A collection of 43 poems and two essays by Richard Mack of La Grande is designed to be read by anyone who enjoys the landscape of the west and the people who live there. The volume is titled "Against a Western Sky."

Mark Highberger of Wallowa's Bear Creek Press did the layout and printing of the book, but it was published by Rich's own Windwhistle Press. "Without Mark, this probably wouldn't have happened," Mack said.

Mack is a former professor of education at Eastern Oregon University and, more recently was an elementary school principal in Elgin for five years and a principal in Hermiston for seven years until 2003. He has been retired for two years, but is now working on educational grants for EOU. He and his wife, Margo, own Windwhistle Stables and Arena in La Grande.

Mack has been writing and publishing poetry in newspapers and literary journals over the past 25 years. This new book is a collection of some previously published poems as well as some new work.

The book is available for $9.95 at The Bookloft in Enterprise or Sunflower Books in La Grande.

Having this volume published is somewhat akin to having a child leave home. You have done the best that you can ..... but when the child/book leaves your hand you think of all the things that you wish you had said and done," Rich said of his book. "You just hope that others see the beauty and the sense in what you have done. It boils down to a mix of pride and hope."

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