Chérie Newman

Arts and Culture Producer

Chérie Newman is an arts and humanities producer and on-air host for Montana Public Radio, and a freelance writer. Her weekly literary program, The Write Question, is broadcast on several public radio stations, and available online at PRX.org and MTPR.org.

Her articles, essays, and book reviews have been published in Montana Magazine, High Country News, the University of Montana Alumni Newsletter, Whitefish Review, the Billings Gazette, the Missoulian, Montana Senior News, Outside Bozeman Magazine, and on numerous websites.

Ways to Connect

A type of music called “Americana” has been played in Montana for more than two centuries (that we know of) beginning with the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Aaron Parrett, author of a new book Montana Americana Music: Boot Stomping in Big Sky Country, says " The Corps of Discovery had a high percentage of people of Indian extraction along with them. I think it’s a half or two-thirds were Métis Indian, including Pierre Cruzatte, one of the fiddlers (there were two). And he played a lot of what we would now recognize probably as Métis fiddle tunes."

Chérie Newman: But what, exactly, is Americana music?

As Evelynne Lowry, the daughter of a copper baron, comes of age in early 20th century Montana, the lives of horses dovetail with the lives of people and her own quest for womanhood becomes inextricably intertwined with the future of two men who face nearly insurmountable losses—a lonely steer wrestler named Zion from the Montana highline, and a Cheyenne team roper named William Black Kettle, the descendant of peace chiefs. An epic that runs from the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 to the ore and industry of the 1930s, American Copper is a novel not only about America’s hidden desire for regeneration through violence but the ultimate cost of forgiveness and the demands of atonement. It also explores the genocidal colonization of the Cheyenne, the rise of big copper, and the unrelenting ascent of dominant culture.

Knopf Books for Young Readers

The Goblin’s Puzzle, by Andrew S. Chilton, is a very exciting book. I loved it as soon as I started reading it. It is fun, funny, and amazing. The main character is a boy with no name. This is because he was never given one. I can’t really explain it because: 1. It’s a spoiler, and 2. I don’t really know how it happened myself. I love how The Goblin’s Puzzle details suspense, mystery, and a desire to do the right thing. It was intriguing, and anyone who wants to read it should. I would recommend this book for second grade and up.

Laurence Barnes

by Robert Pack

Beside the waterfall,
by the lichen face of rock,
you pause in pine shade to remember blue
for drawing back, and green
for trust, replenishing yourself
among familiar leaves
with scattered sunlight.
And beyond those trees in time not ours,
you see our children search

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,

People enjoying a performance at the 2016 Internation Choral Festival in Missoula.
Mike Albans

The 2016 Choral Festival is over, but you can still enjoy music from around the world performed at this year's festivities.

This program includes interviews with singers and conductors from the Choir of East Mikeladze Central Music School, Republic of Georgia; The Ellerhein Girls' Choir, Estonia; Heartland Youth Choir, Des Moines, Iowa; and Cantores de Cienfuegos, Cuba.

Enjoy!

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

The Wah Yan College Kowloon Boys’ Choir sings during Out to Lunch in Missoula, July 13, 2016.
Mike Albans

"One of the choir members we [hosted] had said that they would never, ever allow anyone to say anything against the United States of America after coming to this."

That’s Karen Somerset, talking about the International Choral Festival, a four-day celebration of singing and culture that happens in Missoula every three years. This is Festival week and Karen and her husband, Ray, are hosting people from Poland.

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