Alan Weltzien
The Snowpeaks
Alan Weltzien

I'm always captivated by the elegant, unaffected diction of Alan Weltzien's poetry.  Wherever his perspective may find itself, the imagery is fresh, the attitude is open and the language is uncluttered.  From the mountains of western Montana to the beaches of Mexico to the cafés of France to the streets and temples of Japan, Weltzien casually invites us to share in his compassionate take on experience.  Whether broad and sweeping, up close and personal or gently sardonic, the focus is always sharp and the voice is unassuming.
-Greg Keeler, author of Trashfish,
a memoir, and several books of poems.

From the book:

Running the Beaverhead River

For many years
I listen to river speech,
its soft l's and s's,
the music of lapping,
my steady exhales
a rhythm of chuffs.
I try to understand
its language, the sum
of its gurgles,
hear the water:
I am washed.

Occasionally a rock
rumbles or the cliffs
crack the river's
silence, echo northeast
then south,
all the way
past New Orleans.


Near Kyoto's art museum
at the bus stop we watch
three young officials,
museum employees, escort an
older gentleman into waiting taxi.

They bow deeply from the waist
again and again as the taxi
departs into the traffic lane,
then back away from the curb.
He never looks back.

I stare, imagine such reverence.
No polite head nods, these.  
Three pairs of eyes near
the flagstones as my eyes
confront such profound courtesy.

In this culture drenched in honor
their bows honor themselves, too.
Would I ever bend so far for anyone?

O. Alan Weltzien, a self-described "born-again poet," is a longtime English professor at the University of Montana Western, in Dillon, MT.  He has edited, co-edited, or authored half  a dozen books including a memoir, A Father and an Island: Reflections on Loss (Lewis-Clark Press, 2008), and his first book of poetry, To Kilimanjaro and Back (Stephen Austin University Press, 2011). Weltzien has taught a range of classes in American, western American, and Pacific Northwest and Montana literatures, in addition to nonfiction workshops and nature writing.  He is the recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships (Poland; Bulgaria) and one University of Montana International Faculty Award (Australia). Weltzien reads all the time and still likes to ski in winter and scramble mountains in summer.

The Snowpeaks is an 84 page hand-stitched paperbook with spine.   $16.00

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