Rick Bass

Rick BassRick Bass is a native Texan and the son of a petroleum geologist who moved to the remote Yaak Valley of Montana in 1987, where he has written more than 30 books of fiction and nonfiction.

Rick’s work has received O. Henry Awards, Pushcart Prizes, awards from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers, and a PEN/Nelson Algren Special Citation, among others. He’s been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation, and the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. He has had numerous stories anthologized in Best American Short Stories: The Year’s Best. The Wild Marsh: Four Seasons At Home in Montana, a book about fathering daughters in the wilderness, was excerpted in O, The Oprah Magazine. His nonfiction has been anthologized in Best American Spiritual Writing, Best Spiritual Writing, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Science Writing.

Various of his books have been named by the New York Times and Los Angeles Times as Notable Books of the Year, and The Ninemile Wolves was a New York Times Best Book of the Year. The Los Angeles Times named The Hermit’s Story a Best Book of the Year, and another collection, The Lives of Rocks, was a finalist for the prestigious Story Prize, as well as a Best Book of the Year by the Rocky Mountain News. Why I Came West was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. He is the recipient of a 2011 Montana Arts Council Artist’s Innovation Award.

His stories, articles and essays have appeared in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Narrative, Men’s Journal, Esquire, Gentlemen’s Quarterly, Harper’s, Tin House, Zoetrope, and Orion, among many others. He has served as a contributing editor to Audubon, OnEarth, Field & Stream, Big Sky Journal, and Sports Afield. He wrote a regular column for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, as well as for an online hunting magazine, Contemporary Sportsman.

Rick is a founding board member of the Yaak Valley Forest Council and Save the Yellowstone Grizzly, and he worked for many years with Round River Conservation Studies.

Beth Piatote

elk-river-beth-piatote-214-250Beth Piatote is a writer of fiction, poetry, essays, plays, and scholarly works. Her 2019 mixed-genre collection, The Beadworkers: Stories (Counterpoint), was longlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize and the PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, and shortlisted for the California Independent Booksellers “Golden Poppy” Award for Fiction. Her play, Antíkoni, was selected for the 2020 Festival of New Plays by Native Voices at the Autry, and she is currently part of the Indigenous Writers Collaborative at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

She is Nez Perce, enrolled with Colville Confederated Tribes, and a founding member of luk’upsíimey/North Star Collective, a group of Nez Perce writers and language activists. Her current projects include a book of poems and a novel.

J. Drew Lanham

J. Drew LanhamJ. Drew Lanham is a Clemson University Master Teacher, Alumni Distinguished Professor and Provost’s Professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation. A faculty member since 1995, Drew is an internationally respected conservation and cultural ornithologist. He is a past board member of several organizations including the National Audubon Society, Aldo Leopold Foundation, the American Birding Association and BirdNote. He is also the former chairperson of the advisory board for Audubon South Carolina and was a twelve-year member of the South Carolina Wildlife Federation.

Drew is a widely published author and poet focusing on a passion for place and the personal and societal conflicts that sometimes put conservation and culture at odds. Drew was named the poet laureate for his home place county of Edgefield, South Carolina in 2018 and is the author of “Sparrow Envy- Poems” (Hub City Press, 2019).

His award-winning book, The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature (Milkweed Editions, 2016) exemplifies his passion to define environmental sustainability and conservation in new ways by bridging the gaps between advocacy, education, inspiration and conservation.

His essay, “Forever Gone,” a lyrical treatise on extinction, was chosen as a Best American Essay of 2018. A contributing author to numerous periodicals and anthologies, he has been summer faculty at the Bread Loaf Environmental Writing Workshop (2019, 2020) and the Writing in the Ruins Workshop (2012). As a Black American, he’s intrigued with how ethnic prisms bend perceptions of nature and its care.

An avid bird noticer and hunter, Drew lives with his wife, Janice Garrison Lanham, in Seneca, South Carolina.

Pamela Uschuk

Pamela Uschuk Political activist and wilderness advocate, Pam Uschuk has written six books of poems, including Crazy Love, winner of an American Book Award, Finding Peaches In The Desert, recipient of the Tucson/Pima Literature Award, and Blood Flower, one of Book List’s 2015 Notable Books. Her collection, Refugee, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press.

Translated into more than a dozen languages, her work has appeared in over three hundred journals and anthologies worldwide, including Poetry, Ploughshares, Agni Review, Parnassus Review, etc.

Among her awards are the War Poetry Prize from winningwriters.com, New Millenium Poetry Prize, Best of the Web, the Struga International Poetry Prize (for a theme poem), the Dorothy Daniels Writing Award from the National League of American PEN Women, the King’s English Poetry Prize and prizes from Ascent, Iris, and Amnesty International.

The Editor-In-Chief of Cutthroat, A Journal of the Arts, Uschuk lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband, first Tucson Poet Laureate, William Pitt Root. She edited the anthology, Truth To Power: Writers Respond To The Rhetoric Of Hate And Fear, published in 2017. Other editing projects include the in-progress Contemporary Chicanx Writers Anthology, co-sponsored by Cutthroat and The Black Earth Institute.

Uschuk teaches at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. She has taught poetry to public school students on Native nations in Montana and Arizona as well as in undergraduate and graduate programs at Salem College, Pacific Lutheran University, Prague Summer Programs, Marist College, Fort Lewis College and University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she held the John C. Hodges Visiting Writer Chair.

In 2018, Uschuk was named a Black Earth Institute Fellow and was guest editor for About Place Journal ’s Spring 2019 Issue: Dignity as an Endangered Species in the 21st Century. She’s recently finished work on a multi-genre book called Of Thunderlight And Moon: An Odyssey Through Ovarian Cancer.

William Pitt Root

William Pitt Root Maybe it was being born in a blizzard then raised between the Everglades and the Gulf that did it, and maybe not, but William Pitt Root’s works from New Yorker, Nation, Atlantic and his many collections do reflect a life of extremes both within academia and beyond. While he’s taught at the University of Montana, Hunter College, NYU, Amherst and served in Distinguished Writer-in-Residence positions all over the country. he’s also been a Poet-in-the-Schools for the Navajo and Hopi, Crow and Northern Cheyenne nations and even farther from the Ivy Towers he’s worked intermittently in factories, a shipyard, a copper mine half a mile underground, and as a Teamster, a bouncer, and dishwasher. His work has been included in hundreds of anthologies and literary magazines, and has been translated into 20 languages, broadcast over both BBC and Voice of America, and funded by the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, the US/UK Exchange Artists program, and by a Stegner grant from Stanford University.

After the fateful Soviet incursion into Afghanistan, the Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky wrote of Root’s long, prize-winning poem, The Unbroken Diamond: Nightletter to the Mujahadeen, “You are the only American poet I know of with enough heart to address this subject. And while your lines may not much help those poor people, they surely redeem this nation.”.

Featured Guests

Mary Clare

Mary ClareFor 35 years, social scientist and author Mary Clare, Ph.D. has been a professor, scholar and consultant. A Fellow in the American Psychological Association, Dr. Clare has contributed over 100 articles to research literature. She is also a published poet, and has written three nonfiction books including 100 Voices – Americans Talk about Change (2011) and most recently Full Ecology – Repairing Our Relationship with the Natural World (with Gary Ferguson), due out EarthDay 2021.

Gary Ferguson

Gary FergusonGary Ferguson is the author of 26 books on science and nature, including Eight Master Lessons of Nature, which was called one of the best nature books of 2019 by the Chicago Review of Books. His 2014 memoir, The Carry Home: Lessons from the American Wilderness was chosen as Nature Book of the Year by the prestigious Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute. His 2003 book, Hawk’s Rest: A Season in the Remote Heart of Yellowstone, won both the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for Nonfiction. Decade of the Wolf was chosen as the Montana Book of the Year, while The Great Divide was an Audubon Magazine Editor’s Choice.

Charles Finn

Charles FinnCharles Finn is the editor of the literary and fine arts magazine High Desert Journal and author of Wild Delicate Seconds: 29 Wildlife Encounters (OSU Press 2012) and the forthcoming book of poems paired with the black and white landscape photography of Barbara Michelman, On a Benediction of Wind (Chatwin Press). His essays, poems, and stories have been included in a wide variety of anthologies, consumer magazines and literary journals around the West and Canada. He lives in Havre, Montana, with his wife Joyce Mphande-Finn and their cat Lutsa.

CMarie Fuhrman

CMarie FuhrmanCMarie Fuhrman is the author of Camped Beneath the Dam: Poems (Floodgate, 2020) and co-editor of Native Voices (Tupelo, 2019). She has published poetry and nonfiction in multiple journals including High Desert Journal, Yellow Medicine Review, Cutthroat, a Journal of the Arts, Whitefish Review, Broadsided Press, Taos Journal of Poetry and Art, as well as several anthologies. CMarie is the 2019 recipient of the Grace Paley Fellowship at Under the Volcano in Tepotzlán, Mexico, a 2019 graduate of the University of Idaho’s MFA program, regular columnist for the Inlander, and an editorial team member for Broadsided Press and Transmotion. She resides in the mountains of West Central Idaho.

Corinne Gaffner Garcia

Corinne Gaffner GarciaCorinne Gaffner Garcia is a Bozeman, Montana-based freelance writer and editor. Throughout her 20-plus-year career, she has explored the state of Montana extensively as a field editor for a travel book, owned and operated two monthly publications (Explore! and The Tributary), and covered stories for national and regional publications on a variety of topics, including outdoor adventure, architecture and design, parenting, food, lifestyle, and culture. Her work has been published in Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Parents, Fit Pregnancy, Women’s Adventure, USA Today Travel, Country Living, Martha Stewart Living, The Christian Science Monitor, and many more. Corinne is currently the editor in chief for Big Sky Journal and the managing editor for Western Art & Architecture.

Christine Holbert

Christine HolbertChristine Holbert is the founding director of Lost Horse Press and a founder of Spokane’s Get Lit! Literary Arts Festival. She serves on the board of the Idaho Center for the Book; founded the Idaho Prize for Poetry, an annual book contest; organizes creative writing workshops and literary readings; founded the Lost Horse Press Contemporary Ukrainian Poetry Series; serves on the Board of the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force, and has been interviewed on NPR about the county’s efforts to adhere to the International Declaration of Human Rights to maintain equitable relations among various ethnic and religious groups in northern Idaho. Holbert also collaborates with the Human Rights Task Force to host the Sandpoint, Idaho, celebration of 100 Thousand Poets for Change, a worldwide annual poetry and music event in which local artists in each participating community come together to express their visions for positive change on the local, national, and global levels.

Sterling HolyWhiteMountain

Sterling HolyWhiteMountainSterling HolyWhiteMountain grew up on the Blackfeet Reservation. He holds a BA in English creative writing from the University of Montana and an MFA in fiction from the University of Iowa. A Stegner Fellow, he was also a James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin. His work has appeared in volumes 1 and 2 of Off the Path: An Anthology of 21st Century American Indian and Indigenous Writers, Montana Quarterly, ESPN.com., The Yellow Medicine Review and The Atlantic. He is currently completing a story collection.

Tom James

Tom JamesTom James is an archaeologist based out of Gardiner, Montana. After working in the Southeastern US, Northeast Africa, and Southern California, he turned his focus to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Tom’s primary research interest is in environmental archaeology based on a long-time fascination with how humans interact with, adapt to, and change the natural environment around them.

Adrian L. Jawort

Adrian L. JawortAdrian L. Jawort is a Northern Cheyenne Two Spirit freelance journalist and writer based in Billings, Montana. They are editor and a contributor to the Off the Path Vol. I & II anthologies featuring up and coming American Indian and indigenous fiction writers from North American, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia via Off the Pass Press, which aims to find beauty in indigenous literature. She is also author of the dark fantasy novel, Moonrise Falling: A Modern Gothic Tale, and has a collection of short stories and novellas in progress.

Jesse Logan

Jesse LoganJesse Logan has a Ph.D. in ecology and is an internationally recognized authority on whitebark pine and the ecosystem supported by this keystone species. He was on the faculty of the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University, and he was a tenured associate professor at Virginia Tech in the forestry and entomology departments. He worked as a research entomologist for the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station. Since retiring in 2006, Logan has continued research and advocacy for high-elevation ecosystems of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. He is a Certified Interpretive Guide, a Leave No Trace instructor, and a Certified Yellowstone Association Naturalist. In the summers, he works as a contract instructor for Yellowstone Forever, and during the winters he works as a backcountry ski guide working out of Cooke City for Yellowstone Ski Tours and Beartooth Powder Guides.

Scott McMillion

Scott McMillionScott McMillion has been the editor and publisher of the literary journal Montana Quarterly since 2008. He is the author of Mark of the Grizzly: True stories of recent Bear Attacks and the hard Lessons Learned. His journalism and essays appear in print and online around the country and he is the primary author and editor of Montana, Warts and All, a collection of the best of Montana Quarterly’s first decade. He also edited Voices of Yellowstone’s Capstone: A Narrative Atlas of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, which was named the best book of 2020 by the High Plains Book Awards and the best nonfiction book in the Rocky Mountain region by the Independent Publisher Book Awards.

Doug Peacock

Doug PeacockDoug Peacock is the author of Grizzly Years, ¡Baja!, Walking It Off: A Veteran’s Chronicle of War and Wilderness, and co-author of The Essential Grizzly: The Mingled Fates of Men and Bears. A Vietnam veteran and former Green Beret medic, Peacock has published widely on wilderness issues ranging from grizzly bears to buffalo, from the Sonoran desert to the fjords of British Columbia, from the tigers of Siberia to the blue sheep of Nepal. A friend of the late author Edward Abbey, Peacock was the model for Abbey’s infamous character, George Washington Hayduke. He was named a 2007 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2011 Lannan Fellow for his work on his latest book, In the Shadow of the Sabertooth: Global Warming, the Origins of the First Americans and the Terrible Beasts of the Pleistocene, for which he received a High Plains Book Award. He was the co-founder of Round River Conservation Studies and Save the Yellowstone Grizzly.

Cathy Whitlock

Cathy WhitlockCathy Whitlock is a Regents Professor in Earth Sciences at Montana State University and a Fellow of the Montana Institute on Ecosystems. She was the lead author of the 2017 Montana Climate Assessment and is internationally recognized for her scholarly contributions and leadership activities in the field of past climatic and environmental change. She has published more than 200 scientific papers on the ecological history of Yellowstone and similar regions around the world. A Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in 2018 she became the first person from a Montana university to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences.