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

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:

"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."

Karin Schalm & Matthew Hansen: Building A Home

Feb 11, 2015
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.""

Regan deVictoria & Ed Lahey: Leaving Butte

Jan 28, 2015
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."

Stephen Behrendt: Early Morning Animal Tracking

Jan 21, 2015
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.

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