MTPR

The Write Question

Thursday 7:00 PM - 7:30 PM
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The Write Question is a weekly literary program that features authors from the western United States, including James Lee Burke, Maile Meloy, Thomas McGuane, Kim Barnes, Robert Wrigley, Jess Walter, Pam Houston, Barry Lopez, and hundreds of others.

The Write Question is produced by Chérie Newman. Executive producer, Michael Marsolek; studio engineer, Beth Anne Austein. The music in some programs was written and performed by John Floridis.

The Write Question podcast

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Author Casts 'Spells for Victory and Courage'

20 hours ago
Brighthorse Books

The characters in Spells for Victory and Courage, winner of the Brighthorse Prize for Short Fiction, search for love and belonging in all the broken places. A teenage girl takes care of her ex-jockey father. A retired professor befriends the local shepherd. A carnival clown picks a fight with the wrong customer.

"Complexity"

Jul 17, 2017

What didn't work the first time
won't work the tenth. This is true
of everything structured by desire
which continues to beat against walls
as if they can dissolve with repetition.

This is a problem in all relationships
that begin in image and end in dreams
that nag though night with what
never was and could not be.
In between these stages comes touch.

The Battle To Control Nature In National Parks

Jul 12, 2017
Penguin Random House

The fascinating story of a trial that opened a window onto the century-long battle to control nature in the national parks.

When twenty-five-year-old Harry Walker was killed by a bear in Yellowstone Park in 1972, the civil trial prompted by his death became a proxy for bigger questions about American wilderness management that had been boiling for a century. At immediate issue was whether the Park Service should have done more to keep bears away from humans, but what was revealed as the trial unfolded was just how fruitless our efforts to regulate nature in the parks had always been. 

Combining Bone Fishing And Poetry Into Memoir

Jul 5, 2017
Milkweed Editions

Chris Dombrowski was playing a numbers game: two passions — poetry and fly-fishing; one child, with another on the way; and an income hovering perilously close to zero. Enter, at this particularly challenging moment, a miraculous email: Can’t go, it’s all paid for, just book a flight to Miami. Thus began a journey that would lead to the Bahamas and to David Pinder, a legendary bonefishing guide.

During this program, Christine Byl talks about her memoir, Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods, which describes her experiences working on trail crews in national parks in Montana and Alaska.

We have been with these bones
for a long time
and we are beginning to feel
a whole lot better now
that these bones are back among the Cheyenne people on their Reservation.

But we are troubled for another reason.
We want to travel on
now that these bones are safely buried.
They have now been properly put to rest.

'Traildog' Tales From Glacier National Park

Jun 29, 2017

During this program, Christine Byl talks about her memoir, Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods, which describes her experiences working on trail crews in national parks in Montana and Alaska.

Montana Historical Society Press

Step out of a world governed by clocks and calendars and into the world of the Kootenai and Blackfeet peoples, whose traditional territories included the area that is now Glacier National Park.

Antonya Nelson's 'Funny Once' Is Funny Lots

Jun 21, 2017

The stories in Antonya Nelson's collection Funny Once are clear-eyed, hard-edged, beautifully formed. In the title story, "Funny Once," a couple held together by bad behavior fall into a lie with their more responsible friends. In "The Village," a woman visits her father at a nursing home, recalling his equanimity at her teenage misdeeds and gaining a new understanding of his own past indiscretions.

Really just a small cast iron representation
of the latter, a bottle opener mounted
to the southeast post of the shack's porch,
a Christmas gift from my niece,
and nothing to be stood upon, not even by a bird,
except for the nugget of ice at the end of the snout
that gives it a place. Some think art is lost
on the beasts of field and forest. Not I.
The chainsaw sculpture of an eagle
I fashioned years ago and fastened to a stump,
was sniffed at at length before the coyote

Game Designer Creates 'Rip-Roaring' YA Adventure Novels

Jun 14, 2017
Harper Collins

Ruby is a thief-in-training and a keeper of secrets—ones she doesn't even know herself. A Riddle in Ruby is the first book in a witty and fast-paced fantasy-adventure trilogy for fans of Jonathan Stroud, Septimus Heap, and The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates.

Ruby Teach, daughter of a smuggler and pirate, has been learning how to swindle and steal and pick the most complex locks for as long as she can remember. But a collision with aristocratic young lord Athen sends her spinning into chaos. Little did she know that her whole life has been spent in hiding from nefarious secret societies and the Royal Navy . . . who are both now on her trail.

'Adolescence'

Jun 2, 2017

For the lucky, it’s years spent
spinning the frantic wheel
of a carnival bumper car, lights swirling, the buzzing
and rumbling, sparking
and zapping, intent only on causing the surprising
crash, the ram and counterram,
spun wheel, sudden surge in reverse, the steady stare-down,
head-jerk, one car after
another until you find yourself targeting the bare legs
of the college kid, his back
turned to unstick a clot of stuck cars, bearing down,
full speed now, the humming
in your head now, until 

Pete Fromm Confronts His Tendency To 'Go Feral'

Jun 1, 2017

At twenty years old, Pete Fromm heard of a job babysitting salmon eggs, seven winter months alone in a tent in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Leaping at this chance to be a mountain man, with no experience in the wilds, he left the world. Thirteen years later, he published his beloved memoir of that winter, "Indian Creek Chronicles" —"Into the Wild" with a twist.

'Sound of Sun'

May 29, 2017

I can always ride a beautiful pony
and walk through the pines
as the bell on the horse's noseband rings
in the whisper of wind through trees.

Rich fragrances carry love home
like a bird carries hose hair to its nest.
Words of love build a house of love.
Let feeling go, way out in the heart. Fly in love.

'Magic Fox'

May 22, 2017

They shook the green leaves down,
those men that rattled
in their sleep. Truth became
a nightmare to their fox.
He turned their horses into fish,
or was it horses strung
like fish, or fish like fish
hung naked in the wind?

Stars fell upon their catch.
A girl, not yet twenty-four
but blonde as morning birds, began
a dance that drew the men in
green around her skirts.
In dust her magic jangled memories
of dawn, till fox and grief
turned nightmare in their sleep.

Wyoming author Alexandra Fuller talks about and reads from her third memoir, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness.

About the book:

'Sometimes Odowan'

May 15, 2017
Dragonfly Weather, poems by Lois Red Elk
Lost Horse Press

Sometimes when I sleep,
I hear buffalo coming,
Sometimes when I sleep,
Tatanka sings me songs.
Hey yo hey yaaaaah.

Sometimes when I dream,
I see dragonflies flying.
Sometimes when I dream,
Tusweca sings me songs.
Hey ya hey yaaaah.

Sometimes when I wake,
I feel the earth moving.
Sometimes when I wake,
Maka Unci sings me songs.
Hey ya hey yaaaaah.

Paula McLain Brings Beryl Markum Back To Life

May 10, 2017

Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman—Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa.

'Spirit'

May 8, 2017
Cover Art: Russell Chatham "Hayfields on the Cottonwood Bench," 2004. Oil, 36" x 48". / Copper Canyon Press

by Jim Harrison

Rumi advised me to keep my spirit
up in the branches of a tree and not peek
out too far, so I keep mine in the very tall
willows along the irrigation ditch out back,
a safe place to remain unspoiled by the filthy
culture of greed and murder of the spirit.
People forget their spirits easily suffocate
so they must keep them far up in tree

Gangsters, Gamblers, Bootleggers, And Wrestlers

May 3, 2017

Late summer, 1921: Disgraced former lightweight champion Pepper Van Dean has spent the past two years on the carnival circuit performing the dangerous “hangman’s drop” and taking on all comers in nightly challenge bouts. But when he and his cardsharp wife, Moira, are marooned in the wilds of Oregon, Pepper accepts an offer to return to the world of wrestling as a trainer for Garfield Taft, a down-and-out African American heavyweight contender in search of a comeback and a shot at the world title.

'I Lost My Job & Wrote This Poem'

May 1, 2017
ClarkCountry.gov

No longer will I swallow hard boiled
instructions. No longer smile at
people I’d like to bite.
Today I am free.
Today I am Mick Jagger’s lips.
Today I am Kerouac’s touchdown in Lowell ’39.
Today I’m Jack Kennedy—ich bin ein unemployed!

There will be time later for assassins.
Today I am Lenin arriving at Finland Station
Napoleon back from Egypt.
Today I am Neville Chamberlain’s peace
Timothy Leary’s PhD
Joplin’s vocal chords
I am used up—but new
and yesterday was my last day of work.

Milk and Filth
cover dsign and image: Evan Lavender-Smith / University of Arizona Press

"All of us gun owners, pro-rights-pro-life, pro-choice…  all of us are being oppressed by this same coterie of rich people. But we’re oppressing each other through hate. And that’s great for that 1%. They’re thrilled when we’re fighting about trifling things because they have all our money now." — Carmen Giménez Smith

'Muriel'

Apr 24, 2017

My mother held out for tangerines.
They were more willing than the orange,
Rare as China, still, and carried the
Thought, which was never spoken,
That life was no more than that.
Peeling them now in the darkened
Kitchen, the taste of them almost in
My mouth. A mouth forged
From the soft melding of two others
Slipping open like caves found
In darkness, moistening the sweet,
Heavy air that fell between them
With the thought that was never spoken.
My thumbs enter the skin
No differently than did those

Steering With My Knees, poems by Paul Zarzyski
poetry, western author, bronc riding

During this program, Paul Zarzyski talks about and reads from his latest collections of poetry and prose, Steering With My Knees and 51: 30 Poems, 20 Lyrics, 1 Self-Interview, both published by Bangtail Press.

'Stranded At Noon's'

Apr 17, 2017

Now that wet street smell
evening rush hour,
and I have a flat tire.
This morning
a dead dog in the ditch
a black roamer who would come in
and leave our yard sniffing.
Now this rain
this stranding at a gas station
this dead dog in the ditch day.

Two bearded house painters
push through the glass doors,
decide out loud not to pay taxes this year.
No forms in the post office
the day before they're due.

San Francisco-based author Sherril Jaffe talks about creative inspiration and reads from her award-winning collection, You Are Not Alone & Other Stories.

BOOK DESCRIPTION
A homeless woman takes up residence in a man's closet; a detective solves cases by feeling the emotions of the perpetrators; a woman happens upon a swingers' club in the back of a tire shop; a couple struggling with their pets' protracted endgame puts out a hit on them; and a man's mother, newly dead and buried, calls him to ask if she can visit.

"Phone Therapy"

Apr 3, 2017
Lilly Ledbetter, REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi / Lost Horse Press

I was relief, once, for a doctor on vacation
and got a call from a man on a window sill.
This was New York, a dozen stories up.
He was going to kill himself, he said.
I said everything I could think of.
And when nothing worked, when the guy
was still determined to slide out that window
and smash his delicate skull
on the indifferent sidewalk, "Do you think,"
I asked, "you could just postpone it
until Monday, when Dr. Lewis gets back?"

During this program, Chérie Newman talks with Jo Deurbrouck about her nonfiction book, Anything Worth Doing: A true story of adventure, friendship and tragedy on the last of the West's great rivers, which won a 2012 National Outdoor Book Award.

Anything Worth Doing tells the unforgettable true story of larger-than-life whitewater raft guides Clancy Reece and Jon Barker, two men who share a love of wild rivers and an unbending will to live life on their terms, no matter the cost.

'Mary, Beatrice, Lucia—Grant Us Your Light'

Mar 27, 2017
Live, Love, Cupcakes / creative commons

by Cara Chamberlain

The city embellishes
A chase of silver
Or realistically a pus of clouds

Where the moon charades
As blemish or scar
Above the grocery of insomniacs

The dark respiration working
Nighthawks culling tides and waves
Of a winged blight over the big box store

'Why Print Books'

Mar 20, 2017
Sabda Press

why print books he said
who needs books these days
everything's on the web

well i wouldn't know i said
i still enjoy turning pages
in a chair by the fire

still window-shop mainstreet
still relish a big screen matinee
buttered popcorn jujubes and milk duds

still sit and think about how
all last century carriages went horseless
and horses thank god are not extinct

still long for real letters in the post
the effort of someone's penmanship
the dear and sincerely yours

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