The Write Question is a weekly literary program hosted by Lauren Korn that features authors from the western United States and beyond — including James Lee Burke, Maile Meloy, Thomas McGuane, Kim Barnes, Robert Wrigley, Jess Walter, Pam Houston, Barry Lopez and more.
Making Shapes From Silence: Kaveh Akbar’s ‘Pilgrim Bell’
This week, Lauren speaks with poet Kaveh Akbar, whose sophomore poetry collection, Pilgrim Bell, empties the self of the self — of one’s nation, or nations, of one’s family, of one’s knowledge — leaving only one’s hollowed, and hallowed, body. An early review of Pilgrim Bell states, “The poetry of Kaveh Akbar reminds you that the body is a temple and that the most astounding shit happens in temples.” Yes. Pilgrim Bell is astounding.
‘The New World’: Kelly Schirmann’s Tender Recovery
In this lively conversation, Lauren and Missoula-based poet, ceramicist, and musician Kelly Schirmann talk about about her newest book of poetry, The New World, and about her creative practices. A hybrid collection of poetry and prose, The New World follows Schirmann’s attempts, failures, and re-attempts at understanding and articulating an era of immense social upheaval, political corruption, and environmental consequence, as well as her place, as an artist, within it.
John N. Maclean Is Knee-Deep In His ‘Home Waters’
With Home Waters, John N. Maclean, son of Norman Maclean, offers a companion or parallel narrative to his father’s beloved classic, A River Runs Through It.
‘Ridgeline’ and Michael Punke’s Historical Imagination
Michael Punke’s Ridgeline is, broadly, about what is now known - though rarely talked about - as the Fetterman Massacre, which took place in 1866 in Wyoming’s Powder River Valley. The U.S. Army sent hundreds of soldiers, as well as women and children, to set up a fort in the region, eventually named Fort Phil Kearny, on what was the traditional land of the Lakota, the Arapaho, and the Cheyenne. Listen to Lauren’s lively conversation with Punke about his empathetic and nuanced snapshot of a rarely-heard history of the American West now!
One Of America's Funniest Gets Serious About Water
The Colorado River is an essential resource for a surprisingly large part of the United States, and every gallon that flows down it is owned or claimed by someone. David Owen traces all that water from the Colorado’s headwaters to its parched terminus, once a verdant wetland but now a million-acre desert. He takes readers on an adventure downriver, along a labyrinth of waterways, reservoirs, power plants, farms, fracking sites, ghost towns, and RV parks, to the spot near the U.S.–Mexico border where the river runs dry. Learn more from David Owen on this episode of The Write Question.
High Latitude Magnetism: Maggie Shipstead’s ‘Great Circle’
Clocking in at 600 pages, Maggie Shipstead’s Great Circle is the epic story of the fictional Marian Graves, a Missoula, Montana-born pilot, whose North-South around-the-world adventure is told painstakingly, achingly, and gracefully. This immense book, which spans multiple centuries and countries, is an enormously pleasurable read. Its generous narratives, pulsing with emotion and wonder, beg the question, “What will you do with your one life?”