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Montana Poet Laureate Mandy Smoker Broaddus on sheltering in place

Montana Poet Laureate Mandy Smoker Broaddus on sheltering in place

From the Montana poets and writers share what they're listening to, reading, and watching lately series
Mandy Smoker Broaddus

Mandy Smoker Broaddus, who lives in Helena and goes by M.L. Smoker, is a member of the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes. Smoker is the author of the poetry collection "Another Attempt at Rescue" (2005). With Melissa Kwasny, she co-edited "I Go to the Ruined Place: Contemporary Poems in Defense of Global Human Rights" (2009). Smoker is a practice expert for Education Northwest focusing on equity and inclusion for Native education in the Pacific Northwest and shares the duties of Montana Poet Laureate until 2021 with Kwasny in the first jointly appointed position for the state.

Mandy Smoker Broaddus, who shares the duties of Montana's poet laureate with fellow poet Melissa Kwasny, discusses what's on her reading list right now, and what she's been focusing her efforts on during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What book are you currently reading? Is there a book you are looking forward to pulling off your shelf? What about one you’re eager to order?

I have just started the Night Watchman By Louise Erdrich. She is one of my favorite novelist so I feel comforted in just holding the book in my hands. I'm listening to Malcom Gladwell's Talking to Strangers on Audible too. My dad passed on a copy of Crazy Horse and Custer by Stephen Ambrose that I will also try to read soon. I still have not read Ocean Vuongs' On Earth We're Briefly Georgous but I'm really looking forward to it.

What have you been listening to lately? What’s your go-to music and why?

Lots of classical music, which I generally listen to while I work. But also have to dance around the house to 80's songs every once in a while too. I love most musical generes, always return to the classics but love finding new artists and songs, especially with my 7 year old.

What shows or movies are you watching right now? Do you have a guilty pleasure that you’d admit to streaming online?

The best movie i have seen in a while was Parasite. Incredible, all around. I've returned to Country Music from Ken Burns and also like good dramas like Ozark and Little Fires Everywhere.

What are you currently creating?

I'm working on a poem that will be featured in a special exhibit at the Missoula Art Museum, alongside one written by Melissa Kwasny.

Is there a poem that has become your go-to during this time, or one you just can’t get out of your head? Why?

For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet by Joy Harjo. I very much appreciate this poem because i feel like it is clear, straightforward guidance that we all need right now. Harjo has given us a map, a constellation, a home to come back to: 

'Call upon the help of those who love you. These helpers take many forms: animal, element, bird, angel, saint, stone, or ancestor,' she states. And I do.


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Arts and Entertainment Reporter

Arts & Entertainment Reporter at The Billings Gazette.

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