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An Affair In The Valley

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A #1 Amazon Best Seller

Winner of 2 International Book Awards

 

Embark on a powerful journey through the darkness into the beauty and peace of the light.

Told with poignant, passionate prose and reflecting the universal themes of love, life, joy and gratitude, An Affair in the Valley forms a powerful and moving testament to openings – opening the door to home, to the greatness of life, to love and its companions, joy and gratitude. Echoing author Steve Jackson’s personal journey through hardship and darkness, this exquisite collection explores both the dark and the light, from sorrow to rapture, and his ascent to a place of peace.

 

Steve sees the light because he’s felt the darkness, living for months out of his pickup with no end in sight. But through this, he was liberated and delivered to the light, freeing his mind as he witnessed the love and beauty of life around him. His poems are a glowing testament of a conscientious witness, enhanced by his uncanny knack for capturing the spirit of a moment, crafting a unique and flowing narrative which allows readers to extract each poem’s purest essence.

If Dante’s Inferno is a guided descent into the hideous abyss, then An Affair In The Valley is the reverse – an ascendance into light and the lightness of being, an affirmation that “this is your home – the universe."

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#1 Amazon Best Seller

in 5 categories

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Book Excellence

Awards Finalist

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Maincrest Media Book Award Winner

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An Affair in the Valley: A Collection of Poems is passionate poetry about openings, opening the door to home, to the greatness of life, to love an its companions, joy and gratitude. These poems have been scraped off the wall of Steve's everyday life and carefully sifted through an exquisite prism of awareness. Steve sees the light because he's seen and felt the darkness. He's heard a hundred silent doors slam behind him. But there is no bitterness here. His poems are an accessible, glowing testament of a conscientious witness with an uncanny knack for isolating precise words and the exact inflection of the moment, which he freezes into language that allows readers to extract the poem's purest essence. If Dante's Inferno is a guided descent into the hideous abyss, then An Affair in the Valley: A Collection of Poems is the reverse, an ascendance into light and the lightness of being, an affirmation that "This is your home, the universe, and the universe loves you."

 

Richard Weekley

Editor, Los Angeles Poets Press

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An Affair in the Valley by Steve Jackson is an uplifting collection of poems that present a captivating portrait of growth and inspiration. An Affair in the Valley follows the life and struggle of a singular, recurring speaker, with readers ushered into the book with a strong sense that these poems were deeply inspired by Jackson’s life. The book’s vignette-like poems feature numerous characters that the speaker encounters along the way: family, friends, lovers, strangers, etc. At the hands of these characters or by what Jackson might call Fate or the Universe, he experiences abandonment, betrayal, grace, homelessness, limitless love, and an abundance of other twists and turns which ultimately shape the speaker’s evolution through life.

 

Throughout the collection, Jackson also chronicles the similarly turbulent experiences of many of those other characters as well.

The poems in An Affair in the Valley explore the duality of suffering and deliverance. Jackson paints a profound image of a man who has experienced unimaginable suffering. He refuses to shy away from the dissonance between how painful and how beautiful the world can be at the same time. He embraces the paradox of life. Jackson’s secondary themes emphasize the role of unconditional love and self-acceptance in one’s journey from darkness into the light, images which recur throughout several of his poems. An Affair in the Valley’s thematic substance is, by far, the collection’s standout feature. Without making any off-putting assertions, it tugs at bigger questions, and insists that there is a cosmic quality to the human experience that is bigger than all of us; it includes the love, the loss, heartache, joy, and everything in between.

Jackson finds the right moments throughout the book to demonstrate his proficiency writing in a more traditional poetic voice, but most of his poems adopt a rather narrative approach. Many of them contain quite a bit of dialogue and are driven by different characters and the ways in which they have touched the speaker’s life or the ways he has touched theirs. This unique stylistic choice presents itself as a strength in Jackson’s poems. His style of poetry lends itself to his ability to tell a larger, interconnected, cohesive story about the speaker’s life and experience. The collection is grounded by a kind of chronology — an arc — not especially common in collections of poetry. In addition, when he embraces the fractured and abstract, we can sense that there is a deep sense of intentionality behind his different approaches. The hybrid style of poetry casts a wide net and will appeal to a wider audience of readers.

In An Affair in the Valley, Jackson’s unique voice shines through loud and clear — enough so that we have no trouble hearing the compelling, beautiful message it declares.

 

Maincrest Media Book Reviews

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Poet Steve Jackson's writing in AN AFFAIR IN THE VALLEY reads like a love letter to joy, pain, relationships of all sorts, and the truth that what connects us in this human experience is complex and deeper than any ocean. Moreover, his masterful approach to poetry, which includes prose that strikes the heart like having a conversation with a close confidante, creates an intimate space which feels warm and hopeful, even while exploring sadder subjects. My personal favorite poems include themes of freedom and of love itself, especially when the poet struggles to understand why it is he deserves it. There's such vulnerability, and, to me, vulnerability is one of the greatest aspects of good writing.

 

Steve utilizes beautiful language, hauntingly truth-filled questions, and equally genuine answers that reveal how worthwhile life is when we choose to fully experience it. A profound work. I'm definitely going to re-read again and again...and again. I feel like every read will give me new glimpses of life.

Elite Authors

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It is striking how visual Steve Jackson's poetry is. With seemingly few words, Jackson immerses readers in a new world with each poem. The poems are not just descriptive, they are evocative of the emotions and events they portray. Part of the strength of them clearly lies in their truth. Each is a slice of the writer's life. He uses precise language to bring his lived experiences, both highs and lows, to life. It creates an intimate portrait of a life that is more unique than the standard memoir. It is a light read that goes quickly but still leaves the reader feeling that they have heard a complete story.

Elite Authors

Book Excerpts

Discover breathtaking excerpts from An Affair in the Valley

The New Light

The River

Travelers from the Dust

The New Light

When we met I told you

I’d been scarred.

You told me
a person’s mind
lives in a house
that lets in a new light through cracks
made by time.

When I knew you better

I learned the new light

is your tender insight.

With you I learned
to see what I used to be,

a dim person
stooped over.

With you I became

what I am now,
a new person
standing in the sunlight.

There I see
God’s messengers
in those neighbor children.

 

Celebrating joy
they laugh and play with their dog.

There I see tall trees

decorating the street

for bold travelers.

Holding your hand
I touch the great person

you’ve made of yourself

and I admire you

for coaxing me out of
the cold house of my past.


With you I see and feel the world

in a new light.

The River

See the many colored rocks

glimmering under the surface

of the clear flowing river.

I imagine the river
telling me she’s happy

flowing clear and untroubled

so I can see her stone jewelry

there below her clear surface.

In my mind
the river’s kind voice

confides with me.

“I want to satisfy you,” she says,

“Even when I’m damned
I still find my way to you
so I can quench your thirst.

"If you wonder why
I want to satisfy you,
my ancestors,
the raindrop and snowflake

made me the way I am.

"As for my brothers and sisters,

the rivers of the earth,
we can be dangerous
when we swell up and flood,

but the best part of us

wants to please you
until we give up our lives

and join the great water.

"Come,
let me wash your feet

and refresh your body.”

Following the river’s voice in my mind

I take off my shoes
and let her soothing water
refresh and purify me.

I want to ask her
if she knows how it feels
to join the great water
but her voice in my mind
has flowed on with her

leaving me to experience bliss

from her soothing touch.

Her graceful kindness

inspires me
to make my own ending

to her story.

She joins with the ocean
like a person in love

disappears into
another person love has made

into a welcoming home.

Travelers from the Dust

It was a low point in my life,

maybe the lowest,
my mid twenties.
I had no job

and no skills to speak of.
A woman left.
Rent was due.
Sometimes I woke in the morning
looking forward to going to bed that night.

Then one morning
I saw in the paper
Chris Walker was going to sing
in a city a couple of hundred miles away.

I’d seen him sing

seven years before.

He sang songs

about love and loss,

faith and doubt.

He didn’t try to posture himself

as some kind of hero,
just a person talking with people.

When I’d seen him sing

I’d felt he was my friend

so, seven years later
I drove two hundred miles

to see him again

and when he sang his songs

I felt his friendship
even stronger than before.

I felt so drawn to him
I found my way to his backstage dressing room

so I could try to be near him.

People were coming and going

laughing and drinking.

I told his guitar player
I’d driven a couple hundred miles
to see the show
and the guitar player yelled
at a group of people across the room,
“Hey Chris,
this guy drove two hundred miles to see the show!”

Chris called back to him,
“O, that’s all I need to feel, guilt.”

When Chris said he felt guilt
I realized from the sincere tone of his voice

he didn’t think he was worth someone driving

two hundred miles to see him sing songs.

He slowly walked over

to where I was standing

and looked at me

like he wanted to ask me something

but he could tell I was shy,
almost afraid of him,
so he wasn’t sure how to approach me.

Then he came closer

with his face close to mine
since the room was noisy with people yelling

and he said gently,
“Why did you come?”

“I don’t know why.
I saw you a few years ago
and your voice, the look in your eyes,

something in your songs,
I don’t know.”

And he said, “Let’s sit down here

and think about this.
Maybe we can figure it out.”

 

When we sat on the couch
a reeling woman waving a bottle

spilled beer all over his pants.

He laughed and reached out his hand

to keep her from falling over.

We sat there for a couple of minutes

before he said,
and I think we both realized this
at the same time,

he said to me,
“I think you came

because you want to feel

unconditional love

coming from me to you.”

I confessed to him,
“Just now
I was thinking the same thing.”

He thanked me for coming

and said he had a hard time

giving himself respect or love

and that I’d given him a gift

by coming to him.

The guitar player I’d spoken to earlier

staggered by and fell on us.
Chris grinned pushing him back up on his feet.

Then Chris looked gently in my eyes and said,

“But you didn’t want to just hear the songs

did you? You wanted me to tell you
I love you person to person.”

I bowed my head and confessed,

“Yes.”

He said he was glad
to give me what I came for.

He hugged me
and told me he loved me.
I hugged him back.

A woman came
and told him he had to be interviewed

for some magazine
and he left.

I never saw him after that.

I went on with life
and through the years
I heard he’d burned out
and quit performing.
Then he was killed in a car wreck.

I won’t forget him
taking time
to sit with a scarred soul
needing something he had to give.

When I think of his face,
his calm eyes and sincere voice
singing his message to the world
and talking to me with that same gentleness

I recall a line from one of his songs,

“Love those who love you, fool.”

Follow the Journey

Discover Steve Jackson's latest work and read excerpts from his books, An Affair in the Valley, The Harbor and Wade in the Water.

Inspiration

Roses

The Spectacle

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