Alan Weltzien Shares Range of Work at Dances with Words

Professor Alan Weltzien read various selections from his wide catalogue of published poetry and non-fiction pieces at the January 18, 2018 “Dances with Words” series event.

Alan Weltzien
English Professor Alan Weltzien read from a variety of his published works.

Before Weltzien took the stage, University of Montana Western Senior Matthew Amos read a short story from his creative writing thesis.

The story follows Theresa, a rare enthusiast of counter-culture in a small town, as she attempts to fall in love with the exceedingly ordinary Maki.

Matthew Amos
English major Matthew Amos shared selections from his thesis with the audience.

Amos described Maki as follows: “Average assumes that there are many others like him which is false. To be so bland could be considered an achievement if it was something people strived for, but no one ever would, and Maki certainly didn’t.”

Weltzien first read from “Thinking Continental,” a book he contributed to and co-edited.

The University of Nebraska Press website describes the book’s theme: “In response to the growing scale and complexity of environmental threats, this volume collects articles, essays, personal narratives, and poems by more than forty authors in conversation about ‘thinking continental’—connecting local and personal landscapes to universal systems and processes—to articulate the concept of a global or planetary citizenship.”

Weltzien’s piece, “Three Stations on the Ring of Fire,” is about “how the Ring of Fire is unified in a way that’s nearly beyond our imagining,” he said.

On his fascination with volcanoes, Weltzien said, “they connect us with the Earth’s interiority and our own.”

Alan Weltzien's books
Alan Weltzien has published many forms of writing including poetry, essays, and articles.

Next he read from a deeply personal essay he wrote about the last three weeks of his mother’s life.

In one poignant moment from “The Comfort Pathway,” he watches his mother struggle to eat hospital applesauce and reminisces about how good her own once was, “generous with apple chunks and cinnamon.”

He ended his set reading a selection of poetry which included “Swinger,” a poem that satirizes his failed attempts at gentlemanly swagger during a high school date.

He also read “Fire and Flood,” a particularly lyrical fever dream of destruction that juxtaposes the hurricanes in the southern United States with the wildfires of Montana.

The “Dances with Words” series continues throughout each academic year. For upcoming readings, please visit our upcoming Events page.