Man is seemingly insignificant when measured against the extensive plains of Texas. The vast open space combined with an unforgiving climate is overwhelming. However, Walter McDonald paints a different picture with his evocative plains poetry. His final lines in the last poem in this book provide the title for this remarkable collection: "where we live, only brown earth and sky and in between, all that matters".
I have not lived on the Texas plains, but with a son attending Texas Tech in Lubbock I have traveled frequently across the Texas panhandle. We have driven a hundred back roads stretching across the sparsely settled, eroded flatlands, seeing the occasional windmill, a few scattered cattle, miles of barb wire fencing, and isolated farms and ranches. (And unexpectedly, we also encountered endless miles of trenching to accommodate fiber optics cable.) We have hiked and camped in Palo Duro Canyon and Canyon State Park. We have come to enjoy this vast land and the people that call it home.
Walter McDonald is one of the best poets in America today. This collection warrants reading again and again. Janet Neugebauer, an archivist for the extensive Southwest Collection, worked with McDonald to match historic photos to his perceptive poetry. These haunting photos are housed in a history research center on the campus of Texas Tech.
"It is wind, not rain, dry cattle need." I suspect that many urban dwellers, like me, have never realized this truth. McDonald's poetry is clearly regional poetry, and yet it is much more. The landscape of Texas appears foreign and intimidating to the visitor, and this strangeness could have been the subject of this collection. The poetry of Walter McDonald, however, focuses on the people that live in this harsh environment, a people that have come to love life on the great plains. This is poetry about people that you will long remember.
- Publisher: Texas Tech Univ Pr (1 October 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0896722910
- ISBN-13: 978-0896722910
- Product Dimensions: 19 x 1.9 x 21 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 159 g
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