Active in the writing community, Anna Paige teaches writing at Montana State University Billings, poetry in the elementary schools, and creative classes with Big Sky Writing Workshops. She is an arts journalist for the Billings Gazette and co-host of "Resounds: Arts and Culture on the High Plains” on Yellowstone Public Radio. Anna helps organize and hosts the annual Dreyfest Poetry Jam. Her latest project, an open mic jam for poetry, kicked off in 2019 at Kirks’ Grocery, a progressive arts venue in downtown Billings, encouraging experimentation and collaboration across creative genres.
Shane de Leon is a songwriter, performer, and improvisor living in Billings, Montana. He’s performed over 1500 concerts in 20 countries and nearly all the states. A cross between Prince and Sun Ra with a splash of Talking Heads angularity. De Leon is also the founder of Kirks’ Grocery, an inclusive space on Minnesota Avenue for creativity and communication.
Who are your (literary/spiritual/personal) influences? Alternatively: Who are your ideal adoptive parents?
AP: Anne Sexton, Patti Smith, Kathleen Hanna … creatively I would want to be adopted by Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson …
SDL: Hakim Bey, Ursula K. Le Guin, Prince
Describe your psychic shielding—what, exactly, keeps you from succumbing to the forces of evil?
AP: Boundaries + witchcraft
Do you think the world is ending? Why or why not?
AP: Nothing lasts forever.
SDL: No, nothing ends.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
SDL: Too many projects.
AP: Greyhound farts.
Who is your desert island poet? Why?
AP: I wouldn't mind being stuck on an island with Henry Rollins. He’s a self-described “spastiqué” and is richly fascinating. Everything he says is poetry. Alternatively, I’d be damn lucky to be stranded on an island with Sharon Olds. She’s painfully honest.
SDL: Michael Birdinground. He’s real, he’s funny, he’s my friend.
Describe an irrational fear or superstition you just can't shake.
SDL: No fear.
AP: Forehead wrinkles. Also that spider I found burrowing in my backyard.
Catch Paige and De Leon performing together during Dreyfest Poetry Jam, starting at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9 at Craft Local, 2413 Montana Ave.