Valdata, Pat. Inherent Vice

ISBN: 978-1-931247-30-6




Patricia Valdata has an MFA in writing from Goddard College. Her publications include two novels, The Other Sister (Plain View Press, 2008) and Crosswind (Wind Canyon Publ;ishing, 1997), plus an earlier chapbook from Pecan Grove Press, Looking for Bivalve (2002). Her poetry has won first place in the Eastern Shore Regional Poetry Competition and the Icarus Poetry Competition. She has twice received Maryland Individual Artists Grants for poetry.


Pecan Grove Press

Looking for Bivalve
Pat Valdata


ISBN: 1-931247-07-2

"Looking for Bivalve"

An osprey nest, prominent
In a tree above the salt marsh

The salt marsh, for miles,
Reeds, cattails, ice

An oyster-packing plant,
A rotting pier

A sign pointing to Shellpile
A single blue heron.

This map must be wrong.

Inherent Vice

  It all degrades: paint 
fades, varnish cracks,
canvas mildews and frays.
Clouds dissipate, leaves
turn brown and fall.
The bookbinding rots.
The Ice Man melts.
Even petrified wood:
where did the cellulose go?

Decay is deliberate,
like Navajo sand painting,
words scribed in chalk
on a rainy sidewalk,
swans sculpted from ice.
No matter. We are all
design: inherent vice.
See it in the museum.
See it in your mirror.

About Pat Vadata's Inherent Vice:


"In this, her debut full-length poetry book, Pat Valdata plays with the multiple meanings of inherent vice: how objects break down, self-destruct. 'It all degrades,' she says. Like the 'monarch [butterfly] aimed for Mexico[,] we are all, like her, on borrowed time.' Valdata gives us a litany of things that disappear: a 1955 postcard of a one-stop shop, data from the 1930 census, a surfer facing fifty, Lot's wife, Elvis, George Harrison ('all things must pass'). And yet beauty trumps, triumphs, slaps down the final card, whether it's a glass shape blown from a molten mass, 'hope bursting like popcorn in a microwave,' or God kick-ing off her pumps and pouring a glass of Malbec at the end of a hard day. Graced by clean lines, sharp images, economy of words, these are poems that will linger, long after you close the covers of the book." —Barbara Crooker, author of More


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November 11, 2003

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