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Arts & Culture

Resounds: Ed Kemmick, Alexis Bonogofsky

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Anna Paige

On this episode of Resounds, longtime Montana writers, essayists, and journalists Ed Kemmick and Alexis Bonogofsky sit down with hosts Corby Skinner and Anna Paige for a discussion of their work over the years.  

Ed Kemmick has been a newspaper reporter and editor in Montana for more than 35 years. After leaving the Billings Gazette in 2013 he started an online newspaper, Last Best News, which he shut down in 2018 so he could retire, more or less. He continues to work as a freelance editor and writer and has published two books. The most recent is Montana: The Lay of the Land, The Best of Last Best News.

The Big Sky, By and By: True Tales, Real People and Strange Times in the Heart of Montana is a collection of work by Ed Kemmick that tells a contemporary story of Montana through the eyes of everyday, extraordinary people who define the rugged individuality and the big-hearted kindness of the Big Sky State. Among the tales are those of Dobro Dick, the traveling troubadour from Livingston; Maryona Johnson, who ran a brothel in Miles City; Shirley Smith; and Evel Knievel, who even in death gave his hometown of Butte another thrill and a hell of an afterparty. Kemmick brings humor and empathy to his subjects, making them every bit as vivid for readers as they were when Kemmick sat down to talk with them.

Alexis Bonogofsky is a fourth-generation Montanan, goat and sheep rancher, and freelance writer and photographer, who lives and works along the Yellowstone River in southeastern Montana. Her writing and photography can be found on her website East of Billings and various news outlets and magazines including Mountain Journal, Montana Quarterly, Truthout, Buzzfeed, Farm 406, High Desert Journal and the new book, A Million Acres: Montana Writers Reflect on Open Space. For ten years she managed the Tribal Lands Partnership Program for the National Wildlife Federation. She received her B.A. in International Studies from Gonzaga University and her M.A. in International Development from University of Denver's Korbel School of International Studies.

Her conservation work was featured in the book and movie, This Changes Everything, by Canadian journalist and author Naomi Klein and in the recent National Geographic coal documentary, From the Ashes. In 2014, Alexis was awarded the Cultural Freedom Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe. Recently she joined the staff of the Quivira Coalition, an organization that builds soil, biodiversity, and resilience on western working landscape with a core philosophy of working in the radical center.