The 21st issue of Whitefish Review is edited by Lowell Jaeger, a founding editor of Many Voices Press and recent editor of New Poets of the American West. It features an interview with actor Michael Keaton, and also pushes the mission of publishing new writers. Jaeger is professor of English/creative writing at Flathead Valley Community College and is also the new Poet Laureate of Montana.

“Rising Voices” was a call for our most necessary and compelling expressions. The theme came from the inspiring example of high school writers from Browning High School in the heart of the Blackfeet Nation.

These young authors came together trying to discover what it is they have to say — what messages of value they have for the rest of us.

This issue hopes to encourage others to follow the students’ lead to find essential and captivating ways of expression. Below is a poem from Dylan Running Crane, now a freshman at the University of Montana.

I’ve Been Asking

Dylan Running Crane

I did not plan for it to be a beautiful day.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaThe wind and tide some kind of
thousands of miles away lined their
fingers together and waved at me.
I smiled to let them know I saw

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaathe sun is dressed up so lovely
with bright blue and white and her arms
spent reaching and reaching.
I let her know that I’ve never seen her so radiant.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaMy inside jokes play hide and seek with
the breeze. This is not secrecy.
This is a confidant I know within myself. Someone
always with me as much as my guts. As much as
my lungs.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaI’ve been asking for this. This
ten times a day rule of recognizing myself
and saying hello
even if the room feels like an arm’s length
away from collapsing.

I don’t know if I’ve finally hugged it close enough
or if I’ve left the room entirely.

My sister hugs her baby close.
My dad mispronounces a word and we laugh.
I’ve hidden my long-standing worries
in the melting snow, and with any luck,
I’ll find them later a little cleaner.

I did not plan for it to be a beautiful day,
but it was.