Montana Public Radio

poetry

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. 

Wave Books

Can poetry fail us? Can it feel too precious in times of great upheaval? Prageeta Sharma interrogates these questions and more in her collection "Grief Sequence," published after the death of her husband. In this interview, we begin by discussing the relationship between poetry and grief, both in regards to her loss as well as the collective uncertainty of COVID. We also grapple with themes of misunderstanding, witness, and beauty in an effort to make sense of the what it means to be human. Prageeta speaks to us from her shelter-in-place residence in Claremont, CA.
 

"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


Free Verse teaches literature and creative writing in juvenile halls across Montana. In this interview, Executive Director Claire Compton and Teachers Nicole Gomez and Taylor White invite listeners into the raw and heartfelt expressions of youth in detention. We discuss oppression and visibility as well as inevitable moments of hope and humor. According to Free Verse, “Our goal is to one day have teachers in every hall in Montana. Our dream is to shut down our organization because there are no halls left.” 

Jeremy Pataky overwinters in Anchorage, Alaska, before spending early spring through late fall in McCarthy, Alaska. In this urban-rural migration, Jeremy maintains an impressive resume, publishing poems, essays, as well as Edible Alaska magazine. He also directs 49 Writers, a literary nonprofit in the 49th state. In this conversation, Jeremy addresses the nature of his ice-obsessed poetry, and what it means to listen to voices of the north, as we grapple with a rapidly changing and uncertain world.

"Mickelson adds to the ever-more-robust American tradition of queering the wild and natural world. . . Here is a book worthy of every stolen and cherished encounter." -- Keetje Kuipers, author of All Its Charms  

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.

Pages