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. 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 (Ohio State, 1998), The Flying Dutchman (Ohio State, 1987), Counting Survivors (Pittsburgh, 1995), Night Landings (Harper & Row, 1989), Rafting the Brazos (North Texas, 1988), After the Noise of Saigon (Massachusetts, 1988). 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).
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.
- McDonald, Walter. Climbing the Divide. Notre Dame: U of Notre Dame Press, 2003.
- McDonald, Walter. Great Lonely Places of the Texas Plains. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2003.
- McDonald, Walter. All Occasions. Notre Dame: U of Notre Dame Press, 2000.
- McDonald, Walter. Whatever the Wind Delivers: Celebrating West Texas and the Near Southwest. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 1999.
- McDonald, Walter. Blessings the Body Gave. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1998.
- McDonald, Walter. Counting Survivors. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh Press, 1995.
- McDonald, Walter. Where Skies Are Not Cloudy. Denton: U of North Texas Press, 1993.
- McDonald, Walter. All That Matters: The Texas Plains in Photographs and Poems. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 1992.
- McDonald, Walter. Night Landings. New York: HarperCollins, 1989.
- McDonald, Walter. After the Noise of Saigon. Amherst: U of Massachusetts Press, 1988.
- McDonald, Walter. Rafting the Brazos. Denton: U of North Texas Press, 1988.
- McDonald, Walter. The Flying Dutchman. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1987.
- McDonald, Walter. A Band of Brothers: Stories from Vietnam. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 1989.