Thomas Madden is a poet with a strong interest in the relationship between poetry and other arts, especially music. He has found a statement by the English critic Walter Pater to be very influential for his work: "All art constantly aspires toward the condition of music." A native of Montana, Madden earned graduate degrees at the University of Montana, where he studied with the poet Richard Hugo, and at the University of Oregon. Prior to his retirement, he taught English, writing, and journalism at Eastern Oregon University for 25 years. Earlier in his career, Madden worked as a reporter for several newspapers, including The Oregonian. In addition to a number of scripts for short plays, he has written two books of poems. His first book of poems, Graves in Wheat, was published in 1998 by Ice River Press. His second poetry collection, Lessons for Custer, appeared in 2006 from Wordcraft of Oregon. Lessons for Custer was one of three finalists for the Western Writers of America Spur award in poetry in 2007. Madden recently completed a libretto for children's chorus and adult principals, tentatively titled Sunny Days, Rainy Days. He is also at work on a third collection of poems.
Facing the West Wind
Graves in Wheat: La Grande
Lessons for Custer: Third Lesson - He Meditates in the Schoolroom of the Grass