Dances with Words Concludes Spring Series

On April 18, Mary Clearman Blew read from her personal works as a guest author at Montana Western. The following performance featured Roger Dunsmore, who read from his poetry collection on May 2, concluding the spring semester “Dances with Words” series.

“Dances with Words” is produced by English Professor Alan Weltzien. The series, free and open to the public, provides the community with a unique opportunity to listen to writers reading their own works, including Montana Western student writers.

“Mary has been a personal friend of mine for a quarter century. She took me on as an unofficial MFA student and helped me save my book,” said Weltzien while introducing the guest author.

Mary Clearman Blew visits with a UMW student after the performance.

Mary Clearman Blew was born and raised on a ranch in rural Fergus County, Mont. She has written and edited 15 books composed of both fiction and nonfiction. Her short fiction collection, “Runaway,” won a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, as did her memoir “All but the Waltz: Essays on a Montana Family.” Her novel, “Jackalope Dreams,” won the Western Heritage Award in 2009.

Blew read from her latest novel, “Ruby Dreams of Janis Joplin,” which was released in September 2018. In this story, Ruby comes to understand her family mysteries through her performances with a country-western band. Blew currently resides in Moscow, Idaho.

Roger Dunsmore signs books for community members and UMW students after the performance.

Roger Dunsmore taught at Montana Western from 2005-2012. Additionally, he taught at the Montana Women’s Rehab Prison from 2006-2013, earning him recognition from Humanities Montana. He was selected as one of their “Humanities Heroes” in 2012.

Dunsmore’s fifth volume of poetry, “On the Chinese Wall: New & Selected Poems,” is a collection from 1966-2018. His poem, “Tiger Hill,” was awarded an Individual Artists Fellowship from the Montana Arts Council in 2001.

“This is a beautiful book all around. Visually and graphically it follows an arc of spiritual beauty,” said Weltizen about Dunsmore’s fifth volume of poetry.

He read poetry that was inspired by listening to the people around him. Dunsmore said, “We don’t have to think stuff up, we just have to listen. Poetry is all around us.”

Each performance in the series starts at 7:30 p.m. in The Cup, Montana Western’s coffeehouse located below the library on campus.

Featured authors’ books at “Dances with Words” are made available for purchase by The Bookstore and Deb Sporich.

“Dances with Words” returns this fall with another exciting line-up of regional authors.

For more information about the series, please contact Alan Weltzien by email at alan.weltzien@umwestern.edu or call 406-683-7431.

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