• A Love Affair With Prison

    In this episode, Butte native, Leah Joki, 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

    This episode contains some adult themes, violence and references to combat and war wounds, which may be unsuitable for some listeners. Listener discretion is advised.

    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.”

    Morning Is My Favorite Time, short story from the podcast MT3K

  • It’s All Just Noise

    In Jay Kettering’s audio play Cacophony, 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

    This episode contains content which may be unsuitable for some listeners, including descriptions of parents giving up their baby with Down Syndrome to an institution in the early 1950s, . Listener discretion is advised.

    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

    Caroline Keys and Nate Biehl share their original songs, inspired by small town newspaper police blotters, flight attendants and boats covered in snow. And first poems by Caroline’s young student writers inspired by fast food, Covid-19 and Rock Paper Scissors.

  • 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

    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.

    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.

    (from the anthology: Evergreen: Grim Tales & Verses from the Gloomy Northwest)

    Take a deep breath, and hold on tight.

    Episode sponsor: Murphy-Jubb Fine Art, located at 210 North Higgins Avenue, Suite 300, in downtown Missoula. The gallery features the works of nationally renowned artists including watercolorist Kendahl Jan Jubb. To learn more about their artists and workshops, go to: www.kendahljanjubb.com or their facebook page at Murphy/Jubb Fine Art.

  • 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)

    (Dramatic reading by Missoula actors David Mills-Low, Anne-Marie Williams, Reid Reimers, Cody Hyslop, and Teresa Waldorf)

    In this battle between emotion and ethics—ethics doesn’t stand a chance.

  • 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.

    Jay Kettering: My Dad and Pre-Socratic Thought: part 1 of his audio trilogy Notes From the Huntley Project (radio play)
    (Dramatic reading by Missoula actor Bernie O’Connor)

  • 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)

    (Dramatic reading by Missoula actors David Mills-Low, Rebecca Schaffer, Will Tilton, Jessica Adam, and Aaron Roos)

    Only one thing is for sure—time is on his side.

  • 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.

    Jay Kettering: The Position of Mona and Vi (short story)
    (dramatic reading by Missoula actors David Mills-Low, Rosie Ayers and Robin Rose)

    Two women are passing the time with casual conversation until the topic turns to the question of why they are sharing the same space.

  • 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.

    Mark Gibbons: Open Country (poem)

    You can smell the sage.


    Shaun Gant: Waxwing Party (poem)

    Words take flight.


    David E. Thomas: Early August After A Dry Storm (poem)

    A walk across a bridge becomes much more than a weather report.

  • 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.

    David Allan Cates: Blue (poem)

    A long dive into cold water reveals much more than the impetus for stepping off the cliff.


    Sheryl Noethe: Flux (poem)

    We get the good news that nothing ceases to exist.


    Robert Lee: A Better Idea (poem)

    A husband is assigned an impossible task.

  • 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.

    Shane Wheeldon: Sumina, The Invincible Spirit (poem)

    The hero is tasked with slaying the evil one. Hold your breath and aim for the heart.


    Freya Jones: Caged (poem)

    The poet takes us in two directions.


    Chris Sand: Cow Cow (song)

    A song that gives Old McDonald a run for his money.

  • 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.

    Sheryl Noethe: Bus Stranger Fingers (poem)

    The poet recounts a conversation on a Greyhound bus and finds out there may be a math problem.


    David E. Thomas: Road Trip to Total Eclipse (poem)

    We find folks gathering to share in the mystery of a shadow.


    Sarah Aronson: Desire Lines (poem)

    The poet follows the tracks going across the lawn, and the tracks in her mind.


    Sheryl Noethe: Questions On An Airplane (poem)

    Here there is both the fear of flying and fascism.

  • Bold Women
    Beth Judy
    Beth Judy

    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.

  • 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.

    David E. Thomas: Legendary Glimpses in Eddie’s Club (poem)

    Sometimes a glimpse is not enough, and sometimes it’s way more than you need.


    Sarah Aronson: And Other Bodiless Powers (poem)

    The ancients said anything you can’t understand is cause for celebration.


    Mark Gibbons: Old School (poem)

    The poet attempts to separate the men from the Millennials.

  • 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.

    Shaun Gant: Aloof (poem)

    True love finds someone in waiting.


    Mark Gibbons: First Date (poem)

    We find someone who puts the “true” in true love.


    Sheryl Noethe: Fiesta Saggitariana (poem)

    True love takes on an alternative endurance test.

  • The Nature of Love via the Love of Nature

    In this episode, writers Brian Laidlaw and Sarah Aronson have come to understand how the nature of love can connect to the love of nature.

    Brain Laidlaw: Returning to the Sycamore (poem)

    A good old-fashioned love poem?


    Sarah Aronson: Flight Patterns (poem)

    When love becomes a washed-out road.


    Brian Laidlaw: The Reckoning Ball (song)

    The tea leaves have a lot to say about the end.


    Sarah Aronson: Flatland (poem)

    When you’re born in Alaska …

  • Sense of Sound

    In this episode, three writers have tuned into their sense of sound. The sound of memory, the sound of solace, and the sound of place.

    Jay Kettering: Doreen (as read by Nathan Adkins) (short story)

    The narrator gets broken down and rebuilt by a place. More specifically, by the sound of a place.


    Chris Sand: Radio Works Fine (song)

    It’s about dudes and their hard-luck lives, but how we can overcome.


    Robert Lee: Sounds You Can Feel (poem)

    A man hears the passing train cars of his youth, and as time chugs along, he keeps his eyes on the tracks and wonders where they will lead him.