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All Occasions cover
  • ISBN: 9780268020064
  • ISBN10: 026802006X

All Occasions

by Walter McDonald

  • List Price: $12.95
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Univ of Notre Dame Pr
  • Publish date: 09/01/2000
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Award-winning poet Walt McDonald is well known for the skill with which he is able to transform ordinary language into poetry. In this, his eighteenth volume of poetry, McDonald returns to familiar explorations of his native Texas landscape and the struggle to integrate wartime experiences into the rest of life.

The 65 poems in All Occasions are about a boy who later flies as an Air Force pilot, who marries a woman so lovely and loving he's stunned, who goes home after a war and discovers with friends and family what John Donne meant in one Christmas sermon: "All occasions invite His mercies, and all times are His seasons". The poems celebrate the wonder and need of all occasions, the heartache and longing and joy of being alone or loved -- in war, in a cockpit at 40,000 feet, riding the range on a mustang, or in the arms of family.

In "Carrion Comfort", Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote about "That night, that year / of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God". In Part 2 of All Occasions, McDonald experiences that struggle in Vietnam and discovers over swift decades how deeply he needs friends, family, and God.

Each individual poem is finely crafted, and together they comprise a powerful narrative. Masterful and wise, All Occasions is Walt McDonald at his best and his most affirmative.

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8vo, 101 pp., Review copy with press release laid-in.