MTPR

poetry

Nick Littman, Missoula Writing Collaborative

In July 2019, Annie Garde ushered a flock of writers, ages 8-14, in KUFM's Studio B to read poems they'd written with the Missoula Writing Collaborative's "Words With Wings" summer camp. To prime the pump, teachers Dana Fitz Gale, Sheryl Noethe and Anna Zumbahlen dangled before their students art, verbal prompts and the occasional imaginary takeover of a university building.  Listen to "I'm From the Hayfields," "Ode to a Goat," "Non-Existant Pie," "You Are, You Are Not," "The Purple Bug," "The Best Night For Peach," "Ode to Chili" -- and 36 more.

100 Days is a collection of poems that ask us to consider the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. In 100 poems, written in 100 days during the summer of 2014, Okot Bitek grapples with how language, nature, music, memory and voice can betray, and still offer solace in poetic form.

With calm abandon, Rob Schlegel stands among the genderless trees to shake notions of masculinity and fatherhood. Schlegel incorporates the visionary into everyday life, inhabiting patterns of relation that do not rely on easy categories. Working from the premise that poetry is indistinguishable from the life of the poet, Schlegel considers how his relationship to the creative process is forever changed when he becomes something new to someone else. "The meaning I'm trying to protect is," Schlegel writes, "the heart is neither boy, nor girl." In the Tree Where the Double Sex Sleeps is a tender search for the mother in the father, the poet in the parent, the forest in the human.

"Sometimes the job we have to do is often uncomfortable, whether it’s killing a deer to put it out of its pain, or to open it up. It’s kind of that pen too, to open up stories, to open up wounds that need to be reopened to be able to heal properly. I think the knife serves that metaphorical purpose as well." -- CMarie Fuhrman

“Some say sharks are the ocean’s anger at us for being in its future,” writes Rob Carney. I say poems are sharks’ way of forgiving us for the soup, the necklaces, the movies, and the mascots. And, let’s not even mention climate change. Rob Carney’s trenchant, probing poems circle around the self, not so much sensing blood but, perhaps even more dangerously, searching for understanding. Part confession, part documentation, part meditation, these smartly crafted lyrics explore how and why we have and have not allowed sharks (metaphors for so many things) to swim into our lives. This is a major effort from a talented poet. —Dean Rader

"Ragged Anthem" is a demonstration in continued poetic growth and expanded terrain. Written from the speaker’s midlife, the poems delve into the transformation of family, childhood tragedies, and politics. Dombrowski lifts the veil on the imbecilic bureaucracies—those on Capitol Hill and in the faculty meetings occurring in our own conference rooms—that often help to whittle our fates. 

In the summer of 1955, sixteen-year-old Tommy Cadigan finds himself helpless in the face of desire, especially when the man that wears the face is his high school swimming coach, a young Korean War veteran who is still recovering from receiving a “blue ticket” discharging him from the military because of his homosexuality. Unsure if his infatuation is returned, Tommy distracts himself with the attention of a local bully, who hustles older men at night besides a decrepit zoo in Boise’s park. Tommy soon finds himself in the midst of a scandal that threatens to ignite the entire town…and his life will never be the same.

Sam and Kate figured that good writing served with a slice of pie and a shot of whiskey would create an energized atmosphere uncommon at literary events. The contributors, drawn mainly from the west, but not exclusively, responded with surprising, funny, heartbreaking, fantastically written stories and poems. The book will include a smattering of pie recipes and whiskey-centric cocktails. Look here for tasty literary servings.

Robert Lee / Foothills Publishing

  Companions

The plants in my bedroom,

I forget their names, are dead.

Dried up, both of them.

Negligent homicide, if you must

call it murder. I'll confess

that I enjoy their corpses.

Dried leaves don't cry out for anything.

Brown vines don't climb everything in reach.

A plant will dominate, if you lavish

too much water on it. I never do.

These two creatures are suspended

animation, one completely brown

his phallic stalk, shrunken.

Long leaves, curled and coarse

Rose Lincoln

"I think we all actually need poetry. We need the immersive experience in our humanity that poetic language can give us. We are all looking for these immersive experiences that allow us to contemplate what matters in our lives." -- Elisa New 

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