Stirring : A Literary Collection

Walt McDonald


Tapping a blast for tourists
dawdling in Glacier Park, the Amtrak from Seattle
rumbles, a dull deep bass,

gathering itself for the steep grade
winding by the Flathead to Marias Pass.
What easy, scenic tunnels, now,
what curves. No railroader died

last year, not ten in twenty years,
not like dozens decades ago,
blasting Montana granite.
Riflemen stood by like wardens,

guarding the men from grizzlies.
Boarding at last for Chicago,
connections to St. Louis or Dallas,
twenty people in tweeds and silk

take turns shouting goodbye
to hosts who own hotels
or ranches with beef and buffalo
hotels serve. Grizzlies still roam

the forest, all but unlucky ones
that startle and stalk joggers
or maul a hiker not from Montana,
bear hunted down with dogs,

most often a clean shot
through the heart, mounted
down in Kalispell, sold to someone
from Seattle, Texas, Illinois.

Walt McDonald
Photo by: Arte Limmer
Date of Birth: July 18
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Publications: American Poetry Review, The Atlantic Monthly, London Review of Books, New York Review of Books, Poetry, Stirring V3:E7, etc.
Books: Eighteen collections of poems and a book of fiction, including All Occasions (University of Notre Dame Press, 2000), Blessings the Body Gave (Ohio State, 1998), Counting Survivors (Pittsburgh, 1995), Night Landings (Harper & Row, 1989), and After the Noise of Saigon (Massachusetts, 1988)
Awards: Texas Poet Laureate for 2001; the Juniper Prize (University of Massachusetts Press); George Elliston Poetry Prize for The Flying Dutchman (Ohio State University Press and University of Cincinnati); four Western Heritage Awards from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame; six awards from the Texas Institute of Letters, including the Lon Tinkle Memorial Award for Excellence Sustained Throughout a Career; two NEA fellowships

Stirring : A Literary Collection

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