MTPR

The Write Question

Thursday 7:00 PM - 7:30 PM

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.

New host & producer Sarah Aronson takes the reins beginning August 17, 2017. Executive producer, Michael Marsolek; studio engineer, Beth Anne Austein. The music in some programs was written and performed by John Floridis. The Write Question was previously hosted & produced by Chérie Newman.

The Write Question podcast

Ways to Connect

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.

Blue Rider Press

In September 2012, Ken Ilgunas stuck out his thumb in Denver, Colorado, and hitchhiked 1,500 miles north to the Alberta tar sands. After being duly appalled, he commenced to walk nearly 2,000 miles, (mostly) following the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast.

'The Forbidden Library': Logan Reviews

Nov 22, 2016
Penguin Random House

The Forbidden Library, by Django Wexler, is the first book in The Forbidden Library series. It’s an excellent book and I enjoyed it immensely. The main character is Alice who finds out she is a type of person called a Reader, with a capital “r.” Readers like Alice can send themselves into books and capture the creatures inside of them. In order to capture the creatures, they have to defeat them first, then find a special mental thread they tug with their mind which makes the creatures just suddenly pop into existence. Some of the creatures she captures are Swarmers. They are little black fuzzball things that look cute, but have a penchant for blood. Kind of nasty unless you’ve tamed them.

'We Burn Good Together'

Nov 21, 2016
Nov. 30 marks the end of open burning season in Montana.
Karl Nousiainen

by Michael Revere

Starting fire in a downpour
is no problem for you and me.
We burn good together.

As we tend the late fall slash fire,
I say, "Sweat feels good."
You say I'm "nasty" and smile.
I see beautiful curves
outlined under your t-shirt.
A small, dried out spruce tree
bursts into flame.

A Response To 'Opportunity, Montana,' by Brad Tyer

Nov 17, 2016
Beacon Press

Brad Tyer: Sacrificial Landscapes

I stare in wonder at a handful of bright turquoise bones gathered behind the CVS in downtown Butte. I came here to see them for myself, as I was told these bones have been dyed from copper sulfate leaching from the soil. I guess I didn’t believe our situation was that bad, but now I see. Up the hill from where I stand, massive gallows frames poke their heads from behind brick buildings; to my right, the East Ridge is exposed in a stepped face leading down an open pit mine. In my hands and surrounding me on all sides are the effects of my hometown’s mining past.

From Real Life To Fiction: Novels By Gwen Florio

Nov 16, 2016

When former foreign correspondent Lola Wicks heads to Wyoming for a Yellowstone vacation, she comes across a story that hits close to her past. One Wyoming soldier returning from Afghanistan commits suicide, two others spark a near-fatal brawl, and a woman is terrorized. Lola, accompanied by her young daughter, senses a story about whatever happened on the far side of the world that these troops have brought so disastrously home. But she soon realizes that getting the story must take second place to getting herself—and her little girl—out of Wyoming alive.

'The Trouble With Twins': Logan Reviews

Nov 15, 2016
Knopf Books for Young Readers

The trouble With Twins, by Kathryn Siebel is a very funny, and at times suspenseful, book. The main characters are Arabella and Henrietta Osgood, two very nice girls who are twins. They were born on the second and third days of April. Henrietta was born a little before midnight on the second and Arabella was born a little while after in the early morning on the third. That’s how they can be twins but be born on separate days.

'Buffalo'

Nov 14, 2016
Shawn McCready

by Eduardo Chirinos

In days of old, buffalo dotted the plains
with a soft, light brown.

Their hooves fearlessly trampled these pastures.
This was their home, their vast

Yellowstone National Park: Is It Really Wild?

Nov 10, 2016
© Michael Nichols/National Geographic Yellowstone National Park. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River from Artist Point.

The May 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine is devoted entirely to America's first national park: Yellowstone. It's more than just a park. It's a place where, 140 years ago, we began to negotiate a peace treaty with the wild.  David Quammen tells the story of the park in a four-part essay. He is the only author to write the entire narrative for an entire issue of National Geographic Magazine.

Yellowstone National Park: America’s Wild Idea. These stories and pictures of Yellowstone National Park's animals will surprise you.

'To the Man in the Jaunty Golf Cap, Wow—

Nov 7, 2016
Paul Elliott photo

by Rob Carney

I'm glad that wool was saved from coyotes,
glad for winter with its sight lines, glad for trees,

the way they cooperate
by letting go of their leaves.

And I'm glad for the skill of the helicopter pilot,
ski-smooth even in the crosswinds,

Writing And Foraging For Food In Rural Alaska

Nov 2, 2016
Mountaineers Books

Swallowed by the Great Land: And Other Dispatches From Alaska's Frontier is a collection of compelling Alaska stories from Seth Kantner, bestselling author of Ordinary Wolves.

When Seth Kantner's novel, Ordinary Wolves, was published 10 years ago, it was a literary revelation of sorts. In a raw, stylized voice it told the story of a white boy growing up with homesteading parents in Arctic Alaska and trying to reconcile his largely subsistence and Native-style upbringing with the expectations and realities tied to his race. It hit numerous bestseller lists, was critically acclaimed, and won a number of awards.

'Beastly Bones' And 'Ghostly Echoes': Logan Reviews

Nov 1, 2016
Algonquin Young Readers

This is Logan, here to tell you about Beastly Bones and Ghostly Echoes, the second and third books in the Jackaby series. Both books are by William Ritter.

Beastly Bones is the second book, while Ghostly Echoes is the third. Both are the same genre as Jackaby, which is mystery/horror.

'Vasectomy'

Oct 24, 2016
Confluence Press

by Greg Keeler

waiting for an hour alone
in the white room

naked from the waist down
clean flesh on clean sheets

polished steel and rubber tubes
behind reminiscences

of alcibiades on his*
lopping spree (would bogart

Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books

Welcome to Quinn, Montana, population: 956. A town where nearly all of the volunteer firemen are named Jim, where The Dirty Shame—the only bar in town—refuses to serve mixed drinks (too much work), where the locals hate the newcomers (then again, they hate the locals, too), and where the town softball team has never even come close to having a winning season. Until now.

'Rain'

Oct 17, 2016
Jordan Hackworth

by David Allan Cates

A flash on the ridge lengthens shadows, dims the wire
of ravens, and you retreat again tonight.

Madness drives us to bury seeds in what solitude
and night reveal—or perhaps it's only vigor.

Born in longing, words come to life in whispers,
the first truth I know.

Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept It...

Oct 13, 2016

During this special episode of The Write Question, Beth Hunter McHugh talks about creativity; Barbara Van Cleve shares her opinion about the romance of The West; Joe Wilkins describes how the birth of his son ignited a fire-storm of poetry; Paula McLain talks about the challenges of writing first-person, historical narrative; Ken Ilgunas relates the story of his encounter with a self-appointed posse in northeastern Montana; and New Mexico poet Carmen Giménez Smith shares her process of narrative compression.

'When God Was A Woman'

Oct 10, 2016
Evan Lavender-Smith / The University of Arizona Press

by Carmen Giménez Smith

When God was a woman,
empire was meh.
When God was a woman,
we built Schools of Listening
and every week we sat quietly
until we could hear
each other's thoughts.

No shadows when God
was a woman. Little girls
had great dominion,
and grandmothers

'Snowize and Snitch': Logan Reviews

Sep 20, 2016

Snowize and Snitch, a book for young readers written by Karen Briner is an exciting book that captured my attention as I read. The main character is Ever, a girl who doesn’t know who her parents are. Ever is courageous, smart, and compassionate.

'For Which It Stands'

Sep 19, 2016
Peter Miller

By Gregory Pardlo

For a flag! I answered facetiously. A flag of tomorrow,
fluent in fire, not just the whispers, lisps, not just the still there
of powdered wigs, dry winds. Who wants a speckled
drape that folds as easy over smirch as fallen soldier?
This is rhetorical. Like, "What to the Negro
is the fourth of July?" A flag should be stitched with a fuse.

'Green-Striped Melons'

Sep 12, 2016
Li Talpo

by Jane Hirshfield

They lie
under stars in a field.
They lie under rain in a field.
Under sun

Some people
are like this as well—
like a painting
hidden beneath another painting.

An unexpected weight
the sign of their ripeness.

Penguin Random House/Viking Books for Young Readers

This is Logan, here to tell you about The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle, a book for middle-school readers written by Janet Fox.

Penguin Random House

Hi, I’m Logan, here to tell you about The Shadow Cadets of Pennyroyal Academy, a novel for young readers written by M. A. Larson.

'Lovemaking in America'

Aug 15, 2016
Simon Huggins / Creative Commons

by  Rob Schlegel

I watch a silent film about the sea and I am forced
To imagine the sound the schooner is making.

Upstairs, you fill the bath with everything that has
Or could ever happen between us.

You think you have lived this day before. Earlier
At the fair we found a magician who claimed

The Story Of The World's Most Famous Grizzly Bear

Aug 10, 2016
cover image credit : Tom Mangelson / Rizzoli Publications

Celebrating the most famous family of grizzly bears in the world — specifically matriarch 399 and her offspring — renowned nature photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen has been tracking and photographing these bruins of Greater Yellowstone for 10 years, amassing an incomparable portfolio that offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of this celebrated bear family.

'Supergirl At Super Hero High': Logan Reviews

Aug 9, 2016
Penguin Random House

This is Logan, and I’m here to tell you about Supergirl at Super Hero High, the sequel to a previous book that I reviewed, Wonder Woman at Super Hero High. Both books are by the same author, Lisa Yee.

Supergirl at Super Hero High also takes place at Super Hero High, but this time the story tells us how Supergirl becomes a super hero. The book is third person limited, which means, as I said in a previous review, you only see inside one person’s thoughts. The book is exciting, funny, and VERY suspenseful.

Pages