Montana Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Author interviews, food, natural history, poetry, and more from "The Write Question", "The Food Guys", "Field Notes", "Home Ground Radio", "Front Row Center", and "Reflections West".

Clocking in at 600 pages, Maggie Shipstead’s Great Circle is the epic story of the fictional Marian Graves, a Missoula, Montana-born pilot, whose North-South around-the-world adventure is told painstakingly, achingly, and gracefully. This immense book, which spans multiple centuries and countries, is an enormously pleasurable read. Its generous narratives, pulsing with emotion and wonder, beg the question, “What will you do with your one life?”

Being your own boss can be rewarding, and it can be hard. Daily unpredictability confronts many of the 60 million Americans employed in the gig economy. When, where, and which job should they work on any given day of the week? How much money are they earning across multiple gigs? Information and data is sparse for workers — and not being about to count on a predictable pay rate makes it nearly impossible to plan out professional life.

What is Claire Boyles’ American West? Lauren and the Colorado-based writer cover a vast landscape of topics—each as wide and far-reaching as the region itself. From the shame and sadness of a lively, sustainable farm gone to seed to caregiving as a radical act, this is a conversation everyone must listen to, Site Fidelity a book everyone must read.

Lead singer Molly Rose from Underhill Rose at Red Ants Pant on Saturday, July 30, 2016.
Mara Silvers

The Red Ants Pants Music Festival returns this summer after a year off due to COVID. Find out what's in store for the return of this year's festival in White Sulphur Springs, in this conversation between MTPR's Tom Berich and festival producer Sarah Calhoun.

This week on The Write Question, Lauren chats with Missoula-based writer Deirdre “Dee” McNamer about Aviary, a novel based in an unnamed mountain town a lot like Missoula. The novel, which is McNamer’s first since 2007’s Red Rover, centers a neglected retirement community, Pheasant Run, and the aging residents who live there. This is a conversation with one of Montana’s most beloved novelists and writing teachers, and it’s one you won’t want to miss!

This week on The Write Question, Lauren chats with J. Robert Lennon about peculiarity—in his new novel, Subdivision, his new collection of short stories, Let Me Think, and in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks—and encouraging student writers to find the peculiarities in their own experiences, to mine their inner freak.

The economic downturn from COVID-19 has pummeled main street businesses, but the Payroll Protection Program loans of the Cares Act have saved hundreds of thousands of them. On April 3, 2020, the first day of the first round of PPP loans, the number one lender in the country was, surprisingly, Montana’s Stockman Bank.

This week on The Write Question, Lauren speaks with Canadian poet, editor, and community organizer Rebecca Salazar, author of sulphurtongue. The two tackle a number of questions: How is synesthesia an organizing principle of poetry? How can poets care for themselves in public spaces? What’s so funny about survival? What Canadian city closely resembles a moonscape? And just what is it about mouths?

What does ‘autobiography’ mean to poet Allison Cobb? What action(s) should readers consider after reading Plastic: An Autobiography? What do desire, joy, and grief have to do with the plastic industry? Listen now to find out!

This week, join Lauren Korn in a conversation with poet Raymond Antrobus, whose collection The Perseverance examines his D/deaf experience alongside meditations on loss, grief, education and language — both spoken and signed.