Montana Public Radio

poetry

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.

Lehua Taitano's  work investigates queer indigeneity, decolonization, and cultural identity in the context of diaspora. In this conversation, Lehua delves into the oceanic world of her poetry collection, "Inside Me an Island," where matters of family, story, identity, voice, song, and bicycle mechanics come to light.  

Congratulations to Sarah Aronson, host of The Write Question on MTPR, for winning the 2018 New American Poetry Prize for her debut collection And Other Bodiless Powers.

You can hear some of Sarah's poetry during a reading featuring Sarah Aronson and Kelly Schirmann, Nov. 7 in Missoula. Sarah says she's also planning a Montana book tour.

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.

"Popular Music is both a love letter to music—how it accents, affects, and defines us through varying stages of our lives—and a hilarious and heart-breaking investigation of our relationship to technology, nature, and country. This book is in a class of its own and is simply unforgettable." -- Chicago Review of Books

Chris La Tray

"This is a sunrise book, a book of revelations, of creekwalks and roadfood and ordinary sadnesses, ordinary joys—which are, in the end, the only kind. ‘I have a stake in this,’ La Tray writes. And so do you. So do you.” — Joe Wilkins 

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.

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

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