jose State University.

Nils Peterson is no stranger to the South Bay. Even prior to becoming the First Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County (2009-2011), he’s been well-known as a Professor Emeritus at San José State University where he taught in the English and Humanities Departments. He has published poetry, science fiction, and articles on subjects as varied as golf and Shakespeare. He was nominated for a 2005 Pushcart Prize. His publications include Here Is No Ordinary Rejoicing, The Comedy of Desire, Driving a Herd of Moose to Durango, For This Day, Revenge of the Socks, and now, A Walk to the Center of Things.

The celebration of this new collection of poems took place on Saturday afternoon, June 25, 2011 at vintner Frank Ashton’s Flight Wine & Food, where poets intermingled, amazed with wine and verse.

Frankly speaking, as Ferlinghetti would say:
He mixes drinks
out of the insane liquors
of the imagination
and is perpetually surprised
that no one staggers…

“…and the wine is bottled poetry”
(Robert Louis Stevenson, The Silverado Squatters, 1883)

Flight Wine & Food features over 100 wines from around the world, serving small tapas style plates and offering a number of food items for sale. You can taste Downhill Cellars wine, and a number of other wines by the glass.

Check out Frank Ashton’s Flight Wine & Food, at 20333 Stevens Creek Boulevard, (Stevens Creek & Vista), Cupertino, CA 95014.
Phone: (408) 459-7711.