David E. Thomas
David E. Thomas

Montana Poets Series #5
Craig Czury, Editor

With confident voice; concise and powerful lines, and a keen mind, the writings of David Thomas toil in the places where many contemporary American writers aren't skilled or experienced enough to venture. Thomas excavates the foundations for his writing where the nature writer and working class poet overlap. He fixes hard earned observations upon person or place, event or season, and applies his honed craft, staying until the job is well done.

With his latest collection, Waterworks Hill, we find a truly powerful sampling of one of America's premier writers. His mind picks up sandy WPA bricks, bleak boxcars, or Murphy's Lounge and builds them anew. Whether riding the Ecuadorian Railway or passing through the snowy mist in Hellgate Canyon, his vision is wide, encompassing, and invites us all to come along. Thomas watches where wind and water write on stone. See for yourself.
James Jay, author of The Journeymen

Dave Thomas, like his old visual artist friend, the late Jay Rummel, is a Montana original, a gift from the Hi-line to us refugees down in Missoula.  His poems create intimacy with all things without being sentimental.  He's in love with the grime and sweat of work done out doors amidst the beauty of rivers and a small pine growing in the shade, or being stuck at the dump; his sense of social justice is pricked by his travels into Latin America; his respect of and honor for his parents and family are the expression of the true rebel; his grief for lost friends and lovers contains the "silence / of chokecherries/ and talus."  He easily reminds us of an older, truer Montana alive in these sure-footed, hard-earned poems.  It's Saturday, and he's not on anybody's clock.  He'll take you there."
Roger Dunsmore, Author of You're Just Dirt

Dave Thomas invites you to lace up your boots, clean your glasses, and walk with him.  Don't miss this opportunity.  You'll work, drink, travel, and mourn-observe and celebrate the “moments” in life.  He is the blue-collared Zen master of the clear-eyed spare-form.  Dave's simple poems are simply as good as poetry gets.  They chronicle the daily joys and mysteries of this brief trip we're all on.
                    Mark Gibbons, author of blue horizon

From the Preface:

Waterworks Hill is the chronicle of a man who is simply walking around with a camera obscura in his gut, the anxious trampling / of buffalo in his heart / of time  murmurs  secrets / in unknown ears, having learned the lessons taught from the moon.
Craig Czury, Editor, Montana Poets Series
Reading, Pa.

From the book:


Slowly, slowly they all come
the weekend red
          in their eyes
the gandies return
from girlfriends
families and solitary drunks
          to bleak
          boxcars and Murphy's
the classic calendar shot
          of Marilyn Monroe
               above jukebox
cranking out country
               still only
a nickel a tune
stock wisecracks posted
               on the walls
Murph hardly ever talks
takes your quarter
          for a glass of beer
shuffles to the next room
a fishin' license
or an ice cream cone
               then back
for a game of pool
slowly, slowly they come on in
               the scent of high pine
and fir drifts over the evening
a wild tingle
in the cheap beer
before Monday morning
and five more days'
railroad sweat and grime.


The writing here
     by wind
and water
a message of time
into sandstone
to challenge
a wandering mind
     the Blackfeet
found these places
these stories
of rock
and glacial
draw heartbeats
into their shadows
          late spring
the Milk muddy
          and still
but higher
not long ago
in bloom
and leaves every
of green
this breeze
full of spirit
     and mid-day
(for Frank and Max)

David E. Thomas grew up on the Hi-Line in North-central Montana. He graduated from the University of Montana then found himself on the streets of San Francisco where he began his literary education. Economic realities drove him to work on railroad gangs, big construction projects like Libby Dam and other labor intensive jobs. He has traveled in the United States, Mexico and Central America. He has published three books of poems, Fossil Fuel, Buck's Last Wreck and The Hellgate Wind and has poems in the anthologies The Last Best Place and Poems Across The Big Sky and most recently New Poets of the American West. He currently lives in Missoula, Montana.

Waterworks Hill is a 72 page hand-stitched paper book with spine - $16.00

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