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".

What makes a home? What do equality, safety, and politics have to do with it? And why is it so important to us to feel like we belong? In this collection, 30 women writers explore the theme in personal essays about neighbors, marriage, kids, sentimental objects, homelessness, domestic violence, solitude, immigration, gentrification, geography, and more.

Three Recipes For In-Season, Locally-Grown Tomatoes

Aug 11, 2019
The Queen of Subtle (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

'Food Guys' Greg and Jon dig into raw and cooked summer tomatoes. Greg suggests that you gather a variety of tomatoes -- and your tomato-loving friends -- cut them (the tomatoes) into wedges, label them, and evaluate which varieties are acidic, sweet, or just "wow."

Lee Karney, U.S.F.W.S. (P.D.)

It’s summer in Montana. The sun is bright and the Missouri River has never looked more refreshing. As I hike along a well-worn trail, I see two gorgeous American White Pelicans soaring to an unknown destination. Their grace and beauty are breathtaking.

Darryl and Kanga are brothers with a deep, dark secret that could get them killed. You see, the boys are robots, hiding in plain sight among their robophobic human neighbors in 1990’s small-town Michigan. Darryl—the “mom” of the pair—is content for he and his brother to fly under the radar as forgettable weirdos, avoiding any undue attention. But when Kanga shows a preternatural talent for basketball and makes the junior varsity team, both of the boys are thrust into the spotlight and the danger of being discovered increases exponentially. 

Ant lion larva
Jonathan Numer (CC-BY-SA-3)

Ant lions, or "doodlebugs" have impressive mandibles, are adept at camouflage, and are very successful at trapping and ambushing their prey. "Field Notes" takes a closer look at these fascinating insects.

Glacial erratic in Yellowstone Park's Lamar Valley
Jo Suderman - National Parks Service

Few sights have the romantic appeal of a lone tree growing in the grasslands of Montana. While these trees are beloved by photographers and artists for the serenity and peace they evoke, their origins typically lie in a more abrasive past. As the Wisconsian and Pinedale glaciations began their slow march from the mountains of western Montana and greater Yellowstone, they picked up rocks of varying sizes from pebbles to house-sized boulders. When the climate shifted and the glaciers melted, the rocks trapped in the ice settled on the ground and became known as glacial erratics.

Julie (CC-BY-2.0)

The Food Guys, Greg and Jon, praise Montana's annual huckleberry bonanza. Greg prefers the intensity he finds in small, early purple huckleberries for sale at Montana farmers markets from early to mid-July. As long as it's a huckleberry, Jon's not particular. "The difference between a blueberry and a huckleberry is the difference between Cheez Wizz and cheese."

Full of wisdom, passion, and insight, The Banker and the Blackfoot compellingly portrays a time when people in that part of the Old West looked for ways of getting along and getting on with the things that mattered to them all. Their remarkable story offers hope for all of us today.

Loon Calls: From Inquisitive To Bone-Chilling

Jul 29, 2019
When a boat steers too close to a nest, the owner loon will snap its bill open and closed, transforming air into wavy notes that writer John McPhee described: “If he were human, it would be the laugh of the deeply insane.”
(PD)

Loon calls flow through our veins, seep into our bones and sinew. For a moment, we become the wild flute music that curls into every recess of the lake. The echo pulses within us long after the stillness returns.

Loons call in four ways, each carrying a meaning that, at some level, humans have come to understand.

A heart-rending tale of family, love and violence… Through these characters, in a prose that can hum gently, then spark like a fire, Wilkins fashions a Western fable which spirals down to a tragic end. Following in the literary roots of Montanans Jim Harrison and Rick Bass, Wilkins packs a lot of story and stylistic wallop into this gripping, outstanding novel.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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