Sandra Alcosser, Montana’s first Poet Laureate, talks about an impressive new collection of poetry just published by Many Voices Press, edited by Lowell Jaeger. The collection features more than 250 poets from 11 western states.
University of Montana professor Brady Harrison sums it up this way: In New Poets of the American West, we hear from Native Americans and first-generation immigrants, from ranchlanders and megaopolites, from poet-teachers and street-poets, and more. In fact, the West is so big, and home to such diversity that the deeper one reads in this anthology, the more voices and world views one encounters, the more textures of thought, emotion, and language one discovers, the less we may find ourselves able to speak of a single, stable something called the American West. Rather, we may find ourselves living in (or reading into) not one West, but many.”
Welcome to The Write Question, a program that explores the world of writing and publishing in the Western United States. Sandra Alcosser, Montana's first Poet Laureate, is today's guest.
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Sandra Alcosser's book of poems, Except by Nature, was selected for the National Poetry Series and received four national awards, including the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. James Tate chose A Fish to Feed All Hunger, her first book of poems, for the Associated Writing Program's Award Series in Poetry.
Alcosser teaches in the graduate programs of San Diego State and Pacific University.
Also featured in this program are readings by Montana writers Judy Blunt and Roger Dunsmore, as well as David Romtvedt and Kate Northrup from Wyoming.
Judy Blunt was the Whiting Writers' Award winner in 2001. Her collection of nonfiction essays, Breaking Clean (Knopf 2002), won the PenJerard Award, Mountains and Plains Nonfiction Book Award, Willa Cather Literary Award, and was a New York Times Notable Book. She received a National Endowment for the Arts Writer's Fellowship in 2004 and a Guggenheim fellowship in 2005. Judy's short pieces have appeared in Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, Big Sky Journal, and others.
In addition to 45 years of teaching at universities, a catholic school, and the state prison in Deerlodge, Montana, Roger Dunsmore was the Arizona Humanities Council's Scholar-in- Residence at the largest Indian high school in the U.S. on the Navajo Reservation. He has published five volumes of poetry, a collection of essays about Native American literature, and has been short listed -- twice -- to the governor for the position of Poet Laureate of Montana.
David Romtvedt served in the Peace Corps in Zaire and Rwanda and on a sister city project in Jalapa, Nicaragua. He earned an MFA from the iowa Writers' Workshop. He teaches at the University of Wyoming and has served as Wyoming Poet Laureate.
Kate Northrop is author of Back Through Interruption, which won the Stan and Tom Wick First Book Award. Her second collection, Things Are Disappearing Here, was a finalist for the James Laughlin Award and a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice. Northrup is associate professor of English at the University of Wyoming.
New Poets of the American West includes "poems about horse racing, mining, trash collecting, nuclear testing, firefighting, border crossings, buffalo hunting, surfing, logging, and flour sifting. In these pages you will visit flea markets, military bases, internment camps, reservations, funerals, weddings, rodeos, nursing homes, national partks, backyard barbeques, prisons, forests, meadows, rivers, and mountain tops." (Lowell Jaeger)
Read an interview with TWQ producer Chérie Newman on the Humanities Montana Web site.
The Write Question is produced by Chérie Newman.
Executive producer, Michael Marsolek.
Special thanks to Lisa Simon, David Moore, Barbara Theroux, and Kim Anderson.
This program is supported in part by Humanities Montana, enriching intellectual, cultural, and civic life for all Montanans. And by the Montana Cultural Trust.
This program included music by Springhill and Aaron Minnick.
Send comments to Chérie Newman
Guests on the The Write Question are writers, publishers, and illustrators living, or working for an extended period of time, in the western United States. The Write Question is a production of Montana Public Radio.