Reflections West

Wednesday 3:00 PM

Reflections West is a weekly radio program that presents the thoughts of writers and scholars on the American West. These thinkers pair their own thoughts with a passage from literature and history.

Clare Menahan & Annie Dillard: Startled Into Enchantment

Mar 25, 2015
Biographile

Clare Menahan recalls a vivid encounter with a great horned owl:

Carson Becker & Stephen Dobyns: Shades Of The Past

Mar 18, 2015
courtesy of NMSU

Playwright Carson Becker reflects on the legendary packs of wild dogs that used to roam Butte, Montana:

Philip Greene

Co-host David Moore remembers "driving the river road toward Duncan's Mills in the hills of the Coast Range of the Bay Area of California. My older brother would shriek and call it the "weee!" road for all its curves and plummets rising and falling. I remember standing on the back bench seat as a very small child while the grownups drove and smoked and talked in the front. (This was the Fifties.) The curl of cigarette smoke still looks and smells like comfort to me.

Amon Carter Museum

Historian Ellen Baumler tells how Western artist Charlie Russell got his beloved horse, Monte, the bay pinto known originally as Paint:

Flickr user, Michael Lusk

Lowell Jaeger - poet, teacher and former co-host of "Big Sky Radio" and "Storylines Northwest" on MTPR - writes about migration: "Since the beginning, humans have migrated from place to place, crossing borders, sometimes legally, often not.

In 2014, journalist and fiction author Adrian Jawort launched Off The Pass Press and its inaugural publicationOff the Path: An Anthology of 21st Century Montana American Indian Writers, Vol. 1

courtesy of the Wilderness Institute, University of Montana

Karin Schalm recalls: "I moved to Montana when I was 25, fleeing my grief. I was searching for a new sense of home. In the wilderness of the Rocky Mountain Front, I felt a familiar sense of belonging among the rocks, icy creeks and wind-bent trees.

Jordan Konkol got a summer job helping geologists explore for platinum in Alaska. He recalls a moment from that remote place, standing on a high ridge in summer daylight at 11:00 p.m., "...feeling silence extend in every direction. I recalled a line of Joseph Conrad: "this also has been one of the dark places of the earth.""

Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" describes the "darkness" in the Thames River, downstream from London:

courtesy of the Lahey family

"You come to Butte, Montana direct from seven exhausting years in the city, seeking solace, expecting blight, and finding home."  Missoula native Regan deVictoria fell for Butte "as you do a man with a harelip despite deformities, and later, because of them." Poet Ed Lahey was born to a family of Butte miners in 1936. From his adopted home of Missoula, he looked back at The Mining City:

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Visits to poet Stephen Behrendt's favorite places in the West linger in his memory and imagination as "places of mind," where blue skies and the fragrance of sun-baked evergreen needles connect him more intensely to his surroundings than the "whitish Great Plains summer sky, heavy with humidity" of his home in Nebraska.

From Behrendt's poem, "Tracks:"

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