The Write Question

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

The Write Question podcast

Everything, Everything

by Nicola Yoon

Delacorte Press 2015

Madeline is allergic to everything. Literally. She has a rare disease that is a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency which requires her to remain in her environmentally controlled home at all times. Anyone who comes in has to go through a one-hour decontamination process, which means that the only people she sees are her mother, her nurse, Carla, and an occasional tutor.

Sara Habein and Tyson Habein / Nouveau Nostalgia

Saif Alsaegh was a young boy living in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 11, 2001. At the time, he and the other members of his family didn't even know where Afghanistan was. But they had been "under the influence of war" for many years. During this program he talks about war and the effects his experiences have had on his art — writing poetry, plays, and films. He also reads from his collection of poetry titled Iraqi Headaches and talks about attending college in Great Falls, Montana.

"Flying Toad"

Oct 26, 2015
James Walsh

Plastic bracelet signifies
unescorted minor. Fidgety
pre-teen assigned
to the seat beside me. Shuttled
twixt Dad's new life,
Mom and her boyfriend back home.
Up in the air.

There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight

by Penny Parker Klostermann

illustrated by Ben Mantle

Random House 2015

There can never be too many re-writings of “There was an old lady who swallowed a fly..” at least if you are preschool or early elementary age. And the repetition of the familiar pattern with unexpected elements makes this first picture book by Penny Parker Klostermann fun for kids and adults alike.

"Raindreams"

Oct 19, 2015
Tony Alter

Tent collapsed.
Greg's eyes wide:
Oh shit I'm sleeping in water.
Our light tries, but dies.
Pound stake with shoe!
(The ground resists—it's the Rocky Mountain Front.)

Nylon wall hold wind at a distance,
a boat carrying our sleepy heads
through familiar smells of old records,
hidden cigarettes, sweaty coins from the '50s when...
an invisible lizard climbs up my neck,
scurries through my hair to the base of my skull.

Over in the Wetlands: A Hurricane-on-the-Bayou Story

by Caroline Starr Rose & Rob Dunlavey

Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015

“Over in the wetlands

where the silky mist weaves,

Dragonfly lights on a slender reed.

"A Quiet Poem About Marital Sex"

Oct 12, 2015
Christine Holbert / Lost Horse Press

Put your fire to my forest
and pour on oil.

Your gasoline to the struck tip
of the waiting match

and I will stop whatever I'm doing
because in a minute you and I will burn down the world.

Set fire to the pipeline!
See the winter melt in less than sixty seconds,

all the wells of the glittering earth ignite
from underground at once in a thousand sites

and in a thousand cities the beacon fires on the fortified walls
say, We've won!

The gates won't wait for dawn!
They open now!

Field Trip

by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen

Wendy Lamb Books 2015

Gary Paulsen first teamed up with his son Jim Paulsen to write Road Trip in 2013, in which teenage Ben Duffy and his father head off on a road trip with the family dog, Atticus to rescue a border collie. The rescued pup, Conor, joins the crew in this companion book, which takes place as Ben is trying to convince his parents to let him go to boarding school at a hockey academy.

"Song, with Angus

Oct 5, 2015

The cat with his underbite looks like a bony old man
without teeth. Not
Grendel who tortures blind rodents and once
that rabbit, meek
as Christ.

Vincent and the Night

by Adele Enersen

Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015

Vincent is an infant, portrayed in color photographs on every page of this delightful picture book. His surroundings are depicted in pen and ink drawings.

“One evening, Vincent decided he didn't want to go to bed. The night was rolling in like a woolly black blanket, ready to tuck him in...”

And as it does, Vincent takes hold of a thread of that woolly blanket that is the night and begins to unravel it! He uses the thread to construct new images: a cat, a violin, musical notes that transform into flies...

Pages