Professor of English
Valparaiso University

322 Huegli Hall
Department of English
Valparaiso University
Valparaiso, IN 46383


Office Phone: (219) 464-5278 
Fax: (219) 464-5511 
Faculty Web Page: 
E-mail: edward.byrne@valpo.edu

Editor:  Valparaiso Poetry Review
Website: http://www.valpo.edu/english/vpr/
One Poet's Notes blog; http://edwardbyrne.blogspot.com/
Edward Byrne blog: http://edwardbyrnepoet.blogspot.com/

E-mail: vpr@valpo.edu

Latest Release


Turning Point Books, 2010 
ISBN: 978-1934999783 

(Click cover for order information.)

Edward Byrne is a graduate of Brooklyn College, City University of New York (B.A., M.F.A.), and the University of Utah (Ph.D.).  He has won a number of awards and fellowships, including an Academy of American Poets Award, the Donald G. Whiteside Award for Poetry, and a Utah Arts Council Award for Poetry. 

His first full-length collection of poetry, Along the Dark Shore (BOA Editions), was a finalist for the Elliston Book Award.  A chapbook-length collection of poems contained in The Return to Black and White (Tidy-Up Press) was selected by Library Journal as among "The Best of the Small Press Publications."  Work in his third book of poems, Words Spoken, Words Unspoken (Chimney Hill Press), was awarded the Cape Rock Prize for Poetry in 1995.  His fourth book of poems, East of Omaha, was nominated for a Midland Authors Award in 1999.  His fifth collection of poems, Tidal Air, appeared from Pecan Grove Press in 2002.  A sixth book of poetry, Seeded Light, is published by Turning Point Books (2010). His poems and articles of literary criticism also have been published in numerous literary journals or anthologies.  In addition, he has written many film essays or movie reviews for newspapers and magazines. 

He was born in New York City and currently resides with his wife and son in Valparaiso, Indiana.  He is a professor of American literature and creative writing in the English Department at Valparaiso University, where he serves as the editor of Valparaiso Poetry Review.


Book Publications of Poetry by Edward Byrne


"The world of Edward Byrne's poems is our own world viewed through the wrong end of a telescope: curiously small and urgent.  But the minuteness of scope is deceptive.... Particulars explode into universality as through the action of a zoom lens." —John Ashbery

"Edward Byrne's poems are sinewy yet delicate, clear yet atmospheric; the precise character is unpredictable, but they are always moving, always engaging."  —Mark Strand

"[Seeded Light] is memorial and social, scenic and intimate . . ." —David Baker

"[Seeded Light] offers abundant evidence of a mind’s alertness to the world of nature and to modern urban reality . . ." —Alfred Corn

"Reading a poem by Edward Byrne is like emerging at the top of a stadium ramp for a first glimpse of authentically green grass. Byrne's lines restore visibility to objects darkened by over- exposure." —David Lehman

"Byrne does what only the best poets can do...he makes connections which go beyond the landscape that can be described in spoken words, and he points to those truths which can never be fully captured in language."  —Jill Pelåez Baumgartner, Christian Century

"Byrne's greatest strength: his command of crystalline images.... The action is essential.  —ALA Booklist

"There's a genre of lyric poem in the romantic tradition still most alive in American poetry... [Byrne's poetry is] Wordsworthian in tone as well as mode."  —Katharine Coles, Quarterly West

"Byrne writes a beautifully cadenced line and the musicality of his poems is often remarkable; indeed, they might be compared to nocturnes. . . . The work is mature, balanced, and poised." —Darlene Mathis-Eddy, Arts Indiana Magazine

"Completing [East of Omaha] one can't help but come to the conclusion that one has read a truly powerful and truly American book written by a poet who knows the pressures inherent in and necessary to the quiet range and ferocious despair that has driven much of Western culture and art."  —Joel Peckham, Sun Dog: The Southeast Review

"[In Edward Byrne's poetry] the precision of detail and metaphor makes magic of an everyday occurrence." —Vince Gotera, Literary Magazine Review

"Learning to unlock experience and memory in the image is the way humans arrest the world, explore it, and feel its power. The gift of images, and the power to use them, is what [Byrne] gives." —Martin Walls, Sycamore Review

"Tidal Air, Edward Byrne's splendid book, is two poems in twelve parts each — first, about a son; last, about a father.  The man we come to love as father and as son is the voice caught in the middle of heartache and natural, ecstatic joy. . ..  Byrne regards the world as a gift; the son is 'one more unexpected / pleasure of nature' — delight made poignant by physical illness.  Like James Wright and the millions of others of us, Byrne loves this earth, 'this rifted paradise.'  Here, the bliss of being a father as well as son bumps always against risks and loss; 'the lush / . . . red tomatoes, green peppers // yellow corn' end up under 'remnants littering / the yard, windblown debris of the dead leaves // and broken bark,' serving 'as stark / reminders of how tenuous this tender life is.'  The poems of Tidal Air know that loss is as natural as coastal erosion.  Byrne understands, but mourns and sings the losses, especially of family, since 'a little less remains of the world we once knew.'  The book's subtitle could well be 'Songs for the Young and Old' — a sustained elegy of joy and controlled heartbreak for us all."  —Walt McDonald

"A famous sentence of Wordsworth comes to mind when reading Tidal Air, by Edward Byrne: The child is father of the man.  The structure of this book is archetypal, its rhythm tidal, its two stories — the illness and recovery of a child, the death of his grandfather and the inevitable process of mourning — like all achieved poetry, profoundly recapitulate the structures of human life itself." —Jonathan Holden 

"The title page of Edward Byrne's Tidal Air identifies it as 'A Diptych,' and indeed it is a work in two parts: one long poem about a man and his son and another about the same man and his father.  But Byrne's collection would be more accurately labeled a triptych, with the third part being the poet himself.  Byrne's voice and keen sense of image bind the sections of this book together as a powerful statement by a poet intensely aware of nature but even more intensely aware of the natural forces of the human heart." —R.G. Evans, The Literary Review 

"There is a sense of mythic narrative throughout Tidal Air; despite the fact that both halves of the diptych center on an illness, this is not clinical illness poetry but rather rite of passage poetry . . . .  Birds, all kinds of birds, feature in these poems, marking the incidents of remembered happiness as if reminding the reader that these moments are both irretrievable and permanent.  The cormorants, kestrels, crows, sparrow hawks are like a chorus, setting the tone and communicating the interwoven light and dark of the experiences of parenthood—becoming and being a father, having one and losing him.  Nothing can take away the past, the poems suggest, but neither can it be possessed; it is untouchable and immutable, foundation of present meaning and identity." —Janet McCann, Main Street Rag

"Tidal Air is a somber book filled with sadness of loss, the fear of losing, and the hope for better days.  It does everything it sets out to do and more.  Byrne . . . writes lines of such ease and charm that to read them is to feel the feathery touch of a pen on a thin sheet of paper, brushing along, drawing the words rather than writing them.  This is true even though the subjects being written are harder-edged, desperate, tearing at what exists beyond the page . . ..  Recommendation: When you buy this book, read it at least three times: once as a collection of individual poems, once as two long poems, and once as a complete piece exploring the polarities of a man's relationship to his father and son.  Expect three different understandings to emerge.  This book is a remarkable experiment in perspectives . . .. —Ace Boggess, The Adirondack Review


Education and Teaching Experience

Journal and Anthology Publications of Poetry

Criticism and Essay Publications

Directory of Valparaiso Poetry Review issues

Inaugural Lecture: "Writing Poetry: Art, Artifacts, and Articles of Faith"

Publicity page and order information for East of Omaha and Tidal Air

Publicity page and order information for Seeded Light

To order books from Pecan Grove Press

To order signed copies of books



"Moonlight in the City"

"Fault Line: A Farewell in Five Fragments"

"Lightning Strike"

"Summer Evening: Truro, 1947"

"Night Vision"

"Nocturnal: Fayette County, West Virginia"

"Listening to Lester Young"

"Anniversary Visit"

"First Winter Vision from Farmhouse Window"

"Bridge Crossing: Crawford County, Wisconsin"

"Winter Nightfall in a Seaside Village"

"Wharf at Sunset: A Sketch"

"Canyon Tributary"







The only sound we hear is that warm afternoon 
       wind still sifting through the long arms of elms 

everywhere around us.  We watch as our son 
       runs alone across the grass, his figure silhouetted 

now against sunshine slowly dying in the sky 
       behind him.  Our own shadows are lengthening

along the lawn, drifting like little splotches 
       of cloud cover, spotty knots of shade blotting

bits of landscape in that late light—as always, 
       eventually seeming to link us with everything 

we can see until nightfall once more gathers 
       all together in the false security of its embrace. 

Even in such darkness, as the three of us return 
       home, fears of what might lie ahead never disappear.