Montana Public Radio

The Write Question

Thursdays 7 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

The Write Question is a weekly literary program that features authors from the western United States, including James Lee Burke, Maile Meloy, Thomas McGuane, Kim Barnes, Robert Wrigley, Jess Walter, Pam Houston, Barry Lopez, and hundreds of others.

Hosted and produced by Lauren Korn. Executive producer, Michael Marsolek; studio engineer, Beth Anne Austein. The music in some programs was written and performed by John Floridis.

Help us welcom Lauren R. Korn who's taking over for Sarah Aronson as the new host of The Write Question.

Lauren comes to TWQ with plenty of experience: among a host of bookish positions, she's a former Fact and Fiction Books bookseller, she's the current Director of the Montana Book Festival, and she's had her page-turning fingers dipped in journal editing, managing, and design.

Geffrey Davis’s award-winning second collection of poems reads as an evolving love letter and meditation on what it means to raise an American family. In poems that express a deep sense of gratitude and wonder, Davis delivers a heart-strong prayer that longs for home, for safety for black lives, and for the messy success of breaking through the trauma of growing up during the crack epidemic to create a new model of fatherhood. In this interview, Geffrey Davis speaks to these themes, as well as his relationship with fly fishing and what it means to live through the present moment.

"Flavors Under the Big Sky: Recipes and Stories from Yellowstone Public Radio & Beyond and the radio show that gave rise to it, Flavors Under the Big Sky: Celebrating the Bounty of the Region, are my homage to Montana and to all the people who have shared their food stories with me. This book reflects the evolution of my cooking after moving to Billings from San Diego twenty years ago. It is a small representation of the food I now cook after unearthing the bounty available here. This is a cookbook where I took Montana basics and created a world of flavors. Let this book be one you use over and over when you cook under the Big Sky." – Stella Fong

With familiar mastery, Russell Rowland, the author of In Open Spaces and Fifty-Six Counties, returns to rural Montana to explore a small town torn apart by secrets and suspicions, and how the tenuous bonds of friendship struggle to hold against the differences that would sever us.

Alan Pelaez Lopez crossed the Mexico-US border at age 5 as an undocumented migrant. In this interview, they discuss various elements of their journey, from childhood to adulthood, as well as how they use art as activism. Alan Pelaez Lopez’s poetry offers an unflinching look at how humans treat one another, from the afro-indigenous slave trade to modern US legal practices that threaten a sense of history, identity, and deep humanity. In the face of all of this, Alan Pelaez Lopez retains a voice of resistance, love, hope, and even joy. This is an interview full of necessary truths, told from the heart.

Curious, alert, and keenly observant, these essays probe the boundaries between what is here and what is gone, what is present and what is past, in elegant prose.

"This Much Country . . . is a story about starting from scratch, stripping away all but necessity and living by animal instincts to find life’s richness. From the first time Kristin hooks up a dog team to the moment she roars across the finish line of the Iditarod, readers witness the chaos of starting over in the din of barking, lunging dogs and the peaceful resolution of 15 dogs moving in unison as the Kristin comes to her own realizations about what it means to be wildly singular."

Kristin is an energetic interviewee, offering insights on how she landed in Alaska, as well as what eventually called her to leave. In this conversation, she also discusses her hardships, good instincts, and of course, the dogs. 

From mountain streams in the west to rolling prairies in the east, Montana’s habitats and natural resources offer an abundance of culinary possibilities. The mountains provide the necessities for a delightful elk tenderloin with huckleberry demi-glace, while the prairie contributes to rattlesnake cakes with roasted red pepper remoulade. And gardens and farms statewide produce the makings of Aunt Lois O’Toole’s rhubarb strawberry pie. Chef Barrie Boulds and author Jean Petersen present locally sourced epicurean dishes that exude Montanan charm.

Gary Ferguson

Drawing on science, psychology, history, and philosophy, The Eight Master Lessons of Nature will leave readers with feelings of hope, excitement, and joy. Here is what nature has to teach us about mystery and loss, the essential power of diversity, how our animal relatives make us smarter, the fine art of rising again after disruptions, and how the planet’s elders make us better at life. 

In this interview, Gary Ferguson and Dr. Mary M Clare offer a unique and refreshing perspective on how nature might guide us through these tumultuous times. 

Mark Gibbons “tells the truth and tells it straight,” according to author Melissa Stephenson. In this interview, Mark delivers this trademark approach to life while reading from his new collection, Mostly Cloudy. Like his poetry, Mark is irreverent and deeply sentimental. Together, we covered the topics of rock 'n' roll, work, love, and death. Though Mark was just down the road in his Missoula, MT home, we spoke via phone to maintain social distance. 

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