MTPR

Joe Wilkins

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.

The Poetry Of Life

Aug 24, 2016

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.

Dave Pijuan-Nomura

by Joe Wilkins

Isn't it a shame, my grandmother said,
silver fork in her shivering fist,

how we have to go on eating?
We were sitting up to burnt chuck,

potatoes in their dirty jackets,
and hunks of Irish brown bread,

'Names on the Land'

Mar 28, 2016
Ed Dunens / creative commons

by Joe Wilkins

Freeze Out Notch

The breath of mountains
is dry grass and sloped fields
of winter wheat. Their eyes
are bedrock and ice.

Clearwater Canyon

Old men drink tall glasses
of yellow beer and stare
at themselves in the mirror.

Trailer Hollow

A red-winged blackbird
hops across the hood
of a red pickup.

Hog Meadows

Chris M. Morris

——Follow Me

I know a place where barb-wire
wreathes the heaped bones of horse.
I know where we can shoulder our bright

rifles and bag a twine string
of rabbits. It's out past the alkali basin,
right in the dark yawn of that sod-roof shack.

——It'll Get You Every Time

See how gravel breathes the river?
How water slows and pools, now begins
to stink? I pull mussels from their nests of mud,

"The Voice of the Father"

Jun 17, 2013

Often, as mother bent her slender back
to the fields, or pulled the bloody slip
of a lamb into the world,
I wandered the house,
studying motes of dust brought to life
by sunlight. I was looking for you.