Reflections West

Wednesday 4:54 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.

Reflections West podcast

Karli Larsen & Paul Zarzyski: Duped By The Earth's Edge

Apr 29, 2015

Karli Larsen is no stranger to U.S. Highway 2  between college in Missoula and home in northeastern Montana: 

"Over one thousand miles of radical backdrop, several weather systems and small intermittent towns make the round trip from the University of Montana to my home town of Culbertson, Montana more a voyage than a trip.

Naomi Kimbell & Willa Cather: Shedding Walls And Windows

Apr 22, 2015

Naomi Kimbell has always been fascinated by the view of the Rattlesnake Mountains, north of Missoula:

"As a child, I used to walk home backward so I could keep my eyes fixed on my section of the Rockies called the Rattlesnake.  I don’t know what it was I thought I wouldn’t see if I turned away but I knew I wanted the shape of the ridgelines in my eyes, though looking and seeing were never enough.  I wanted more than looking could give me and to be a part of what I saw.

Cassandra Falke & John Keats: One Sublime Moment

Apr 8, 2015
William Hilton the Younger. (British National Portrait Gallery)

Cassandra Falke recounts a sunlit moment shared with a coyote, above Santa Fe:

Micah Fields & Richard Hugo: Taking Stock

Apr 1, 2015

In the poetry of Richard Hugo, Micah Fields recognizes his own fascination with the ways that suffering is portrayed in art:

Clare Menahan & Annie Dillard: Startled Into Enchantment

Mar 25, 2015

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:

"Sometimes, before I fall asleep, I’m reminded: packs of wild dogs once roamed Butte. Itinerant and prodigal, without manners, culture or restraint. Shadowing this hill I slumber on with their restlessness, hunger and complaint. Somehow I miss them, though we’ve never met. For years they were ignored. Then an urgent injunction was decreed. Funds were found, resources wrangled, fears overcome. A local dog catcher was crowned, and feral canines were quickly put to rope, to cage, to sleep.

David & Richard Moore: The Unknown

Mar 11, 2015
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.

Ellen Baumler & Will James: Tales Plowed Under

Mar 10, 2015
Amon Carter Museum

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

Lowell Jaeger & David Ray: Dislocation And Endurance

Mar 4, 2015
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. Our ancestors had one thing in common: they were looking to better their lives...Each new arrival in the West was part of this larger human flow, hundreds of thousands of homesteaders and gold-seekers who braved the hardships of traversing mountain passes and great expanses of desolation."

Anticipating a "third wave" of American Indian writers, journalist and fiction author Adrian Jawort considers one of the rewards awaiting ambitious young Indian writers who make the leap from Montana to the outside world: "While living at home, they didn't believe that their own observations, insights, or even hardships counted to an indifferent world. But away from it, they experienced revelations about how unique their homeland is. Other people were truly fascinated and yearned to hear more about the area they came from."