Tim McNulty’s third poetry collection explores the universal themes of family, friendship, work, and solitude, all within the larger context of the natural world.
For McNulty that world embraces the mountains, rivers, forests, and coastlines of the Pacific Northwest where he has made his home for more than four decades. McNulty’s clear voice and attentive eye bring the people, landscapes, and creatures that inhabit these poems vividly to life.
From a shallow ledge on the cliff face,
a delicate columbine blossom
and wind-shook sprays of saxifrage
show us the way:
as the ground slips and rises beneath us.
from “The Way to Windy Ridge”
After a historic photograph by Ellis Morigeau
When a wild chinook thrashes the air
above Kettle Falls,
the coiled spring of its body
ripples with the surge of 700 river miles
The river pours its thunder
between striate seabottom rocks:
a glassy tongue imploding into whiteness.
To the salmon it is a beckoning arm.
There is no human gesture so fervent
—this long journey inland—
no effort so seamlessly one with its element.
The river’s story, descending
through epochs of ice and stone,
coalesces in the salmon’s momentary flight.
The salmon’s heart
is the river’s heart made flesh.
The salmon’s flight, a pulse.
Ours is the wisdom to see them both
as one; power to power joined:
one borne by a wisdom all its own
Tim McNulty is a poet, essayist, conservation activist, and nature writer. He was born and grew up in Connecticut’s Quinnipiac River Valley and attended Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts at Boston. There he met poet Denise Levertov who inspired him with her powerful fusion of visionary poetics and political activism. Tim traveled throughout the West after college and settled on the Olympic Peninsula in 1972. He lives with his wife, Mary Morgan, in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains above the Dungeness and Graywolf rivers. A passionate spokesman for the wild, Tim remains active in the Northwest environmental community.
Tim’s poems, essays, criticism, and articles on nature and conservation have appeared in numerous publications in the U.S. and abroad. His natural history writings have been translated into German, Chinese, and Japanese. He reads, lectures, teaches, and conducts workshops throughout the Northwest.
Tim is the author of nine books of poetry and eleven books of natural history. He has coauthored, with photographer Pat O’Hara, an award-winning series of books on national parks. Tim’s Olympic National Park: A Natural History, which won the Washington Governor’s Writers Award, has just been reissued in a new revised edition by the University of Washington Press. His Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park, which won the National Outdoor Book Award, is available from The Mountaineers Books. Tim’s poetry is available from Pleasure Boat Studio: A Literary Press.
For more on Tim McNulty, and to discover more of his books: http://timmcnultypoet.com/