The Write Question

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

Montana Then And Now

Jul 16, 2014

Hear fascinating facts about Montana's 150 years as a territory and a state during this interview with Aaron Parrett, author of Montana Then And Now.

"In A Field"

Jul 14, 2014

Here, in a field
Of devil's paintbrushes,
The circle of far trees
Tightens, and near bushes
Hump like ruins
When the moon floats loosely
Past the desolation
Owl moans wake. Here,
As if the world's
Last lovers, we
Have rung from the ruins
The whippoorwill's
Thrust of melody.
You have fallen asleep,
Breathing as the wind breathes
Among wetted thistle,
The scented vine,
And, listening, I move
My body toward you,
When a small convulsion
Shakes your hand,
The moonlight flashes

Laura Pritchett talks about and reads from Stars Go Blue, a novel in which a Colorado rancher and his wife deal with his diagnosis of Alzheimer's.

"To Carry Water"

Jul 7, 2014

There is the bird beak's way
and the way of the woman with child.

The eye's way
and the way of the well bucket.

The oak tree's way is not unlike that
of the cloud or the long dry summer it was

When the birdsong stopped,
and the woman stood tiptoe

looking down the well. Perched
on the handle of an unstrung pail, a wren

fluttered its wings without note. A leaf
floated, sinking slowly as the pail:

the rust holes, the caterpillar-chewed,
sipping in the weight of last year's skies.

TWQ producer Chérie Newman, Barbara Theroux, manager of Fact & Fiction Bookstore in Missoula, and Zed talk about recently-published books by authors from the western U.S.

NONFICTION

How To Read the American West:  A Field Guide, by William Wycokoff

Hiking Montana:  35th Anniversary Edition, by Bill Schneider an Russ Schneider

"Jada"

Jun 30, 2014

Are you frickin' kidding me?
Yes, Jada, woman, sister, yes
I am. Smile, Jada, there is more
to laugh at than you know.

In Haida, you pronounce the J.
Jada. It means woman. It says
sister, and in this matriarchal culture
gone to hell in a hand basket or a highbrow
hat that one woman remembers how to weave,
it is one hell of a handle, hell
for a fifteen year old to handle. Jada
who in the hell were they frickin kidding
when they named you?

Newspaper columnist and Montana rancher, Richard Geary, talks about rural culture then and now, and reads some of his essays.

Richard Geary is the eldest of the fourth generation to operate the family ranch in Helmville, Montana. The property was homesteaded by his great grandfather in 1867, and the original farm in Ireland is still in the family.  Richard acts as bookkeeper for the ranch, while his brother is responsible for the actual management. 

"Pow-wow Fever"

Jun 23, 2014

In a few days it strikes
Everyone in Indian Country,
Be Canada or wherever.

Drums vibrating,
The high pitched tones carry a chant.

Laughter of children,
Whispering of lovers,
Not too old or young to join.
Tipis, tents, campers and trailers
Stand symbolic as the sun sets.

The night carries many songs:
Contests, 49's, doorway songs and
owl songs,
"I will take you home,
in my one-eyed Ford!"

Jungle of Bones, a children's novel by Ben Mikaelsen
WWII bomber, Papau New Guinea, children's book, Montana author

Children's author Ben Mikaelsen talks about his inspiration for Jungle of Bones and reads from the novel.

About the Book:

Dylan gets caught taking a joyride in a stolen car and shipped off to live with his ex-Marine uncle for the summer. But Uncle Todd has bigger plans for Dylan than just early-morning jogs.

"This Morning"

Jun 16, 2014

“Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?”
                                    – Roethke

It’s time. It’s almost too late.
Did you see the magnolia light its pink fires?
You could be your own, unknown self.
No one is keeping it from you.

The magnolia lights its pink fires
daffodils shed papery sheaths.
No one is keeping you from it—
your church of window, pen and morning.

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