MTPR

western author

'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

'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.

'Rondo Of The Familiar'

Aug 1, 2016
Laurence Barnes

by Robert Pack

Beside the waterfall,
by the lichen face of rock,
you pause in pine shade to remember blue
for drawing back, and green
for trust, replenishing yourself
among familiar leaves
with scattered sunlight.
And beyond those trees in time not ours,
you see our children search

'Willow Wind'

Jul 25, 2016
Lost Horse Press

by Henry Real Bird

In the willow wind
the feeling will begin
Life, liberty, and death
Democracy in our breath
Born of the dew, and soil
in the heart of our soul

From the backwaters, still waters
Tears of war and joy victory covers,

'Sweetness'

Jul 18, 2016
Joe Pell

by Mark Gibbons

Raven struts
Down the sidewalk

Tasting
The air

Shakes its
Tuxedo tail

Dips to clean
The cement

Caws to another
Combing the grass

Hop-Roaming
The plaza

They dance
The Caw-ca-doodle-doo

Tango like
Dada-dandy

Blue-black
Crow sisters

Waddle bumping
Big breasts

In a hornpipe
Dead heat

For some sticky
Big Hunk

Candy
Wrapper

Los Angeles Times and NPR film critic Kenneth Turan talks about and reads from his book Not To Be Missed: Fifty-Four Favorites from a Lifetime of Film.

In these twelve new stories of All I Want Is What You’ve Got, award-winning author Glen Chamberlain deftly writes about the fragility of small town life. Chamberlain ushers us amongst the half-broken lives, sharing the moments of regret, yet allowing the redemptive qualities of her characters to ultimately shine through. From a night nurse confessing her forgotten desires to an invalid to a Chinese girl trying to piece together a past from a single photograph; from an elderly rodeo cowboy falling in love with a beautiful stranger to a woman acutely aware of the intricacies that lead to her own death, All I Want Is What You’ve Got is that book of stories that reveals how the most profound moments in life are the ones taken for granted.

'Aftershock'

Jun 13, 2016
Joe Shlabotnik

by Richard O. Moore

Afterward, you look on the world as a happy place
flush from arrival into a new land of not being in pain.
Is there anything forgotten, now that the screaming's stopped?

Love, Lament, And Letters In A Montana Cabin

Mar 30, 2016

David Allan Cates talks about and reads from his latest novel, Tom Connor's Gift, about which Bryan Di Salvatore writes, "Coursing between anecdote and musing, this is a novel only grownups can understand. It is smart and ecstatic and it will break your goddamn heart."

About the book:

A recently-widowed doctor, stunned by grief, retreats to a cabin on Montana's Rocky Mountain Front. Inside she has a puppy and a stack of letters from an old lover. Outside, there's a bear. As she revisits the letters from Tom Connor, we come to see, through his eyes, the dusty, broken alleys of Central America during the war years. The two narratives taken together explore themes of life-long love, about what we can see only when we are ready to see, and how hope can grow in the darkest of places. The third in what the author sees as his "homecoming trilogy" (after Hunger in American and Ben Armstrong's Strange Trip Home), Tom Connor's Gift shines a light on the transformative act of storytelling.

'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

'The Time of Irises'

Mar 21, 2016
cc: Gertrud K

by Jennifer Fallein

There is the dark one
with that sheen
of fluorescent green
the impossible color
of a male mallard's neck in sun.
And there is the salmon one

'rainy afternoon'

Mar 14, 2016
cc: leigh_east_photoman

by Lowell Jaeger

we lay with our legs entwined
breath to breath
mattress on the floor
candle-nub sputtering
on the nightstand

windows crying cold rain

our ghosts of persistent forebodings
we couldn't fend off
for long in the troubled face
of imminent consequence
headed our way...

'Insomnia'

Mar 7, 2016

by Bruce Morton

The shepherd has taken leave,
a no account. Wild
and wooly are the sheep,
coutless to the nth power—
flocking sheep, herds, hordes,
at warp speed,
insulating the crimped brain
from respite.

Instead,

'Soul'

Feb 15, 2016
Cover Art: Russell Chatham "Hayfields on the Cottonwood Bench," 2004. Oil, 36" x 48". / Copper Canyon Press

My spirit is starving.
How can it be fed?
Not by pain in the predictable future
nor the pain in the past
but understanding the invisible flower
within the flower that tells it what is,
the soul of the tree that does the same.
I don't seem to have a true character
to discover, a man slumped on his desk
dozing at midmorning. I'm an old poet.
That's it. Period. A three-legged goat
in mountain country. It's easier in the woods
where you have trees to lean on. There at times
I smelled bears right behind the cabin

'Happy Hour'

Jan 25, 2016
Snowshoe Photography - Alaska's Photostream

I always forget the name,
delphinium,
even though it was the flower

the hummingbirds
loved best. They came in pairs—sleek,
emerald-bright

heads, the clockwork machinery
of their blurred wings
thrumming swift, menacing engines.

They slipped their beaks.
as if they were swizzle sticks, deep
into the blue

"the little shits in daycare"

Jan 11, 2016
Many Voices Press / Flathead Valley Community College

substitute teaching one day
they, too young to be properly diagnosed
a.d.d, a.d.h.d, FAS,
abused, neglected,
child of an alcoholic
3rd born in a line of 5
whatever
they were out of control
unmedicated
unruly
i walk in to rule
not
in one day can i undo
all that's been done to them
instead
of being the calm in the eye of the storm
i become the wicked witch upon which
the house lands
barely
escaping with my life
as i wave goodbye
have a nice day

Bats, Snakes, Alligators, And Prudhoe Bay Scum

Jan 6, 2016
Tugboat Design / Encante Press

About the book:

Endangered Edens: Exploring the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica, the Everglades, and Puerto Rico is the follow-up to Marty Essen's six-time award-winning book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents.

'Every Place I've Ever Lived Is Gone'

Jan 4, 2016
Cazz

pecan groves outside of Lafayette,
the pine woods north of Spokane,

the field by my house where the snow piled deep,
where a snow owl passed so silently and low

it changed my idea of ghosts—
now they're stores,

and neighborhoods named after trees,
and spillover parking for a church,

and maybe the choir sings hymns so beautifully
it's fine; I'll call it the future, agree that it's bright.

But west of Washtucna, Washington,
the highway stretches through the dark...

Molly Caro May's Search for Place

Dec 23, 2015

During this program, Molly Caro May talks about her nomadic childhood and her search for a place to "be from." She also reads from her new memoir, The Map of Enough: One Woman's Search for Place.

Molly Caro May grew up as part of a nomadic family, one proud of their international sensibilities, a tribe that never settled in one place for very long. Growing up moving from foreign country to foreign country, just like her father and grandfather, she became attached to her identity as a global woman from nowhere. But, on the verge of turning thirty years old, everything changed.

Molly and her fiancé Chris suddenly move to 107 acres in Montana, land her family owns but rarely visits, with the idea of staying for only a year. Surrounded by tall grass, deep woods, and the presence of predators, the young couple starts the challenging and often messy process of building a traditional Mongolian yurt from scratch. They finally finish just on the cusp of winter, in a below-zero degree snowstorm. For Molly it is her first real home, yet a nomadic one, this one concession meant to be dissembled and moved at will.

"The Ground, Which Is Only Heavy Wind"

Nov 30, 2015
Melissa Kwasny, Mary Austin Speaker / Milkweed Editions

The women of the interior prepare themselves for pain by igniting small piles of fir needles on their wrists. I, too, want to age in the mountains, though all my life, I have avoided the extreme. When I turn away in public from the women with white hair, I become less public presence. To stumble on time: the biographic tradition, rift in the concrete I hit with my boots. I have been traveling away from home. I must return to it. Buffalo are the animals women were taught to emulate. They take care of their young. They mate for life, not like the deer, who are flighty and promiscuous.

Pigs, Poems, and the Purpose of Farming

Nov 25, 2015

About the book:

David James Duncan called Slotnick "a Wendell-Berry-style 'mad farmer'" and said, "The bracing bittersweetness lacing this free-verse report from the frontlines of a post-corporate agricultural renaissance is all the sweetness we need. FarmHome. is one of the most responsible books of poetry I've ever read."

"Grille"

Nov 16, 2015

As if through glass, through windows, in a café, in the afternoon or early evening, in June, in June or November, month like a fetish of gray—a month of water hanging onto itself; until it drizzles, a month of dulled light—he is seen for a moment, accidentally, between appointments, in the middle of errands, walking down steps, the cement steps, say, of an old bank—old enough for granite, for columns—pulling his keys out of his pocket, or gripping the small black remote that replaces keys (which you can't hear the sound of, behind all this glass), and approaching his car, so that for an ins

"Goddammit"

Nov 9, 2015
Mel McCudden / Lost Horse Press

We learn to swear from our fathers
when they're chopping wood
and miss the log,
axe skimming bark
off the woodblock,
dew off the grass,
goddammit raising its hot white streak
into November.

When my father's scanner
picks up police reports,
he's pulling on Key pants,
grabbing black jacket,
out to the garage to pull the tarp
off the tow truck.
I wake to hear the engine
having it out with the cold.

"Grandmother Rattler"

Nov 2, 2015
University of Arizona Press

who coils in my bones,
what were you thinking that summer night
when you found the warm road
on the edge of the canyon and stopped
just there exactly at the center
where the pickups and cars and evening walkers would see
your spiral upon spiral,
hear the singing voice of your tail,
see your black head rising?

When I stopped my car
and walked up to you,
arms spread and hands open,
why didn't you move?
Why didn't you slide down the stones

"The River of Light"

Sep 7, 2015
CGAphoto

As liquid verdigris or, shaded,
Flowing onyx, the river
Knots, spinning loose

Denticles of fresh cold, catching
A willow branch in a current circlet
Where an ouzel stretches and folds

Mimicking electric spray.
Along both shores, ruby Mimulus
Sparks, Coneflower radiates.

This Is About Darkness

Aug 31, 2015
vasse nicolas, antoine

The forsythia eats sunlight
near the open barn door
where Bill Perry stands in his overalls watching
his dappled-gray Percheron, Pike.

The largest horse on record was a Percheron,
a mare, twenty-one hands
high. This stallion stands, easy,
at nineteen.

Pike can pull a Cadillac up Humpback Mountain
in a headwind.

"Song of the Powers"

Aug 10, 2015
Bonnie Brezette

Mine, said the stone,
mine is the hour.
I crush the scissors,
such is my power.
Stronger than wishes,
my power, alone.

Mine, said the paper,
mine are the words
that smother the stone
with imagined birds,
reams of them, flown
from the mind of the shaper.

Mine, said the scissors,
mine all the knives
gashing through paper’s
ethereal lives;
nothing’s so proper
as tattering wishes.

"Wool Blanket"

Jul 27, 2015
gaakO-o

I slept in the valley
shivering, neck sore
from carrying a dead tree
across my shoulders

I needed the wood
but more
I needed the pain

Raccoon wind
shudders brittle leaves
as when you get a sudden chill
and they say:

"someone has just walked
across your grave"

Twig snaps  –
& I burrow deeper
wishing I had brought
that wool blanket

glad, almost,
that I didn't

The Home Place, by Carrie La Seur, is a mystery novel in which a successful lawyer is pulled back into her troubled family’s life in rural Montana in the wake of her sister’s death.

About the book:

"It's Shifts Of Sideways If She Talks To You"

Jul 20, 2015
2011-12-23
Hettle Price

For the teenager certain she is ugly, it's shifts
of sideways if she talks to you. Words
drop out of her mouth. She tries to get behind herself

and squeeze down
to a gash in the ground.
Oh she would love to roll from her skin

and disgust you. And stick it, yeah, to your candy pity.
She takes a deep breath
and throws her hair around like rocks.

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