The Big Read Blog (Archive)


Billings, Montana

Poets Lois Red Elk (left) and Mandy Broaddus Smoker at the Billings YMCA Big Read kickoff at the High Plains Book Fest. Photo courtesy of Billings YMCA

Montana's Billings YMCA kicked off its Big Read of Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine at the seventh annual High Plains Book Fest,  which this year celebrated  Native American literature.  Featured writers at the book festival included Assiniboine and Sioux poet Mandy Broaddus Smoker, Northern Cheyenne poet and educator Franklin Rowland, Crow Indian poet---and Montana's new poet laureate---Henry Real Bird, and Sioux Indian poet and actress Lois Red Elk. Here's Red Elk's answer to why she's a reader as well as a writer.

I make it a practice to read something new every day to fill my brain cells with the accumulated knowledge of human kind.  Reading is not only educating and entertaining, it restores my heart and soul, and it takes away fears and doubts.  When Sitting Bull said, "Let us put our minds together to see what life we will make for our children," my parents took that to mean I would read in both Dakota and English.

The YMCA plans to present more than 30 Big Read events---film screenings, book discussions, writing workshops and panel discussions---in five counties.  Visit their page on The Big Read website for details.


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