Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Amanda Eyre Ward: Love Stories In This Town

Amanda Eyre Ward scribbled (as she calls it) for ten years before her first book was published. And she wants you to know that no matter how hard writing is, it's worth it. Four books later, Ward is scribbling her fifth in Austin, Texas, where she lives with her geologist husband and their two children.

Love Stories In This Town is Ward's first collection of short stories. Her stories take place in Montana, Texas, and Saudi Arabia, among others, and tackle subjects like terrorism, motherhood, and "grave matters of the heart" (Publishers Weekly).

To hear Chérie Newman's interview with Amanda Eyre Ward, tune in to Montana Public Radio December 31 at 7:30 p.m., or click here to listen online.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Brian Blanchfield: A Master of Poetic Intrigue and Inventiveness

by Lisa Teberg

Brian Blanchfield, the 2008-2009 Richard Hugo Fellow in Poetry at the University of Montana, possesses the courage to invite readers into the intimate details of his life. I confess that I didn’t give Blanchfield’s poetry adequate reverence before attending his reading. I respected the revealing nature of his poetry, but I didn’t feel an emotional connection until I heard him read and explain his work.

Blanchfield’s poems contain intriguing anecdotes and vivid imagery. "Letter To A Silvery Mime in Yellow," entwines the reader in his description of a mime in the subways of New York:

The sunniness signs on you somewhat more than silver did,
but these passers through carry pantries of selves along, miss
the pouring parasol, and think advertisements about you.

Blanchfield forces the reader to engage with the mime adorned in silver and yellow.

Similarly, Blanchfield devised a poem titled, "Velma." He presents his subject as:

The sweatered, squat one, remember, with glasses,
iterator of the dog’s doings, the dopehead’s score,
swiped often, but sound and blinking by episode’s
every end.

It’s not often that cartoon characters thrive in the stanzas of poetry. Yet, Blanchfield’s imaginative imagery puts Velma into our mind’s-cartoon-eye with her orange turtleneck, brunette bob, and keen detective demeanor.

Blanchfield’s poetic inventiveness is a continual process. During his reading, he provided our eager ears with excerpts from his current writing. These poems are inspired from a book titled, The Dictionary of the History of Ideas. He opens with an epilogue including a definition from the dictionary and follows with a poem. There is no doubt that these will be published in a celebrated collection.

I encourage poetry enthusiasts and even those merely curious about poetry to attend a reading given by Brian Blanchfield. If not, at least pick up a copy of Not Even Then and treat yourself to an inspiring read.

* * * * * *

Lisa Teberg is a post-baccalaureate student studying Creative Writing at the University of Montana.

Not Even Then
Brian Blanchfield
81 pages
Paper back, $17.95
University of California Press, April 2004.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lauren Kessler discovers life in the land of Alzheimer's

Last October, Chérie Newman talked with Lauren Kessler at the Montana Festival of the Book. Their conversation focused on Kessler's fifth nonfiction narrative about her experience working as a resident assistant in an Alzheimer's facility: Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer's (formerly titled Dancing with Rose).

Listen to the program on Montana Public Radio Thursday, December 17, at 7:30 p.m.

Or listen online. Click here to hear the program from the Montana Public Radio website.

The program includes music by Springhill, a Bozeman-based folk-jazz quartet, Aaron Minnick, a composition student at the University of Montana, and Michael Marsolek and Lawrence Duncan, members of Drum Brothers who present performances called Musical Dreamtime Journey.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Whitefish Review with Brian Schott

If you didn't get a chance to listen to The Write Question last Thursday evening, here's a link to the Montana Public Radio Web page where audio is posted:
Brian Schott talks about the Whitefish Review.

Brian Schott is founding editor of the Whitefish Review, a literary journal based in Whitefish, Montana, that publishes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, art, photography, and interviews, with a slant toward mountain culture.

There will be a launch party for the new/sixth issue of the Whitefish Review on December 17 at Crush Wine Bar in Whitefish.

Tune in to Montana Public Radio every Thursday evening at 7:30 to hear The Write Question. Or get a weekly link to audio by subscribing to this blog (see bottom of page).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lowell Jaeger talks about Many Voices Press and reads a few poems

Lowell Jaeger, poet, teacher, and editor, finds extraordinary humor in ordinary events. During this week's program, he'll read poems from his latest collection, Suddenly Out of a Long Sleep, as well as some new poems. He'll also talk about creating Many Voices Press.

Listen to the program on Montana Public Radio Thursday, December 3, at 7:30 p.m. Or, click here to find out more about Lowell Jaeger and his poetry, and listen to The Write Question online.