Walter McDonald, Papers, 1951-2003 and undated

Now Available

This collection contains materials related to the career of Walter Robert “Walt” McDonald as a poet and writer.  It is organized by types of materials such as classroom materials, literary materials, personal materials and printed material.  The printed materials consist of publications where his written works have appeared.  They are in chronological order.  Some student publications in the form of thesis and dissertations are also part of printed materials. The classroom materials refer to items used while Dr. McDonald taught at the Texas Tech University.  The literary materials contains original drafts of written works, reviews, and correspondence with publishers.

Born on July 18, 1934 in Lubbock, Texas, Walter Robert (Walt) McDonald is Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of English and Poet in Residence at Texas Tech University. After graduating from Lubbock High School, he received his B.A. (1956) and M.A. (1957) from Texas Technological College. While on active duty as a pilot in the U. S. Air Force, he received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Iowa in 1966.

McDonald served as a pilot and career officer in the U. S. Air Force from 1957-1971, retiring as a major. He taught at the U. S. Air Force Academy from 1960-1962, at which time the Air Force sent him to the University of Iowa for his doctorate. He returned to the Academy and taught English from 1965-1971, except for a brief tour of duty in Vietnam in 1969-1970. Professor McDonald joined the Texas Tech faculty in 1971 and is scheduled to retire at the end of May 2002.

Walt served as Texas State Poet Laureate for 2001. He has published eighteen collections of poems and a book of fiction, including All Occasions (University of Notre Dame Press, 2000), Blessings the Body Gave, and The Flying Dutchman (Ohio State, 1998, 1987), Counting Survivors (Pittsburgh, 1995), Night Landings (Harper & Row, 1989), Rafting the Brazos (North Texas, 1988), and After the Noise of Saigon (Massachusetts, 1988).

Texas Tech University Press published A Band of Brothers: Stories from Vietnam in 1989, and five of his books of poems, including All That Matters: The Texas Plains in Photographs and Poems (new and selected poems, with photographs selected by Janet M. Neugebauer, 1992), and Whatever the Wind Delivers: Celebrating West Texas and the Near Southwest (new and selected poems, with photographs selected by Janet M. Neugebauer, 1999).

He has published over 2,100 poems in journals and collections including American Poetry Review, The American Scholar, The Atlantic Monthly, First Things, The Georgia Review, Image, JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), London Review of Books, The Nation, New York Review of Books, Orion, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, The Sewanee Review, The Southern Review, and Stand Magazine (UK).

Walt has received four Western Heritage Awards from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame; two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships; and six awards from the Texas Institute of Letters, including the Lon Tinkle Memorial Award for Excellence Sustained Throughout a Career.

He was named Texas Professor of the Year in 1992 by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Since 1999, he has served as Poet Laureate of Lubbock. Among other awards he received at Texas Tech are the President's Excellence in Teaching Award; the President's Academic Achievement Award; the Faculty Distinguished Research Award (Barnie E. Rushing, Jr., Award); the El Paso Energy Foundation Faculty Achievement Award; and, from the Ex-Students Association, the Texas Tech Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Native Texans, Walt and his wife Carol have three children and seven grandchildren.

The collection can be accessed at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library during opening hours.