Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Karin Schalm & Matthew Hansen: Building A Home

courtesy of the Wilderness Institute, University of Montana

Karin Schalm recalls: "I moved to Montana when I was 25, fleeing my grief. I was searching for a new sense of home. In the wilderness of the Rocky Mountain Front, I felt a familiar sense of belonging among the rocks, icy creeks and wind-bent trees.

I was fortunate enough to befriend an older poet, Ripley Hugo, who offered me retreats to her family's cabin on the Teton River because she understood my grief. Her son, Matthew Hansen, died of cancer at the age of 23, just a year after her husband Richard Hugo died. Matthew, like his mom and stepdad, was a fine poet. His single published book has many poems rooted in nature, some even penned in the cabin where I rusticated."

From Matthew Hansen's poem, "Credo:"

"Barns collapse, and you should know
your heart collapses too. We spend our lives
learning bone, so put your faith in rock
and hope for lichen on your ribs.
I fall and wait for wind
to bleach me barren white. You should
take these bones and build a home."

(Broadcast: "Reflections West," 2/11/15 & 8/19/15. Listen weekly on the radio, Wednesdays at 4:54 p.m.)

Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information
Related Content
  • Grain from farms along the Highlinefills the hold of Nordic Monarch.Madrona sheds its bark like skin andthe surface of the sea is moresensitive than skin.…
  • Visits to poet Stephen Behrendt's favorite places in the West linger in his memory and imagination as "places of mind," where blue skies and the fragrance…
  • for RalphIt must be the kind of work.The hauling, the pitching,the sour bale we heave aside,the extra strength that takes.It must be the crafty…
  • Jordan Konkol got a summer job helping geologists explore for platinum in Alaska. He recalls a moment from that remote place, standing on a high ridge in…