Poetry and American Indian Culture
6:39 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Crow Indian Culture in Poetry by Henry Real Bird

Wolf Teeth: poems by Henry Real Bird
Wolf Teeth: poems by Henry Real Bird

Henry Real Bird talks about Crow Indian culture and reads poems from his new collection, Wolf Teeth. He also sings a poem.

About Henry Real Bird's poetry:

The inner heart commotion of Henry Real Bird is poised in a physical and metaphysical terrain marked by the history, culture, language and identity of his Apsaalooke nation. At the same time, no one else contemplates broncs, Chinook winds, the Wolf Teeth Mountains and forgotten creek beds in the way that Real Bird does — his is a careful, astute eye that reminds us again and again of our own interrelation, of our responsibility to all beings, all places that make up our world and beyond.

— M. L. Smoker, Another Attempt at Rescue

Henry Real Bird's poems are of the moment and thus timeless. We look to Henry for a check of the pulse of things coded in words that work to decipher what he often calls "feelings." But are they more like soundings of the heart and of the earth? And then again are they poems, song, or prayers" All I know is I'm glad they are preserved.

— Hal Cannon, Founding Director, Western Folklife Center

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Henry Real Bird
Henry Real Bird

Henry Real Bird is a rancher and educator who raises bucking horses on Yellow Leggins Creek in the Wolf Teeth Mountains. He was born and raised on the Crow Indian Reservation in the tradition of the Crow by his grandparents, Mark and Florence Real Bird. Educated in Montana at Crow Agency, Hardin, Bozeman and Billings, he has a Master’s Degree in general education. Henry has punched cows, worked in rodeos, and taught school from Kindergarten to college level. He began writing poetry in 1969 after an extended stay in the hospital. He still speaks Crow as his primary language and feels this has helped in writing his poetry. Henry Real Bird served as the Poet Laureate of Montana from 2009-2011, and was named the 2011-2012 Academy of Western Artists Cowboy Poet of the Year. His previous collection of poems, Horse Tracks (Lost Horse Press, 2010), was named 2011 Poetry Book of the Year by the High Plains Book Awards.

The music in this program was written and performed by John Floridis.