The Write Question

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

The Write Question podcast

"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!

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... "

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...

"Of All the Gifts She Ever Gave Him—"

Sep 21, 2015
Rune Guneriussen/Christine Holbert / Lost Horse Press

the empty lake, the static on the radio, the years
with missing handle bars—

the one that halfway fit him was the gloves.
He wore them all spring, then all summer, weeding

even by moonlight, relentless as a ghost,
as constant as the sky we ignore

'til geese fly south and give us a reason to look:
their sad, odd honking like the sound of our desire...

Of course, he was crazy;
all the couples on our street know that.

One morning we woke to the noise of him weeding
his house, uprooting the plumbing, uprooting

Jill Johnson / G.P. Putnam's Sons | Penguin Random House

New York Times–bestselling author of The Last Gunfight Jeff Guinn once again brings the Old West to life in Buffalo Trail, the grand follow-up to Glorious.
 

Fire Birds: Valuing Natural Wildfires and Burned Forests, by Sneed B. Collard III

Bucking Horse Books, 2015

It's been a hot and smoky summer here in Western Montana and most of us were grateful for the rain that eventually brought an end to our smoke-filled air. Those of us who grew up in the United States from the 1940s to the 1970s will remember the Forest Service's longest-running PSA campaign in history with the mascot of Smoky the Bear and the slogan, “Only you can prevent forest fires!”

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