Walking with Dr. MacDonald

What’s a better way to spend a Saturday morning than walking through the bosque listening to poetry? The answer: walking through the bosque listening to poetry written by Dr. Spree MacDonald.

Spree is this month’s featured poet in an event aptly titled, “Walking with Poets.” The event is hosted by the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program (APLP). This program “celebrates poetry by recognizing a resident poet who makes meaningful connections, honors and serves our diverse community, elevates the importance of the art form, and shares poetry with Albuquerque residents.” 

This upcoming walk will be the first that Spree will be leading, but he hopes it won’t be his last. The walk is open to the public on Saturday, February 29 from 10 am–1:30 pm. It will take place at Bosque School and will start at the gravel parking lot on the north side of the school. The goal of having this particular walk to is to have everyone who attends leave with their own bosque-inspired poem (or, at least, a draft of a poem).

Spree plans on sharing poetry that connects the bosque to another river that inspired his poems from his past home in Louisiana. He also would like to share poems from other international and local poets. 

Spree discovered poetry at a very young age and grew up writing his own poems. “In college, I took a lot of poetry-writing workshops, although I had a real skepticism about being able to make a life as an artist of any kind. I think that’s partially because my mom is a writer and my dad is a musician, but they always had to do other things on the side,” Spree disclosed. “I think I had a sensitive awareness.”

There were times in his life when the time he spent writing poetry ebbed and flowed, but his passion for the writing form never died. In graduate school, he spent most of his time writing about other people’s poetry, instead of writing his own.This was a turning point for him when he realized he wanted to have the ability and time to focus on his own writing. “It’s a big reason why I went back to teaching high school. I love teaching and it’s a state of reality where I’m able to teach and write. It’s allowed me to keep my poetry away from my professional life,” said Spree. 

As a Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa, Spree was exposed to different approaches to life. He says that poetry is like traveling—seeing the nuances of life in a different way. The aspect of poetry that he most enjoys is, “Being able to explore the unknown and be playful with language and reality. I don’t write realism often. I tend to have a strong desire to rethink what is possible in terms of language and reality. My poems tend to verge on surrealism in a way.”

“It’s interesting to read poetry and feel like you’re engaging in a tradition that goes back forever, even before the written word.” Be a part of this tradition with Spree, and walk through the bosque with him and his poetry.