The Write Question

The Write Question

Bugs in My Hair! by David Shannon

The Blue Sky Press, 2013 

When I read the title of David Shannon's new book, I didn't realize it was going to be non-fiction. But yes, this very clever, delightfully illustrated children's book is about head lice. 

"Thought Under Construction"

Aug 5, 2013

There's no first stanza and maybe we should all go home,
since thinking isn't easy under any circumstances. And if

'home' is what's under construction? The work crew first
disconnects the stove, then turns up the radio. Omelets and broken

eggs, yes, but quiet and even the chips and cracks
were the script. Like the script of a one-note seasonal bird

when a chill moves over a lake. But not like the radio.
The first rule of construction? Destruction. Even the bees

During this program, Wyoming author Craig Johnson talks about and reads from 'A Serpent's Tooth,' the ninth book in his Walt Longmire Mystery series, which has been adapted for TV: "Longmire" on the Arts & Entertainment channel.

BOOK SYNOPSIS

"Adolescence"

Jul 29, 2013

For the lucky, it’s years spent
spinning the frantic wheel
of a carnival bumper car, lights swirling, the buzzing
and rumbling, sparking
and zapping, intent only on causing the surprising
crash, the ram and counterram,
spun wheel, sudden surge in reverse, the steady stare-down,
head-jerk, one car after
another until you find yourself targeting the bare legs
of the college kid, his back
turned to unstick a clot of stuck cars, bearing down,
full speed now, the humming
in your head now, until 

FICTION

The Highway, by C.J. Box

Breaking Point, by C.J. Box

Songs of Willow Frost, by Jamie Ford

Let Him Go, by Larry Watson

Burning

by Elana K. Arnold

Delacorte Press, 2013

I love the premise of Burning, aptly summarized in the tagline on the jacket cover:

Small-town boy. Gypsy girl. Desert Summer.

"The Velocity of Love"

Jul 22, 2013

So still we sit
in chairs that mold our breathing,
frightened birds
with feathers slimed in oil,
fish in nets, bodies
pressed against the figure
of their deaths.
We haven't spoken
for an hour. Your last
word digs holes in the air and
hangs.

Beneath this weight, Father,
tell me I'm lighter than light,
that my love for you outruns
the spinning lance
of hate.

If I could speak,
I'd tell you it doesn't matter
how hate is as strong
as the other, how quickly
exchanged for love,

During this program, Minerva Allen talks with TWQ producer Chérie Newman about her role as a guardian of tribal culture. She also reads from her collection of poetry, Nakoda Sky People, and from Stories from the Elders: Nakoda Horse Society.

"A Mid-July Invitation"

Jul 15, 2013

The energy crisis is over. Lights are back on the Strip.
Name the place:  Sahara, Caesar's Palace, Casino de Paris.
This way, please. Come, my people; drink on the house.
You, Great-grandpa, dice thrower from Sichuan, casting away
one hundred acres of our land overnight, be of good cheer,
this satchel of gold will last you a long while;
and you, Uncle Lu, widower and recluse of Fuling, accost
this Dixie belle, dare what you've never dared before;
this bottle will make you bold; and you, Da Shing, you

During this program, David Shields talks about literary collage, east-coast-west-coast perspectives, and his latest book, How Literature Saved My Life. He also reads from the book

About the book:

"Nuthatch Sitting on a Bear's Nose"

Jul 8, 2013

Really just a small cast iron representation
of the latter, a bottle opener mounted
to the southeast post of the shack's porch,
a Christmas gift from my niece,
and nothing to be stood upon, not even by a bird,
except for the nugget of ice at the end of the snout
that gives it a place. Some think art is lost
on the beasts of field and forest. Not I.
The chainsaw sculpture of an eagle
I fashioned years ago and fastened to a stump,
was sniffed at at length before the coyote

The Wrap-Up List

by Steven Arntson

Houghton Mifflin, 2103 

Steven Arntson had me from the get-go with The Wrap-Up List, which begins as follows,

Some people die from heart attacks, and some from falling off ladders. Some are killed in car accidents. Some drown. Some, like my grandfather Gonzalo, die in war. 

"Fourth of July"

Jul 1, 2013

If I have any romantic notions left,
please let me abandon them here
on the dashboard of your Subaru
beside this container of gas station
potato salad and bottle of sunscreen.
Otherwise, my heart is a sugar packet
waiting to be shaken open by some
other man’s hand. Let there be another town
after this one, a town with an improbable Western
name—Wisdom, Last Chance—where we can get
a room and a six-pack, where the fireworks
end early, say nine o’clock, before it’s really
gotten dark enough to see them because

During this program Chérie Newman talks with Billings, Montana, author Blythe Woolston about her new novel for young adult readers, Black Helicopters. First question:  "Why was terrorism an idea you wanted to explore with your writing?"

From the publisher:

"Trot"

Jun 24, 2013

A loose translation, not yet quite a gallop, more than a walk: to be
literal is to be a little jerky, rider and horse not unified into that
smooth flight of sweet aching below the saddle, all feet off the
ground at once. Well, another hour goes by. You'll need it. But it
gives you the idea—lap slapping against leather or, bareback, the
soft hair below the mane, yet it's not a place you can stay for long,
breath beginning to move in response to the horse's footsteps—
even more involuntary, a quick exhalation, a little feat of being

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.

"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.

Pete Hurley is not the first person to have the idea that building his dream house in the country will bring him some kind of peace and happiness. But he may be the first to arrive in Montana with a World Series ring, a three-legged dog, and a thirst for self-destruction.

"Gathering Mint," a poem by Laurie Wagner Buyer

Jun 10, 2013

He woke quiet, ate potatoes and eggs
sitting alone on a cottonwood stump in the sun.

At noon he took a rifle, burlap bag, and handful
     of dried apples,
saddled the glass-eyed gelding, corralled
     the wayward mare,
whistled one long high note for the hound
     and was gone.

It was late the first summer, river running
     low, meadow grass tassels paled by wind.
I weeded the garden one faded row at a time
     while the goats lazed in barn shade
and the mare paced,
     nickering again and again.

During this program, Chérie Newman talks with Jo Deurbrouck about her nonfiction book, Anything Worth Doing: A true story of adventure, friendship and tragedy on the last of the West's great rivers, which won a 2012 National Outdoor Book Award.

Chérie Newman talks with Spokane author Sharma Shields about the stories in her collection, Favorite Monster, winner of an Autumn House Fiction Prize. Shields also reads two short passages from the book.

During this program, Susanna Sonnenberg talks about her new memoir, She Matters: A Life In Relationships, and the evolution of her friendships with women.

From the Publisher:

During this program, Chérie Newman talks with Spokane author Gregory Spatz about his collection of stories Half as Happy.

A grieving couple rents a desperate landlord’s house in an effort to recover lost intimacy. Twins are irrevocably separated by events both beyond and within their control. A nighttime prank and its gruesome aftermath forge human connections no one could have anticipated.

During this week's program, Chérie Newman talks with author and poet Joe Wilkins about his memoir The Mountain and the Fathers: Growing Up in the Big Dry. He also reads from the book and reads two poems from his new collection, Notes From The Journey Westward.

San Francisco-based author Sherril Jaffe talks about creative inspiration and reads from her award-winning collection, You Are Not Alone & Other Stories.

BOOK DESCRIPTION
A homeless woman takes up residence in a man's closet; a detective solves cases by feeling the emotions of the perpetrators; a woman happens upon a swingers' club in the back of a tire shop; a couple struggling with their pets' protracted endgame puts out a hit on them; and a man's mother, newly dead and buried, calls him to ask if she can visit.

During this program, Chérie Newman talks with Pam Houston about her book Contents May Have Shifted, a novel which Houston admits is about 87% true. So why didn't she publish it as a memoir? Newman wants to know. The answer has to do with the public's perception of truth and, of course, publishing industry lawyers.

About Contents May Have Shifted:

Stuck in a dead-end relationship, this fearless narrator leaves her metaphorical baggage behind and finds a comfort zone in the air, “feeling safest with one plane ticket in her hand and another in her underwear drawer.”

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