UMW News BureauMontana Poet Laureate Henry “Hank” Real Bird will read at the Dances with Words series on Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. in the Swysgood Technology Center (STC) Great Room on the Montana Western campus. By Kaitlin Ens Montana Poet Laureate Henry “Hank” Real Bird will read at the Dances with Words series on Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. in the Swysgood Technology Center (STC) Great Room on the Montana Western campus. The Montana Western English Department sponsors the Dances with Words series, which features spoken word by both local and visiting writers and poets. The public is always welcome to the free series. Real Bird, a Montana native and descendant of the Crow tribe, holds a bachelor's degree from Montana State University and a master's from Montana State University-Billings. He is Montana’s third poet laureate. The poet laureate is tasked with encouraging the public at large to value Montana poetry and literary tradition through readings and presentations statewide. As a poet, Real Bird has taken part in the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev. and has published numerous children's books and poetry collections. Real Bird is a former rodeo cowboy and now ranches and writes in his native Montana. During the summer of 2010, Real Bird took his duties as poet laureate to heart and carried them out in a unique manner, riding halfway across Montana on a 500-mile horseback trip while handing out his poetry books along the way. Real Bird will share a selection of his poetry for the Dances with Words reading. Montana Western and local patrons fund the Dances with Words series. Following Real Bird’s reading, the next Dances with Words will feature Craig Lancaster on April 14, 2011.