Montana’s Newest Poet Laureate Writes But Also Rocks
The relationship between writing lyrics and writing poetry is strong, nearly inseparable, so it's no wonder that Montana would find itself with a Poet Laureate who is also a musician.
Montana Poet Laureate 2023-2024
Earlier this week, the Montana Arts Council announced that Governor Greg Gianforte had selected local poet Chris La Tray as Montana's next Poet Laureate for 2023-2024. La Tray is from Frenchtown and has been active in both the writing and music communities. He is also a Métis storyteller and enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians. You may have read La Tray's writing before--according to the release he was a contributing writer at the Missoula Independent. In addition to his fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, he also has an online newsletter, An Irritable Métis.
Chris La Tray's Writing
- Becoming Little Shell, Milkweed Editions (Summer, 2023)
- Descended From a Travel-worn Satchel: Haiku & Haibun (2021, FootHills Publishing)
- One-Sentence Journal: Short Poems and Essays from the World at Large (2018, Riverfeet Press)
- 2018 Montana Book Award
- 2019 High Plains Book Award (Best First Book)
- Finalist 2019 High Plans Book Award (Best Book by Indigenous Writer)
For more information about Chris La Tray and to purchase his books or subscribe to his newsletter, visit chrislatray.com.
Chris La Tray and American Falcon
You may have also seen or heard La Tray play with his band American Falcon. They have played in Missoula at venues like Monk's Bar and the Badlander as well as shows in other parts of Montana. In a recent interview with the Montana Free Press, La Tray says in the past the goal was to be a rock star and then write books on the side, but his "vision has flip-flopped." He acknowledges in the interview that music and poetry are "definitely two different sides of my personality." His band American Falcon has two albums available on Bandcamp, a self-titled album and Quadrillion.
La Tray will be taking over as Poet Laureate from the previous Laureate, Mark Gibbons, who is also a local poet. Both La Tray and Gibbons are writers with the Missoula Writing Collaborative.