Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Resounds: I Am Montana

From left to right, poets Wanda Morales, Hannah Usher, Nolan Leonard, and Karmen Joki
Anna Paige
Yellowstone Public Radio
From left to right, poets Wanda Morales, Hannah Usher, Nolan Leonard, and Karmen Joki

Volume 3 of the I Am Montana: Student Reflections on Identity and Place, a poetry anthology, was published recently. We asked Billings Career Center teacher Wanda Morales, and student poets Hannah Usher, Nolan Leonard, and Karmen Joki into the studio to discuss the process of creative writing and creating a poetry anthology. Each of the students also read some of the work.

The I Am Montana project is part of the Young Poets programming in conjunction with Free Verse in Missoula and Young Poets, a poet-in-the-schools program from the Creative Writing department of Montana State University Billings. It features work of students from all three public high schools in Billings and from incarcerated high school age students from around Montana. The project seeks to elevate young voices and voices from historically marginalized communities. The anthology was edited by Dave Caserio and Nicole Gomez.

At the start of 2021 in person visitations were still not allowed in schools or detention centers due to Covid 19. As a result, his current volume was created via the virtual classroom.

The anthology has received good reviews from the Montana Quarterly and from the Montana Arts Council newsletter. Additionally, the anthology is used in a course entitled Ways of Knowing at the University of Montana. Former Montana Poet Laureates Mandy L. Smoker and Melissa Kwasny have participated in both volumes 2 and 3.

Corby Skinner is an independent marketing professional with an enormous capacity for assessing issues and creating positive, effective messages.
Anna Paige is a Montana-based journalist, poet and educator. She is originally from Wyoming and has lived in Billings for more than a decade, where she co-founded Young Poets, winner of the 2021 Library of Congress Award for Literacy.