Climbing the Divide
112 pages, 0.00 x 0.00
Paperback | 9780268022815 | April 2003
Hardcover | 9780268022808 | April 2003
"For years, I've wondered in amazement how Walt McDonald does what he does, poem after poem, book after book. He sings like no one else. In Climbing the Divide, McDonald has made his strongest collection of poems yet." —David Citino, author of The News and Other Poems
"Climbing the Divide must have been written with a pen Walt McDonald dipped into his heart. Crisscrossing generations, poems detail watching a grandfather with knuckles the size of walnuts carve a grizzly bear out of oak, taking car keys away from a father 'who drove tanks for Patton' and thinking about nights in the jungle of Vietnam while pushing a granddaughter in a swing because her father is training overseas for Desert Storm. Binding us to his Texas world in sensual detail about men with big-boned fists who inhabit a land where the moon pockmarks the sky, Walt McDonald refuses to let moments of communion be swallowed by 'war on every channel.' His poems stay lodged in the heart to remind us why we need to celebrate, even in a world that threatens to drown out song." —Vivian Shipley, author of When There Is No Shore
"I spent one whole amazing fall morning engrossed in this book. What impresses me most is the love and music and startling intelligence with which, for all of us, Walt McDonald charts the territory beyond mid-life." —Jeanne Murray Walker
The poems in Climbing the Divide celebrate with praise and amazement the wonders and risks of wilderness and family, of friends before and after the war. The boy in these poems grows up during World War II, feisty in spite of losses and the harsh, hardscrabble land where he lives. Surrounded by heroes, he learns ranching and faith from parents, extended family, and neighbors. In pilot training and war and back home with friends and memories of friends missing in action, he finds delight with his wife, who makes "magical hammocks at bedtime" for their children. Despite heartache and rage, they discover more hope and joy than they thought possible while growing older—jogging at 65 in winter, hiking grizzly country with bells, and "climbing the divide," knowing they're nearer each day to "the dark, hollow halo of space."
Walt McDonald is the author of nineteen collections of poetry and one book of fiction. More than 2,200 of his poems have been published in journals and magazines, including The American Scholar, The Atlantic Monthly, Boston Review, First Things, New York Review of Books, JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), London Review of Books, The Nation, The New Criterion, Poetry, and The Sewanee Review. McDonald served as Texas Poet Laureate in 2001 and as poetry editor for Texas Tech University Press from 1975 to 1995. He retired in May 2002 as Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of English and Poet in Residence at Texas Tech University.
"Like feathers, [McDonald’s] poems have both lightness and strength; he understands the poetic virtue of understatement and the human virtue of humility. These are not experimental poems; they are deeply, originally traditional, and just as deeply accomplished."—ForeWord