Edited by Lowell Jaeger and Hannah Bissell
Poems Across the Big Sky II is the second anthology of Montana poets published by Many Voices Press. Editor Lowell Jaeger writes, “Reader, the anthology you are holding in your hand is an effort to uncover hidden talent, to combine novice poets and acknowledged poets, to pay homage to Montana’s many voices, many poems. With Poems Across the Big Sky II, Many Voices Press continues to serve Montana writers, bringing together diverse perspectives, lifestyles, cultures, from experienced and inexperienced poets, from the young among us, and from our esteemed elders.”
From the back cover:
William Carlos Williams famously asserted, It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.”
These Montana poems share the news we need to hear at this moment in our history, our shared lives. Reading this vivid, engaging, important collection, you will be brought into contact with the physical world time and again in often surprising ways. The wild startles and frightens, or it slows us down, makes us take notice, demands our focus. And the many Native American voices included here often summon a deeper spiritual connection to place, a sense of deep time that goes beyond the finite self or the pressing contemporary rush.
How do Montanans endure, even flourish in this outlandishly wild place? Many poems show the work of living here, whether at a fast-food restaurant or a ranch or the writing table (the root of “poetry” is making)—work as survival, work as a practice that reveals unexpected talents, work as a means of making sense of our brief but promising lives.
Love and humor also play their parts in dwelling in Montana, as evidenced by these poems. Consider the beauty of aging partners sharing their fully carnal love, or a young couple sharing their first kiss in a car, or the silliness and power of Coyote.
These poems provide the news we need to thrive in Montana—they are necessary as water, stunning as sky.
—Ken Egan, Executive Director of Humanities Montana