The Write Question

A weekly literary program from Montana Public Radio that features writers from the western United States.

The Write Question podcast

The Given World, by Marian Palaia
Simon & Schuster

For a long time, Marian Palaia wrote short stories, instead of a novel. Not because she didn't want to write a whole book, but because she was terrified: "It was such a huge undertaking and I thought you had to know what you were doing... "

'Willow Wind'

Jul 25, 2016
Lost Horse Press

by Henry Real Bird

In the willow wind
the feeling will begin
Life, liberty, and death
Democracy in our breath
Born of the dew, and soil
in the heart of our soul

From the backwaters, still waters
Tears of war and joy victory covers,

San Francisco Bay-area photographer Sue Reynolds and American Indian poet Victor Charlo talk about their book, Still Here: Not Living in Tipis.

In this first collaborative photo-poetry book between a white urban photographer and a reservation Indian, Sue Reynolds' images and Salish poet Victor Charlo's poems tell a story of resurrection in the face of long odds. The book includes forty-five color photos and five Salish poems. A percentage of sales goes to American Indian College Fund.

'Sweetness'

Jul 18, 2016
Joe Pell

by Mark Gibbons

Raven struts
Down the sidewalk

Tasting
The air

Shakes its
Tuxedo tail

Dips to clean
The cement

Caws to another
Combing the grass

Hop-Roaming
The plaza

They dance
The Caw-ca-doodle-doo

Tango like
Dada-dandy

Blue-black
Crow sisters

Waddle bumping
Big breasts

In a hornpipe
Dead heat

For some sticky
Big Hunk

Candy
Wrapper

Trinity University Press

About the book:

In Crossing the Plains with Bruno, Annick Smith weaves together a memoir of travel and relationship, western history and family history, human love and animal love centering around a two week road trip across the Great Plains she and 95 pound chocolate lab, Bruno, took in the summer of 2003. It is a chain of linked meditations, often triggered by place, about how the past impinges on the present and how the present can exist seemingly sans past.

Traveling from her rural homestead in Montana to pick up her nearly 100-year-old mother from her senior residence on Chicago’s North Side and bring her to the family’s beach house on a dune overlooking Lake Michigan, Smith often gets lost in memory and rambling contemplation. Bruno’s constant companionship and ever present needs force her to return to the actual, reminding her that she, too, is an animal whose existence depends on being alert to the scents, sights, hungers, and emotions of the moment.

Delacorte Books for Young Readers

This is Logan, here to tell you about Going where it’s Dark, a book for young adult readers written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

Going where it’s Dark by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is a very exciting book, and I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it. The main character is Buck Anderson, a thirteen-year-old boy who struggles with problems, including bullying and stuttering. He overcomes the bullying problem but instead of learning how to not stutter, he learns how to not fight it and be able to stutter more easily.

cover image: Kim Heacox / Alaska Northwest Books

About Jimmy Bluefeather:

Old Keb Wisting is somewhere around ninety-five years old (he lost count awhile ago) and in constant pain and thinks he wants to die. He also thinks he thinks too much. Part Norwegian and part Tlingit Native (“with some Filipino and Portuguese thrown in”), he’s the last living canoe carver in the village of Jinkaat, in Southeast Alaska.

Los Angeles Times and NPR film critic Kenneth Turan talks about and reads from his book Not To Be Missed: Fifty-Four Favorites from a Lifetime of Film.

Seal Press

Overwhelmed with her fast-paced, competitive lifestyle, Amy Ragsdale moved with her husband, writer Peter Stark, and their two teenage children from the U.S. to a small town in northeastern Brazil, where she hoped they would learn the value of a slower life.

'Burn'

Jun 27, 2016
Lost Horse Press

by Katrina Roberts

A tower of bales suddenly aflame in Yakima makes
news. Not dry enough, a static flash, indeterminate

cause, though vast lost. Next day, crisp grass beneath
the Ford so he slicks it off. But these things, like sparks

from exhaust—we understand them. What of the wick
effect, spontaneous combustion of human flesh: torso

and arms consumed; bare skull, lower legs intact, rooms
left relatively uncharred while the TV-watcher flares,

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