Community Leaders Poetry Reading

The 2020 Community Leaders Poetry Reading was canceled, due to public health concerns related to the Coronavirus that shut down the library and many other venues, businesses and public spaces. We look forward to 2021 and hope the series can resume. Stay healthy, connected, and surrounded by books!


The Community Leaders Poetry Reading was launched in 2008 with founder and Master of Ceremonies (and Foundation board member) Donna Davis. Scheduled during the month of April, which is also National Poetry Month, the event is enjoyed by readers and listeners alike. 


Members of the community are invited to select a favorite poem or one they've written and share it at this event, along with a short summary of what the poem means to them and why they chose that particular poem.

2019 Readers

  • Bonnie Bowler - Retired Latin and English teacher and volunteer for numerous organizations, including the Montana Historical Society and YWCA.

  • Loren Graham - Professor of English, Carroll College

  • Riley Meredith - Marketing & Communications Director, Montana Community Foundation.

  • Helen Fandrich - Owner, Montana Corporate Services and member of Lewis & Clark Library Board of Trustees.

  • Captain Rob Lawler - Manager, Salvation Army

  • Hannah Muszkiewicz - Junior at Helena High School

  • Ed Noonan - Helena City Commissioner, past Director of the Myrna Loy Center, and Carroll College theatre instructor as well as poet and playwright.

  • Jim Reynolds - First Judicial District Court Judge and former attorney.

  • Jill Roberts - Sommelier and Owner, Hawthorn Wine and Bottle Shop

  • Trish Sternberg - Lewis & Clark Library Business Manager

2018 Readers (10th Anniversary Retrospective)

  • Jim Smith (2009) – Former Mayor of Helena

  • Libby Goldes (2010 – Trustee, Helena School Board

  • Andy Hunthausen (2011) – Lewis & Clark County Commissioner

  • Bruce Whittenberg (2012) – Executive Director, Montana Historical Society

  • Ron Waterman (2013) – Retired attorney and member, Lewis & Clark Library Board

  • Joan Bishop (2014) – Former Lewis & Clark Library Foundation Board Member

  • Heather Dickerson (reading for Delaney Knudson who was visiting colleges) (2015) – Capital High senior and Member, Library Teen Advisory Group

  • Matt Kuntz (2016) – Executive Director, NAMI - Montana

  • Ella Smith (2017) – Campaign Organizer

  • Opal Winebrenner (2018) – Retired attorney/Member, Lewis & Clark Library Foundation Board


2017 Readers

  • Emma Brandt - Teen Advisory Group, Lewis & Clark Library

  • Terry Cohea – Board Member, Lewis & Clark Library Foundation

  • Christian Frazza, Director, Corrette Library, Carroll College

  • Emily Free Wilson – Ceramic artist and co-owner Free Ceramics and Studio Art Center

  • John Finn - Director, Lewis & Clark LIbrary

  • Mary Hollow – Executive Director, Prickly Pear Land Trust

  • Delaney Knudson – Teen Advisory Group, Lewis & Clark Library

  • Aine Lawlor – Student Representative, Helena School Board

  • Jim McCormick – County Commissioner, Lewis & Clark County

  • Rick Newby – Poet, editor and arts writer, and Executive Director, Drumlummon Institute

  • Virginia Reeves – Writing Teacher and Author, Work Like Any Other

  • Ella Smith – Community Organizer, Sleeping Giant Citizens Council

  • Sanjay Talwani – Journalist and Member of Helena School Board of Trustees

  • Corrie Williamson – Poet and Outreach Director, Alternative Energy Resources Organization

2016 Readers

  • Rachel Carroll-Rivas – Co-Executive Director, Montana Human Rights Network

  • Margaret Corcoran – Chef, Benny’s Bistro & 2015 Business Woman of the Year

  • Patty Dean – Gallery Director, Archie Bray Foundation

  • John Dendy – Songwriter & Upright Bass Player

  • Anna Doran – Owner,  Big Dipper Ice Cream & 2013 Business Woman of the Year

  • John Finn – Director, Lewis & Clark Library

  • Shiloh Hernandez - Sleeping Giant Citizens Council & Western Environmental Law Center

  • Hanna Ludlow – Student Representative, Helena School Board

  • Chere Jiusto – Executive Director, Montana Preservation Alliance

  • Matt Kuntz – Executive Director, NAMI Montana

  • Aiden Reed – Student Representative, Helena School Board

  • Jim Robbins – Journalist & Author

  • Kay Satre – Professor of English, Carroll College

  • Max Schmidt – Teen Advisory Group Member, Lewis & Clark Library

  • Reed White - Teen Advisory Group Member, Lewis & Clark Library

2015 Readers

  • Jonathan Muzzall – Public Services Assistant, Lewis & Clark Library

  • Linda Piccolo – retired drama and English teacher at Jefferson High School

  • Krys Holmes – Executive Director, Myrna Loy Center for the Performing & Media Arts

  • Gabe Furshong – State Program Director, Montana Wilderness Association

  • Jan Peccia – Co-Owner, Montana Book & Toy Company

  • Kal Poole – Managing Director, Grandstreet Theatre

  • Susan Good Geise – Lewis and Clark County Commissioner

  • Andres Haladay – Helena City Commissioner

  • Monica Tranel – American rower - competed in Summer Olympics

  • Becca Leaphart – Teacher, Capital High School

  • Scotty Tilton – Student Body President, Capital High School

  • Kirby Lambert – Outreach and Interpretation Director, Montana Historical Society, and recipient of Governor’s Humanities Award – 2015

  • Jenessa McElrath – Carroll College Student Body President

  • Lewis & Clark Library TAG (Teen Advisory Group) members – Delaney Knudson and Bridget Powers

2014 Readers

  • Joan Bishop – retired teacher and former Lewis & Clark Library staff, trustee and Foundation board member.

  • Kelly Cline - Associate Professor of Mathematics, physics, and astronomy at Carroll College.

  • Emily Epperson - Chair of the Social & Racial Justice Committee, YWCA.

  • Winston Greely - Videographer, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

  • Sara Groves - Freelance Writer

  • Sondra Hines - Curator of Education, Holter Museum of Art

  • Ron Lee - Retired Professor of English Literature, St. Olaf College (MN) and member of the Helena Education Association Board of Directors.

  • Jason Neiffer - Curriculum Director, Montana Digital Academy

  • Karen Powell - Owner, Triple Divide Spirits and founder of Helz Belles Roller Derby.

  • LeRoy Schramm - Retired legal counsel for Montana University System and member of numerous boards, including the Lewis & Clark Board of Trustees.

  • Savannah Smith - Helena High School sophomore.

  • Bruce Tyler - Director, Environmental Services and Laundry, St. Peter's Hospital