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Brian Calvert of High Country News reads more language books than blogs

Brian Calvert ©ANDREW CULLEN/HIGH COUNTRY NEWS
Brian Calvert ©ANDREW CULLEN/HIGH COUNTRY NEWS

What is your favorite blog?

I don’t read a lot of blogs, but one of my favorites is Last Word on Nothing, which is something of a science storytelling blog. It has a wonderful blend of essays and science, history and everyday experience. I spend as much time as I can in books, and because I’m currently undertaking a low-resident poetry M.F.A., these days that means books on grammar, prosody and the history of English. This helps me get a long view of the thing I love, language, and helps balance out the daily churn of information I get from the Facebook feed.

 If you could spend a week with any journalist, alive or dead, who would that be?

Joan Didion. She’s such a sharp observer, and I’d love to glean from her that process by which she comes to a place or story and somehow transmutes that into literature. She’s one of our best and is basically transcendent.

 What was your favorite story in the West last year?

The occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. It brought national attention to what I think is a very strange and dangerous undercurrent in the West right now, where a certain rural stratum of society is buckling. It forced a lot of conversations about what’s happening in the region, and to whom our public lands actually belong to, which is all of us. 

Brian Calvert is managing editor for High Country News and a fourth-generation Wyoming native. He has worked as a foreign correspondent, writer and audio journalist including extensive time in Cambodia, China and Afghanistan.