The Brinton Museum’s Meet the Artist program continues this spring with featured guest, former Montana Poet Laureate (2009-2011) Henry “Hank” Real Bird of the Crow Nation. Real Bird will read selections of his poetry and speak with visitors about his writing and life on Sunday, April 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Building’s third-floor Jacomien Mars Reception Gallery.
A former rodeo cowboy, Real Bird draws inspiration for his writing from the land of the Little Bighorn Valley. Horses feature heavily in Real Bird’s work; he raises bucking horses on Yellow Leggins Creek in the Wolf Teeth Mountains of Montana, and he once traveled more than 400 miles on horseback to distribute his poetry. He embraces his Crow heritage and still speaks Crow as his primary language, which he feels has been instrumental to his poetry. His works have been published in various anthologies, poetry collections and children’s books as well as other articles, tapes and CDs. His poem “Driftwood Feelin’” was published in the United States of Poetry: The Land and the People. Other notable works by Real Bird are “Red Scarf,” “Thought,” and “Tail That’s Light.”
Real Bird holds a master’s degree in general education from Montana State University, Billings. He was the interim president at Little Big Horn College from 2001 to 2002 and has taught kindergarten to college students. He has shared his work and the Crow language with thousands of students and teachers throughout Montana. In 1996, Hank received the Western Heritage Award for the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.