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.

  • Why the Village Appears on No Map
    In this episode, novelist Claude Alick introduces us to a place of mystery in the island country of Grenada—a village that appears on no map—a place that resides only in wilting memories.
  • How to Write about Sex and Death and Dreams

    In this episode, we pair writers who were born to be storytellers—poet Mara Panich and singer/songwriter Margi Cates, accompanied by guitarist Nick Barr.

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

  • How Stealing Laundry Leads to Success

    In this episode, a struggling writer has a breakthrough when she accidentally steals her neighbor’s laundry. A short play written by Bozeman playwright Greg Owens, directed by Missoula’s own Reid Reimers and read by Missoula actors Hamilton Clement and Az Sacry.

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

  • Three Minds Driving
    In this episode, writers Chris La Tray, Fred Haefele, and Chris Autio take us on three distinct and heady road trips.
  • I Don’t Understand Snow

    In this episode, singer/songwriter Spencer Kellum performs some ‘modern spirituals’ as Separate Circles, with piano accompaniment by Cole Grant.

  • Much More Than a Bartender

    In this episode, Joan Melcher finds her perfect saloon, and chats with the bartender who has the same name as his bar—Moose.

    A selection from her non-fiction books Watering Hole: A User’s Guide to Montana Bars and Montana Watering Holes: The Big Sky’s Best Bars.

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

  • The Glitter and The Glamour

    In this episode, we get up close and personal with Bobby Lee Springfield, a singer/songwriter who gives us the skinny on the ups and downs of show biz.

    This episode contains some adult language and themes, with references to alcohol, tobacco and drugs, which may be unsuitable for some listeners. Listener discretion is advised.

  • 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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