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

Ways to Connect

Black Lawrence Press

In Children and Lunatics, the 21st century is new and fragile, the center barely holding. Wars, terrorists, and hurricanes are on TV.  A silent street person and a suburban mother share intimate spheres of love and grief and odd obsessions, although they barely meet.  As their paths converge, an eerie world hovers, casting shadows and flickering lights, igniting fears and dreams.

Atonement And Revenge In The Bighorn Mountains

Mar 15, 2017
Fithian Press

In Canyons, Ward Fall is a Wyoming rancher, a man with three young sons and a supportive wife, Lorraine. Eric Lindsay is a reclusive musician and songwriter in Los Angeles. In college, their friendship turned ugly in an instant when a hunting accident traumatizes both men. Now, 25 years later, Ward invites Eric to join him at a hunting camp in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains. Although fearful of the reunion’s dark potential, Lorraine encourages the trip, knowing Ward must confront his demons.

'On A Cliff With You'

Mar 13, 2017
Ben Arent

by David Allan Cates

If we were both
hanging from a cliff
by one hand
you'd tell me how scary
it is to be hanging
from a cliff
by one hand
and we'd talk about
how it makes you feel
and how your hand

A Conversation With The World's Strongest Librarian

Mar 9, 2017

During this program, Chérie Newman talks with Josh Hanagarne about "The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family," an inspiring story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette’s found salvation in books and weight-lifting.

Even as bones they were sublime, the sky-
scraping brachyo- an brontosauri,
tree-boned haunches, handfuls of arm-length claws,
T. Rex with teeth uncountable as stars.
In my mind, they were fleshed, they ripped and gnawed.
Crossing Central Park at dusk, I'd see
the giants grazing still, the swaying treetops
hiding some great nibbling head, and hear
them in the ground-juddering thunder
as our subway shot like progress from the dark.
Then swallowed us, like some great whale or ark.

Barbara Van Cleve / University of New Mexico Press

In the vernacular of the West, the term Pure Quill means “authentic; real, through and through.” With her photographs of the West, which she knows and loves, Barbara Van Cleve gives vision to that term.
 

'Wooden'

Feb 27, 2017
Kate Brady

by Jennifer Finley

When you feel like a block of wood
when you used to be a branch whipping
up after a lump of snow slid off you,
what are you supposed to do?

You can't become a tree again. You
can't reattach yourself to where you
came from. Yet, you share the same
bark and pulp.

Writing To Preserve Nakoda Culture And Ancestors

Feb 22, 2017

Nakoda Sky People is a compilation of poems from several of Allen’s smaller collections, and also contains a lexicon of Nakoda words and phrases as well as pages of Native recipes and herbal medicines.

In an introductory essay to Nakoda Sky People, Minerva Allen states directly, “We keep our history and culture alive by telling of our ancestors and legends to young people.”  She tells of learning the Assiniboine way of life from her grandparents, and now she feels a duty to pass along what she knows. 

'The Sleigh and the Buffalo Robe'

Feb 20, 2017
Jeanne, Creative Commons

by Bonnie Buckley Maldonado

1935

The big sleigh pulled easy
by the draft horses,
Teddy and Baldy,
sailed over snow banks,
flashing diamonds
marking their way.

Sleigh bells rang out
our excitement,
parents up front,
children in the box behind.

An Excerpt From SHOT IN MONTANA, by Brian D'Ambrosio

Feb 17, 2017
Riverbend Publishing

Montana is a realistic feast for filmmakers. It is not surprising that Hollywood selected Glacier National Park as the mythical setting to depict heaven in the 1998 Robin Williams movie, “What Dreams May Come.” Filmmakers captured the surreal beauty of one of the world’s greatest treasures so vividly that critic Roger Ebert declared “What Dreams May Come” as “one of the great visual achievements in film history.”

Western Writers Write The West

Feb 15, 2017
University of Texas Press

What does it mean to be a westerner? With all the mythology that has grown up about the American West, is it even possible to describe "how it was, how it is, here, in the West--just that," in the words of Lynn Stegner? Starting with that challenge, Stegner and Russell Rowland invited several dozen members of the western literary tribe to write about living in the West and being a western writer in particular.

'Love Song'

Feb 13, 2017
Kumar

by Danell Jones

I'm overeasy for you —

After four hardboiled decades
you glaze my heart
icing dissolving on my tongue

Call me your sweet, your dariole, your bonfemme

You'll be my crown roast, my deep dish, my potatoes O'Brien

You'll be my always

my cupful

my round

my fill

Super Heroes Invade Sugarbeet Falls

Feb 10, 2017

Excerpt from Sugartbeet Falls, Volume 1:  Fantastic Friends, by Ryan A. Arca

Pops walked through the door carrying an ancient-looking chest that appeared to be older than both Xander’s grandpas combined. It looked like it weighed about half a ton, even in Pops’s long, strong arms.

“What the heck is that?” Xander asked, gaping.

'Bardo Thule'

Feb 6, 2017
Tim Pierce

by Dave Caserio

My brother, expecting, thinking, what?
That the wind would waft our father's ashes
Gently out of his hand, convey them
As though a squall of butterflies, as
White bits of the soul, as wafer
Upon the tongue, to dissolve

'Mutation'

Jan 30, 2017
Ruthanne Reid

by Elizabeth Cain

When you can walk a milefrom your front door in August
and eat wild strawberries,
something changes
inside.

Months later you thrive
when the snow tumbles
down the mountain
and the roads ice up
and you can't even see
your way to the barn.

The Poetry Of Life

Jan 25, 2017

In When We Were Birds, Joe Wilkins wrests his attention away from the griefs, deprivations, and high prairies of his Montana childhood and turns toward “the bean-rusted fields & gutted factories of the Midwest,” toward ordinary injustice and everyday sadness, toward the imminent birth of his son and his own confusions in taking up the mantle of fatherhood, toward faith and grace, legacy and luck.

'The Palace of Glass': Logan Reviews

Jan 24, 2017
Penguin Random House

The Palace of Glass is the third book in the The Forbidden Library trilogy, with possibly more to come, because I thought the series was very successful.

'The Mad Apprentice': Logan Reviews

Jan 19, 2017
Penguin Random House/Puffin Books

The Mad Apprentice is the second book in the Forbidden Library series. It's predecessor, The Forbidden Library, was exciting and, in it, Alice was bound to a creature called "The Dragon" even though it was more of a huge black lizard, but apparently that still qualifies as a dragon.

Excerpt From LONG STORY SHORT, by Margot Leitman

Jan 13, 2017
Penguin Random House

From LONG STORY SHORT: The Only Storytelling Guide You'll Ever Need

Here’s the good news. All of these skills—from story structure to content, to what makes a story memorable, coherent, and engaging—can be learned.

Q:  Umm, okay . . . so what is storytelling exactly? I tell stories with my friends all the time. Isn’t that the same thing?

'After a Terrifying Nap'

Jan 9, 2017
Daniel Orth

by Michael Earl Craig

Gratitude came down
in the form of a golden
grasshopper.

Not golden like a bar of gold
(an ingot)
or golden like honey
or paint on a football helmet.
It was another kind of gold.

Riverbend Publishing

In the summer of 1967, life seems almost dangerously idyllic to fifteen-year-old Grace Birch and her ten-year-old sister Franny. Their mother is Nora, a beautiful and educated woman who writes haunted love poems when she isn’t working as a law professor at the local university. Their father is David, an actor turned drama professor. As the children of independent, bohemian parents, Grace and Franny spend their days entertaining themselves and their evenings observing the delicate dance that is their parents’ relationship. David’s dedication to his craft makes him magnetic to his students, but challenges his devotion to his two young daughters and his wife.

Evel Knievel, Polygamist Mormons, And A Great Escape

Dec 28, 2016
Penguin Random House

At the heart of this exciting debut novel, set in Arizona and Idaho in the mid-1970s, is fifteen-year-old Loretta, who slips out of her bedroom every evening to meet her so-called gentile boyfriend. Her strict Mormon parents catch her returning one night, and promptly marry her off to Dean Harder, a devout yet materialistic fundamentalist who already has a wife and a brood of kids. The Harders relocate to his native Idaho, where Dean’s teenage nephew Jason falls hard for Loretta. A Zeppelin and Tolkien fan, Jason worships Evel Knievel and longs to leave his close-minded community. He and Loretta make a break for it. They drive all night, stay in hotels, and relish their dizzying burst of teenage freedom as they seek to recover Dean’s cache of “Mormon gold.” But someone Loretta left behind is on their trail…

Misunderstood: Why the Humble Rat May Be Your Best Pet EVER
Farrar Straus Giroux

As much a moving memoir as it is an amusing pet manual, Misunderstood is a unique nonfiction book for teens and tweens about domesticated rats in general and a wonderful rat named Iris in particular.

When A Corpse Erodes Out Of A Hillside...

Dec 14, 2016

“Allen Jones’s A Bloom of Bones is simply riveting. Always lyrical, often wise, filled with vitality, and the promise that love and loyalty can surmount the darkness in our lives. I couldn’t put it down.” — Mark Spragg, author, Where Rivers Change Direction and An Unfinished Life

“What a terrific novel Allen Jones has given us! Two attractive but emotionally isolated people, a rancher on the starved-to-death plains north of Jordan Montana who has written his way into nationally interested poetry, and a young woman who represents his New York publisher. A progressing love story and an unsolved murder on his ranch—A Bloom of Bones is articulate, occasionally heartbreaking, and all the way fascinating.” — William Kittredge, author of A Hole in the Sky and The Willow Field

Simon & Schuster

A wildlife biologist’s shocking death leads to chilling discoveries about a home for troubled teens in Christine Carbo’s haunting and compelling new crime novel, Mortal Fall, set in the wilds of Glacier National Park.

'Beer and Poetry'

Dec 6, 2016
Beer: Paul Downey

by Maddy Irwin

Poetry reminds me of beer. More specifically it reminds me of Cold Smoke, a favorite of Missoula brew enthusiasts. I always pick up the cold pint glass thinking this will be the time I finally gain appreciation for the dark ale that my friends consume generously on our nightly excursions. However, my response is found to be the same puckering of lips and slight crinkling of my nose in an unattractive grimace, immediately followed by a mouthful of my usual vodka-cran to wash down the taste of the dark ale.

http://missoulanews.bigskypress.com/

by  Kristy Bixler

Ten minutes from my house in any direction I can climb a mountain, or catch a fish, play a round of folf, or cross country ski. I live in a world of adventure and life that I never want to leave. There is nothing better than living in a place that is so rich in its beauty, a natural theme park. I have been unbelievably fortunate with a good secure life in Missoula, Montana, that allows me to take part in all of my favorite activities.

However, another ten minutes from my house lay the ruin of the Mill. Not everyone in my town has been as lucky as my family. Even though I was fairly young when the mill shut its doors forever, I remember it vividly. It played out just the way it did in Melissa Mylchreest’s poem “Frenchtown.” All of a sudden the mill was gone. When I would drive to Frenchtown to swim in the pond or play a game of softball, everything seemed different, quieter, as though the life had gone out of the previously bustling little area.

'Learning the Name of a River is Just the Beginning'

Dec 1, 2016

by Noah Belanger

I moved to Missoula two years ago without a solid plan. I knew that, eventually, I would attend the University of Montana, but I couldn’t begin to tell you what I would study or when that would be. I wasn’t even sure this was the real reason I was here. What I did know is that when I drove over Lost Trail Pass and headed down the Bitterroot towards Missoula, when I saw impossibly hard and beautiful mountains butt up against soft green valley, I was in love.

Excerpt From STORIES FROM AFIELD, by Bruce Smith

Nov 30, 2016
Bison Books, University of Nebraska Press

Chapter 14:  The Circle

It’s a universal truth that much of what we see around us follows a circle. Considered the father of modern observational astronomy, Galileo had it right: our planet does not hover motionless at the center of the universe, it orbits the sun. Chris Columbus didn’t fall off the edge of the Earth when he set sail from Spain seeking a new trade route to the East Indies. Whether it be moon phases, tidal patterns, or the annual changing of the seasons, recurrence is the norm. Examples are endless. No clearer is this principle than in nature’s rhythm of renewal and continuance — the water and nitrogen cycles, the ten-year cycle of snowshoe hare abundance, and life’s circle of birth, death, decomposition, and rebirth.

On December 16, 2011, I was one of a couple hundred history-conscious Missoulians who walked onto a snow-covered bluff above the Milltown Dam abutment to see something you almost never get to see: a river tangibly restored. Below us, the Clark Fork began to spill down its reconstructed stream bed, joining the also-undamned Blackfoot River in free flow for the first time since the dam was built in 1908.

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