Spotlighting both established and emerging writers from Montana and the western U.S., Words Out West offers listeners a wide range of literary forms, genres, and styles. In each episode, our talented writers present poems, fiction, nonfiction, radio plays, songs, and other modes of verbal expression

Welcome to Words Out West, a podcast bringing you original writings from the Rocky Mountains and beyond.

A rapping cowboy, a river-guiding novelist and a bus-riding Poet Laureate are just a few of the folks you’ll hear from on Words Out West.

  • A Love Affair With Prison

    In this episode, a butte native reflects on the twenty years she spent in almost every state prison in California—teaching and performing theatre.

    This episode contains some adult language and themes, and depictions of sexual misconduct in a prison setting, which may be unsuitable for some listeners. Listener discretion is advised.

  • In love with peace — Obliged to war
    The narrator in Sean Gallagher’s short story laments the damage done to his older brother after becoming a soldier — the brother who taught him, “That no one wins a fight.”
  • It’s All Just Noise

    In Jay Kettering’s audio play, we find that Phil and Stacey were never great communicators, so when they recount how they met, fell in love, and ultimately broke up, let’s just say, it gets a bit noisy.

    This episode contains some adult language and themes, and sexual references, which may be unsuitable for some listeners. Listener discretion is advised.

    Cacophony is performed by Missoula actors Nathan Adkins and Jasmine Sherman with musical accompaniment by Missoula musicians Paul Marshall Allen on violin and Craig Menteer on drums.

  • A Meditation on Family, Caregiving, and Secrets

    In this excerpt from Caroline Patterson’s novel The Stone Sister, the year is 1953 and a young couple is struggling with their decision to institutionalize their baby Lizzie, who has Down Syndrome.

  • Songs in the Key of Keys


    A selection of songs and poems

    In this episode, Caroline Keys and Nate Biehl share their original songs along with poems from Caroline and her young student writers.
  • One Sentence At A Time

    Chris La Tray doesn’t need many words to tell a damn fine story.

    In this episode featuring Métis storyteller Chris La Tray, we celebrate words, and the way even very few words, in the right hands, can capture the wonder in every single day.

    (From One-Sentence Journal: Short Poems and Essays From the World At Large and Descended from a Travel-Worn Satchel: Haiku & Haibun, as well as other poems.)

  • You Hate These Roads
    There Is No Story Until It Happens To You.

    In this episode, novelist Richard Fifield puts us in a car going way too fast up a narrow mountain road, and that’s only the beginning of our troubles.

    This episode contains some adult language and themes and graphic descriptions of a fatal car crash, which may be unsuitable for some listeners. Listener discretion is advised.
  • Words Out West Season 2 Launch Party
    Featuring the WOW Poetry Jam, hosted by Teresa Waldorf To celebrate the launch of its second season, WOW is throwing a party! Join us May 15 for poetry, music, free nibbles, a cash bar with wine and beer, and more at the way-cool West Side Theater. Starting at 7:30 p.m. some WOW poets from seasons […]
  • WOW Audio Showcase
    To raise money to cover production costs for its second season, W.O.W. is hosting the WOW Audio Showcase on Friday, November 12, at the Zootown Arts Community Center (the ZACC) at 216 W. Main St., Missoula, Montana.
  • Love And Gunpowder

    In this bonus episode, Words Out West’s own Jay Kettering writes about a kid who’s willing to blow up his world for love.

    Jay Kettering: The Church of Pancakes: part 3 of his audio trilogy Notes From the Huntley Project (radio play)
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  • Who Is My Dad?
    In part one of his radio play trilogy, My Dad and Pre-Socratic Thought, Jay recalls the crazy stories his father told him in an attempt to find meaning.
  • The Ticking Of The Clock

    In this bonus episode, Words Out West’s own Jay Kettering looks back to a time when everything was a mystery—especially time.

    Jay Kettering: How I Learned To Tell Time: part 2 of his audio trilogy Notes From the Huntley Project (radio play)

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  • A Mysterious Relationship

    In this episode, our season finale, Words Out West’s own Jay Kettering writes about a mysterious relationship.

    This episode contains some adult language and themes, which may be unsuitable for some listeners. Listener discretion is advised.

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  • Personal Landscapes
    In this episode, Mark Gibbons, Shaun Gant and David E. Thomas explore their own personal landscapes. One ventures to where there are no fences, one observes an explosion of life in her own backyard, while another stays close to the tracks. See More
  • Fleeting Nature of Time
    In this episode, David Allan Cates, Sheryl Noethe and Robert Lee mull over the fleeting nature of time. One takes a nostalgic leap of faith, another explains how life never stops, while another makes a plan for when he’s a ghost. See More
  • Grab Bag
    In this episode, we hear from Shane Wheeldon, Freya Jones and Chris Sand, three writers who are hard to put in a box. Therefore, it’s our first installment of the Grab Bag. See More
  • Searching
    In this episode, writers Sheryl Noethe, David E. Thomas, and Sarah Aronson are in the process of searching. One is searching for stories from strangers, another seeks magic from a natural phenomenon, while the other is tracking those who want to get to their destination in the quickest way possible. See More
  • Bold Women
    In this episode, a writer documents a real life, and in this case, a real glamourous life. Beth Judy: Myrna Loy: More than a Movie Star (chapter #9 from: Bold Women in Montana History) (non-fiction) Friends had advised her that the last name Williams was too plain. A friend suggested the name Loy, saying it came from a Chinese poem. See More
  • Self-Reflection
    In this episode, writers David E. Thomas, Sarah Aronson and Mark Gibbons meditate on self-reflection.

    One ponders which technological time-zone he belongs in, another celebrates the things that cannot be understood, and the other uses the mirror behind the bar to reflect.

    This episode contains some adult language and themes, which may be unsuitable for some listeners. Listener discretion is advised.

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  • True Love and its Many Forms

    In this episode, writers Shaun Gant, Mark Gibbons and Sheryl Noethe reflect on the many forms that true love takes, like an enduring marriage, the flicker from a candle’s flame, and even a drug-induced coma.

    This episode contains some adult language and themes, which may be unsuitable for some listeners. Listener discretion is advised. See More