Nebraska Center for Writers

Chimney Rock What the Critics Say
About Walt McDonald


After the Noise of Saigon
Copyright © 19
by Walter McDonald
U of Masschussetts P, 1988

Walter McDonald's poems are records of human endurance in hard times and harsh places. Without bitterness, but with a wondering sorrow, he writes of the hardscrabble part of Texas where he grew up, and he writes also of Southeast Asia, where he served .... The disturbing juxtaposition of these two frontiers — distant, and in such different ways inhospitable — is one of the most striking features of the book. McDonald understands the survivor's sense of guilt and continuing jeopardy; his war veterans and cowboys, his pilots and his rodeo fool haunt us with the ironic ordinariness of their heroism. — Robert B Shaw

All That Matters
Copyright © 1992
by Walter McDonald
Texas Tech UP

Ever since discovering Walter McDonald's work, I've been moved by its evocation of the spirit of his native West Texas plains — their climate and topography and natural life, their spaciousness and sometimes starkness, and the way all these things interweave with people and history and lore. Intelligent, sensitive, perceptive, and uncomplaining, this man knows not only who but where he is, and in a quietly masculine way, with clean, strong, unsentimental words and images, he celebrates that whereness. — John Graves

Walter McDonald is one of the best poets in America, and there is no better place to encounter his work than in this haunting album of words and pictures. His poems, and the photographs that accompany them, are stark and moody and strong. Together, they do honor to the landscape of the Texas Plains, to a region that McDonald unforgettably describes as "a thousand miles of parchment / under the will of heaven." — Stephen Harrigan

Blessings the Body Gave
Copyright © 1998
by Walter McDonald
Ohio State UP

The moral landscape to which David Citino refers is informed by the experience of war. These poems deal with the loss of Walt McDonald's father in World War II as well as with his own experiences in Vietnam. They tell of living with the memories of war, of celebrating and coping with the fact of survival, in the context of love of one's family in a place at once harsh and beautiful. — from the jacket

McDonald once again looks keenly, as only he can, at all four horizons of his seemingly limitless Texas landscape .... Poem by poem we share this poet's acute sense of place. This is the American West, and McDonald a realist who sites his poems in a moral landscape amid the steers and hawks and barbed-wire fences and Stetsons. — David Citino

Counting Survivors
Copyright © 1995
by Walter McDonald
U of Pittsburgh P

A calm turbulence stirs beneath the textured surface of Walter McDonald's Counting Survivors, and we realize the speakers are witnesses, that we are lucky to share their moments of terror and beauty .... There aren't any jagged edges to these highly crafted poems, and they give us a resounding clarity that takes us from Saigon to the semirural Southwest. — Yusef Komunyakaa

The Digs in Escondido Canyon
Copyright © 1991
by Walter McDonald
Texas Tech UP

Nobody has ever written better poetry about Texas than Walt McDonald." — Andrew Hudgins

Night Landings
Copyright © 1989
by Walter Mcdonald
Harper & Row

Walter McDonald is a truly human voice speaking from the air. These are remarkable poems, written from the vision of a man sustained by machinery in terror and exhilaration above the planet. The experience of McDonald's words is as unique as flight itself. — James Dickey

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