Reflections West

Damon Falke Unwraps Memory's Gifts From The Past

Jun 9, 2015

Poet Damon Falke remembers the day when a mentor handed him a sack and said, "Read these, man. They'll change your life."

LaVerne Harrell Clark, The University of Arizona Poetry Center

When writing about literature, teacher and author Robert Stubblefield sticks to the present tense, since "great literature never slides off into the past, but remains with us in an eternal present." Stubblefield's friend and colleague, author James Welch, creates a world in his historical novel Fools Crow "as clear and present as the gray vapor of our breath against the darkness."

Bradley Gordon

7/15/14 & 7/16/14: This week on Reflections West: In his youth, Toby Thompson stormed thirty saloons a day in search of the Great American Bar. In the dark of a recent December night, he experienced a revival at the New Atlas Bar in Columbus, MT. Poet Ken McCullough finds consolation at the New Atlas, too:

"Your conversation

Kathleen Welsch

7/8/14 & 7/9/14: This week on "Reflections West:" Literature professor Kathleen Welsch describes John Randall: a Winnebago born in prison, a tunnel rat in Vietnam, a wheelchair-bound warrior for the "little guy." Welsch excerpts a commentary about Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster from the Indigenous Elders and Medicine Peoples Council.

Michael Troutman/

7/1/14 & 7/2/14: This week on "Reflections West:" Four Corners area fiction writer, Erica Olsen, notes the distracting nature of Grand Canyon visitors' obsessions with cameras and technology. From his book, The Colorado, Frank Waters points out that "for all our technological achievements, our very lives tremble upon the delicate scales of nature."


American Heritage Center, John Clayton

6/24/14 & 6/25/14: This week on "Reflections West:" Author John Clayton marvels at the independence of frontier journalist, newspaper publisher, rodeo founder, homesteader and novelist, Caroline Lockhart.

6/17/14 & 6/18/14: This week on "Reflections West:" Historian Ellen Baumler, who witnessed Governor Brian Schweitzer's posthumous pardon of the 76 men and 3 women convicted of sedition under Montana's notorious 1918 law, reflects on WWI hysteria. Clem Work speculates on the convictions of two of the pardoned, William and Janet Smith.

Damon Falke

Jun 11, 2014

6/10/14 & 6/11/14: This week on "Reflections West:" Damon Falke, author, playwright and poet, returns to a bean field, where his nine-year-old self is practicing fly-fishing. Falke shifts the scene to shadows and "odd pickings" at "The Church at Yellowjacket."

6/3/14 & 6/4/14: This week on "Reflections West:" Missoula slam poet Linds Sanders writes about the strange presence of life in Henry, a stuffed buffalo. Poet Eduardo Chirinos, a professor at the University of Montana-Missoula, writes about bears - real, symbolic, and stuffed.

5/27/14 & 5/28/14: This week on "Reflections West:" Brandon Reintjes, Curator of Art at the University of Montana's Montana Museum of Art & Culture, contemplates artistic innovation and "Montana modernism." Tristan Tzara, a founder of Dadaism, instructs "How To Make a Dadaist Poem."

5/20/14 & 5/21/14: This week on "Reflections West:" Stephanie Land recalls how the cold of an Alaskan winter forced her to surrender to nature. Judy Blunt portrays the 1964 blizzard on Montana's Hi-Line.

5/13/14 & 5/15/14: This week on "Reflections West:" Kaya Juda-Nelson finds her place in nature. Navajo artist Tony Abeyta observes an ancient Pueblo village by moonlight.

Damon Falke

May 6, 2014

5/6/14 & 5/7/14: This week on "Reflections West:" Poet Damon Falke reflects on how the grand landscape of the West invites us to observe.  Falke shares a poem about his father teaching him how to look carefully for ancient fragments in the desert.

4/29/14 & 4/30/14: This week on "Reflections West:" Tessa Heineman explains why she loves archaeology. Poet Marjorie Manwaring's poem, "Treasure," unlocks the memories contained in a single rusty key.

4/22/14 & 4/23/14: This week on "Reflections West:" Tamara Linse reflects on being a woman in the masculine world of ranching.  She pairs her thoughts with a poem by Judy Blunt.

4/15/14 & 4/16/14: This week on "Reflections West:"

Robert Lee reflects on his experiences teaching poetry in a fishing town in Alaska. He pairs his thoughts with a poem by an elementary student from Hydaburg.

4/1/14 and 4/2/14: This week on "Reflections West:" Doug Midgett reflects on the legacy of agricultural ghost towns—a by product of the boom and busts of the homesteading era.  He pairs his thoughts with "Dried Out, a poem by Gwendolyn Haste.

3/25/14  &  3/26/14: This week on "Reflections West:" Bud Cheff, Jr. reflects on the enduring ties between two families, one white, one Indian, on the Flathead reservation.  He pairs his thoughts with a poem by Olivia Stiffler.

3/18/14 & 3/19/14: This week on "Reflections West:" Erin Saldin reflects on the mysterious bond between parent and child.  She pairs her thoughts with the classic western novel, Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson.

3/11/14 & 3/12/14: This week on "Reflections West:" Robert Stubblefield reflects on the power of the written word to bring immediacy to story-telling.  He pairs his thoughts with a passage from a James Welch novel, Fools Crow.

Tammy Elser & Luci Tapahonso

Mar 4, 2014

3/4/14 and 3/5/14: This week on "Reflections West:"  Tammy Elser reflects on the grand tradition of morning coffee, Monana style, which, though it may lack frills, is loaded with nostalgia.  She pairs her thoughts with a poem by Navajo poet Luci Tapahonso.

Philip Burgess & Penny Postcards

Feb 25, 2014

2/25 and 2/26, 2014: This week on "Reflections West,"  Philip Burgess reflects on the historical fad of Penny Postcards and how they helped form women’s communities of the past.  He pairs his thoughts with the contents of seven such cards written to two homesteading sisters in Montana.