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Poet Laureate Reads At Tribal Library

Poet Laureate Reads At Tribal Library Poet Laureate Reads At Tribal Library

Montana’s 2023-24 Poet Laureate Chris La Tray was hosted at Poplar’s James E. Shanley Tribal Library under the rotunda Monday night, Nov. 6.

Librarian Lori Smoker emceed the event, introducing La Tray and welcoming the audience. Smoke Signal Studio provided audiovisual support and recorded the event. The event was sponsored by Humanities Montana.

La Tray is a Metis storyteller and an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The author introduced selections of his work with poems by local lights Lois Red Elk and Mandy Smoker Broaddus, also a former Montana Poet Laureate, as well as work by acclaimed poet Joy Harjo.

La Tray’s performance included poems from his book One-Sentence Journal, published by Riverfeet Press. The work was winner of the 2018 Montana Book Award and the 2019 High Plains Book Award. His next book, Becoming Little Shell, will be published by Milkweed Editions later this year.

According to a press release, the position of Montana Poet Laureate recognizes a “citizen poet of exceptional talent and accomplishment.” The award is honorific and includes a mission “to advance and support the poetic arts through outreach to and beyond the art and literary communities in Montana to promote the appreciation of poetry as an ancient and ongoing form of expression”.

For a video of the event, visit the library’s Facebook page. More information about library offerings is available at To learn more about La Tray, visit

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