Making the Arrows: Collected Poems 1970-2015

 
9780997081305: Making the Arrows: Collected Poems 1970-2015

Jim McLeod has spent his career teaching at colleges and universities in Idaho and Washington. His poems have appeared in publications including Washington State University Press’s Deep Down Things: An Anthology of Inland Northwest Poetry. His creative life has been enriched by friendships with a number of fellow poets, among them the Pacific Northwest’s Richard Hugo and Scotland’s Somhairle MacGill-Eain. Like many others, he has been deeply influenced by Theodore Roethke, the subject of several of his scholarly publications. But Jim is no ivory tower academic. These poems ranging from the lyrical to the farcical reflect his wildly eclectic enthusiasms and experiences. The son of an orphan, he has spent his life reclaiming his family’s lost heritage in Scotland. He relishes local folklore and has written a book on lake monster legends. He and his wife and colleague Judith Sylte, editor of this collection, have led years of study tours to Scotland, Greece and Turkey and happily traipse around remoter corners of the globe. Friends and family know him as an all-round infomaniac whose profligate curiosity fills dozens of notebooks with facts and ideas on everything under the sun. McLeod is candid about his personal struggle with manic depression and alcohol, which colors a number of the poems. They reveal him as a shapeshifter, a Houdini of moods. He wrestles with hard choices and personal losses, wryly or angrily reacts to events in the news, and laughs at life’s comic absurdities. He is a father and a lover. Tender in one poem, playful the next, he is also the irrepressible cornball whose young granddaughters fondly dubbed him “The Jokester.”

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About the Author:

Spokane native James R. McLeod (b. 1942) studied at the University of Washington and Eastern Washington University. He has taught writing and literature at North Idaho College as well as Lewis-Clark State College, the University of Idaho, and Chapman University’s campus at U.S. Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. His academic research and publications have focused on legendary Northwest poet and teacher Theodore Roethke, who deeply influenced him. McLeod believes poetry is for everyone, not just stuffy academics, tortured souls or lovestruck romantics. As a result he was the founder and longtime director of North Idaho’s creative writing program and co-founded the inland Northwest’s popular Poets in the Schools outreach. In these roles he worked closely with other regional writers and became lifelong friends with many. He was best man at the wedding of Montana’s preeminent poet Richard Hugo, another of his creative fathers. His poems have appeared in literary magazines and Washington State University Press’s Deep Down Things: An Anthology of Inland Northwest Poetry. McLeod (whose father grew up in a Spokane orphanage knowing nothing of his family’s roots in Scotland’s western isles) has had a lifelong drive to reclaim his family’s lost history and rich Gaelic heritage. On first meeting Somhairle MacGill-Eain (Sorley MacLean, 1911-1996), greatest Scots Gaelic poet of the 20th century, whom he had long esteemed, McLeod was delighted to find they were close kin from the same small island. MacLean has been another lasting influence. Poetry aside, McLeod has traveled extensively in Scotland, published articles on Hebridean history, and directed North Idaho’s Scottish Studies Program. An avid regional folklorist, he authored a popular book on lake monster legends. He and his wife, colleague Judith Sylte (m. 1982), have led numerous study tours to Scotland, Greece and Turkey, and they continue to traipse enthusiastically around the globe’s remoter corners. McLeod grew up in Spokane, spent his university years in Seattle, and much of his career in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He and his wife moved to Washington’s Whidbey Island in 2000, and since 2010 have resided near Puget Sound at Richmond Beach, just north of Seattle. They have four adult children and seven grandkids.

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James R. McLeod
Published by Wordcraft (2015)
ISBN 10: 0997081309 ISBN 13: 9780997081305
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