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Tami Haaland
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One of Governor Bullock’s assistants called me on the July 22 to ask if I was still interested in becoming the next poet laureate of Montana. I said yes, and I agreed to keep it quiet until the first of August when the news was due to surface. Once it became public, good wishes came in, many more than I expected. I thought maybe no one would notice, but people notice, and then there were a few local interviews, and I signed an oath of office to promote poetry in the state of Montana for the next two years. Previous... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
When I was a girl growing up in north-central Montana, I spent many hours exploring the prairie and the coulees surrounding the Marias River. Meriwether Lewis named it “Maria’s” River after his cousin who said “no” to his marriage proposal. I’ve always wondered if he chose the name because this river was a “dead end” in terms of the expedition’s search for a Northwest Passage. But now we pronounce it with a long “i” as if there is an “s” at the end Mariah. An expert told me the Blackfeet were probably the former inhabitants of the teepee rings, the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
A few years ago, when I was researching the early writers of Montana, I happened upon Dorothe Bendon’s small volume, Mirror Images. Born and raised in eastern Montana, Bendon moved to California in her youth to attend a Normal School and later, Mills College for “only a year or two.” From there, “she went abroad in search of inspiration and further culture.” She mailed her manuscript to Gertrude Atherton, a San Francisco fiction writer, who helped her find a publisher. Atherton then wrote the forward to her small volume of poems, beginning with this sentence: “Dorothe Bendon hails from Glendive,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
A month ago I traveled to Jackson, Wyoming, to participate in a conference devoted to art and patronage. My job? To provide a brief overview and discussion of ekphrasis, the practice of writing about visual art. Sponsored by Arts Without Boundaries, the conference focused on representational art and featured four top-notch artists, Clyde Aspevig, Jacob Collins, T Allen Lawson, and Tucker Smith, all considered “representational” or “realistic” artists. Featured speakers included Peter Trippi, editor of Fine Art Connoisseur, who spoke about collecting and patronage with an overview of contemporary realists, and Adam Duncan Harris, curator of the National Wildlife Museum... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Recently I spent a day hiking in the Beartooth Wilderness near my home in Billings, Montana. I chose a favorite route that begins in a canyon. The Stillwater River moves so swiftly over massive boulders that it seems to boil. This time of year it appears almost harmless because of low water, but in the spring the passage is dizzying, made more intense by the cacophony of water pounding against granite. It’s an entrance to a different kind of world from the prairie below, and the trail, bordered by a canyon wall on one side and the torrent of water... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
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Sep 6, 2013