Poems Across the Big Sky, an anthology of more than 100 Montana poets, gathers the voices of poets from all corners of the state, including cowboy poets, university poets, street poets and more than a dozen talented Native American poets. “Our goal in this publishing project is to give deserving Montana poets an opportunity to be heard and to give readers everywhere a generous sampling of Montana’s best poets,” says Jaeger.
The anthology includes many of Montana’s most famous writers, such as James Welch, Patricia Goedicke, Jim Harrison, Robert Pack, John Haines, Wallace McRae and Madeline DeFrees. Also included are mid-career poets such as Greg Pape, Sandra Alcosser, Paul Zarzyski, Tami Haaland, Greg Keeler, Roger Dunsmore, Melissa Kwasny, Lowell Jaeger, Sheryl Noethe, Ed Lahey, M.L. Smoker, Judy Blunt, Joanna Klink, and a large number of talented poets who have who have so far been unrecognized. “We are especially proud,” says Jaeger, “to showcase the vital voices of a dozen Native American poets and poems in four Native languages.”
In her introduction to the book, Margaret Kingsland states,
“Whether in Montana classrooms or in solitude, the beauty, complexity, and struggle of lives in Montana have inspired the remarkable variety of voices which comprise Poems Across The Big Sky. The poets included are female as well as male, Native American as well as non-Native, gay as well as straight, urban as well as rural. Some of them write in the Native languages of Montana, and also in English. Together they provide a portrait of Montana which challenges and prods us to a new, more inclusive and comprehensive understanding of the bittersweet essence of contemporary life in Montana Reservations, cities, small towns, isolated ranches, cabins, prairies, and mountains.” — Margaret Kinglsland (former Director of Montana Committee for the Humanities)