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.

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Reflections West
5:00 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Kaya Juda-Nelson & Tony Abeyta

"Yeis in Chanting Procession," by Tony Abeyta. (CC BY-NC-2.0)
Credit Flickr user, Granger Meador

Kaya Juda-Nelson left Missoula for college in Boston, excited to leave. But when events brought her back to Montana, instead of finding herself lonely or bored, she found that silence and spacious views provided "company as well as solace." In Tony Abeyta's essay, "Tsankawi's Trail," the Navajo painter describes an ancient Pueblo village in New Mexico "where spirits of past and present parallel infinitely:"

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Reflections West
5:00 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Damon Falke

Credit courtesy of Damon Falke

Poet and novelist Damon Falke's West is a region that begs us to stop and look closely. Falke remembers a mysterious cemetery, perched on the rim of a plateau, where as a young man he would stop and watch and wait, not quite knowing why. In his poem, "Dove Creek" Falke reveals the deep observation practiced by his father, on trips into the desert:

"...There was my father,

Hunched over a cache of stones,

Sorting them out like so many bones

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Reflections West
5:00 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Tessa Heinemann & Marjorie Manwaring

Marjorie Manwaring
Credit courtesy of Mayapple Press

Tessa Heinemann loves digging up history. On an archaeological dig in the old gold-mining town, Virginia City, MT, she discovered 150-year-old remnants of toys, jewelry, and medicine bottles. "I find it incredibly rewarding to transform the experience of casual tourists. They hold artifacts in their hands and begin to imagine the bustling streets of a real community."

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Reflections West
5:00 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Tamara Linse & Judy Blunt

Judy Blunt
Credit courtesy of the University of Montana

Tamara Linse - "a writer, cogitator, recovering cowgirl" - grew up on a Wyoming ranch where adult women told dumb blonde jokes. Linse's book of short stories is called How To Be A Man. "They thought of themselves," she writes of the ranch women, "as profoundly set apart, a sort of third gender - not quite a man but definitely not a woman.

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Reflections West
5:00 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Robert Lee & Ashley

Credit courtesy of the Hydaburg School District

Every year, Robert Lee spends time as a poet-in-residence at the Haida School of Hydaburg, Alaska. His students teach Lee as much about surviving the elements as he teaches them about self-expression. 

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Reflections West
5:00 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Doug Midgett & Gwendolyn Haste

In 1913, Doug Midgett's grandfather gazed at the tableland around Sumatra, Montana and saw a hopeful future of verdant crops. Looking at the same land fifty years later, Doug's father, who grew up in Sumatra, saw perennial drought, searing heat, and stifling dust storms. Poet Gwendolyn Haste lived in Eastern Montana in the early 1920s and watched the losing battles of its farmers:

"...Seven full years, says the Book, and seven lean -

And we come in at the end of the full ones, I guess.

There ain't no crops where they's no rain.

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Missoula Airport Bear
12:01 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Poet Brings Life To Missoula Airport's Stuffed Bear

"In this city dedicated to the bear, I haven't seen a bear yet. Except in the airport lounge, where one such specimen is stuffed. Do you know the story?"

In our Clip of the Week, Poet Eduardo Chirinos, a professor at the University of Montana-Missoula, writes about bears - real, symbolic, and stuffed.

Listen to the entire episode of "Reflections West" featuring Eduardo Chrinos and Linds Sanders. Or hear more on your radio every Tuesday 8:30 p.m. and Wednesday 3:55 p.m.

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Reflections West
5:00 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Bud Cheff, Jr. & Olivia Stiffler

Bud Cheff Sr. is depicted on a hunting trip with his friend and mentor Eneas Conko. Painting by Rich Sanders.

Bud Cheff, Jr.'s family has been friends with the Conko family of Montana's Mission Valley for over a hundred years. Bud recalls a reunion between his grandmother and Eneas Conko in the front pew of the St. Ignatius Mission church.

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Reflections West
5:00 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Erin Saldin & Marilynne Robinson

A pregnant Erin Saldin narrated the details of her winter walks to her unborn child, imagining him as a character in a novel. "That imagined child is nothing like my flesh-and-blood daughter, who was born late, blonde, and wide-eyed." Saldin pairs her reflection with an excerpt from Marilynne Robinson's novel, Housekeeping.

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Reflections West
5:00 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Robert Stubblefield & James Welch

James Welch, 1971
Credit LaVerne Harrell Clark, The University of Arizona Poetry Center

When writing about literature, teacher and author Robert Stubblefield sticks to the present tense, since "great literature never slides off into the past, but remains with us in an eternal present." Stubblefield's friend and colleague, author James Welch, creates a world in his historical novel Fools Crow "as clear and present as the gray vapor of our breath against the darkness."

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