Life List: Poems

A 2020 Honor Winner by the Montana Book Award. Includes the poem “25 Bears” – finalist for the 2020  Spur Award for Best Poem. Available from Riverfeet Press.

“Passionate yet mature, this is Beaudin’s most inspired and finest work.” –Rick Bass, author of For a Little While


“Exquisite and full of life like the birds themselves. In each poem we find clarity and compassion as we stand on the razor-edge of uncertainty. –Terry Tempest Williams, author of Erosion

I’m over-the-loon [sic] excited to be bringing you this collection of poems with over 20 stunning monotypes by Storrs Bishop and an introduction by J. Drew Lanham. This has been an incredible journey of going deep into what birds mean to me, as well as how they connect with my beliefs about our relationships (and responsibilities) to the earth, to each other, to the wild spaces both in the world and within ourselves.

It has also been a journey into my convictions about what poetry is, and how a poem is made. I spent a lot of time breaking things down to their foundations, questioning what tools and building techniques I was using, and discovering new ways to hear the music of a poem. I really hope you will enjoy the results.

“This is a powerful, creative, and environmentally grounded work. Beautiful and exquisite in its celebration of flight and how wilderness works its way into our blood and bones and calls us to something transcendent.”
Shann Ray, author of American Copper and Blood Fire Vapor Smoke

Here’s a little more about the project:

Life List, by Marc Beaudin, is a collection of 74 poems that explores the poet’s question, “What is the soul if not the sum on the flights of a thousand birds?” Arranged like a field guide, the book is divided into regional sections with each poem featuring a different bird selected from Beaudin’s own life list (currently at 376 species). As he writes in his author’s note: “For many years, crows, herons and other avian species have flown through my poetry, adding their voices and flashes of light to my vain attempts to render in language the precarious circumstances of being alive.” The book includes several monotypes by Montana artist Storrs Bishop, and features an introduction by J. Drew Lanham author of The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature.

“A crucial effort to lift us all into loving consciousness by way of the sheer beauty of the natural world.” – William Heyen, author of The Candle: Poems of our 20th Century Holocausts

More reviews and acclaim for Life List

Order now from Riverfeet Press

You can also support these wonderful local, independent stores who carry Life List:

Elk River Books, Livingston, Montana

Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, Montana
Fact & Fiction, Missoula, Montana
Montana Book Company, Helena, Montana
This House of Books, Billings, Montana
Back of Beyond Books, Moab, Utah
Reading Leaves, Townsend, MT
Common Sense Books, Townsend, MT
Wheatgrass Books & Gifts, Livingston, MT
The Frame Garden, Livingston, Montana
High Trash Boutique, Livingston, Montana
Schnee’s, Bozeman, Montana
Glacier Park Trading Company, East Glacier, Montana

[Indies: if you carry Life List but aren’t listed here, please let me know. If you’d like to carry it, order from PGW through Ingram or visit my publisher, Riverfeet Press.]

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Vagabond Song


“Here is a poet’s road trip, tracing the blue highways with a dazzling prose that keeps us belted in for the fast passage – a firm anchor of raven, woodlands and the fractured moon on the lake at night. We should all take strength from his impressive traverse.”
Doug Peacock, author of Grizzly Years

“Is there such a thing as free-range literature?
I think there is and I think this is it. These lovely, spirited, freewheeling trip logs are charged with the poetry of motion.”
Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air

Available from Elk River Books:
Paperback – $15
Limited edition, signed & numbered hardcover – $30

Print-on-demand paperback also available at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
Ebooks available:




“A poet’s song to the rewards of wandering and joy of the highway. It’s a bracing tonic and one this sorry, sad-assed, gadget-obsessed nation needs to hear again and again.” –William Hjortsberg, author of Jubilee Hitchhiker: The Life and Times of Richard Brautigan

From a beer carton full of rain-blurred and spine-broken journals come these tales of the road, trail and barstool. Setting out from a writing cabin outside of Grayling, Michigan, Beaudin casts him thumb into the waters of M-72 — returning to the music of the open road. Inspired by Bashō’s haibun classics such as Narrow Road to the Deep North and Records of a Weather-Exposed Skeleton, these nine movements, with their accompanying interludes and caesurae, span over a decade of traveling the highways and byways of numerous countries both on and off the map. Through all the years and all the trips, the direction is the same: Beyond.

“Beaudin is a cat in his own category of howl & highway hymn. It’s our luck that he’s made a book that will persist in our minds as a classic companion of blue moonways & on-the-road travels with Charlie.” – from the foreword by William Heyen, author of Crazy Horse and the Custers

The book includes cover art and interior sketches by well-known Montana artist Edd Enders.

Click below to read the first chapter:


“This is the kind of book parents will hide from their graduating children, but which will be found nonetheless.” – Rick Bass, author of Winter: Notes From Montana



“Beaudin intertwines expansive and lyric passages as he weaves his personal narrative, and he has plenty to say about history and politics, about religion, mythology and the spiritual curiosity that drives him.”Tami Haaland, poet laureate of Montana

Highway 89

Click to read about all the stops on the Hundred Highways Tour.

E-mail Marc to schedule a reading, signing, review or interview.

“What a roadsong! No matter where I opened the book, I was drawn into the bright moment of the journey. Only a poet could fashion such a book.” – Tamarack Song, author of Journey to the Ancestral Self, director of Teaching Drum Outdoor School

Note to booksellers: Paperback edition is available from the publisher, Elk River Books at the standard trade discount. Also available through Ingram. ISBN: 978-0-9863040-1-9. Please e-mail for assistance.

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Where I Was Born: a Reflection on Indigenous Peoples Day

I was born in Bay City, Michigan, in a hospital located on a street named for a gold-hungry mass-murderer of the Taino People. I grew up in a house of skeleton keys with a backyard climbing tree and an overgrown alley as my first wilderness.

Before it was Bay City, it was Lower Saginaw.

Before it was Lower Saginaw, it was John Riley’s Reserve, in Michigan Territory.

Before it was Michigan Territory, it was a British held territory. Before that, part of New France.

But before that, it was Mishi-Anishinaabaki, “Greater Anishinaabe Land.”

On this Indigenous Peoples Day, I honor the many nations of First Peoples upon whose lands I have spent my life. In my 50-plus years, I have lived on the lands of the Ojibwa, Lakota, Mayan, and Crow Nations. These lands were acquired by the United States and Mexico through often disingenuously negotiated treaties, wars of expansion, massacres, germ warfare waged against non-combatants and outright theft.

My birthplace is Anishinaabe/Ojibwa land in what is now called Michigan (coming from the Anishinaabe michaagami, “big lake”). Much of the area was ceded to the United States by the Ojibwa in the 1819 Treaty of Saginaw; although Lewis Cass’ methods of getting the signatories addicted to alcohol, then bribing them with barrels of whiskey to sign the document would most likely render the treaty void in a fair court. Additionally, the negotiations were mostly forced upon the Ojibwa as punishment for siding with the British in the War of 1812.

The area of what became my birthplace of Bay City was not part of this treaty. This land was held in reserve for an Ojibwa named John Riley, the son of Menawcumegoqua. However, within weeks of Michigan becoming a state in 1837, a new treaty transferred this land (and other reserves) to the United States. It doesn’t appear that Riley, the legal possessor of the land, was party to the negotiations, nor signed the treaty.

The incomparable wealth in natural resources and land, combined with the free labor of enslaved Africans, is what gave the United States its ability to become one of the richest and most powerful empires in history. As European Americans, we were mostly taught that it was natural that we had so much land, wealth and power, or that God willed it, or that good old American ingenuity and work-ethic created it. None of that is true. We have what we have and are what we are due to the theft, genocide and enslavement perpetrated by our forebears.

I believe that if we can face this truth, we can heal. We can make amends. We can move forward. Until then, we will be a nation carrying the grave burden and illness of our original sin. Today, Indigenous Peoples Day, is a great place to start.

Chi miigwetch.

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