Anna Paige is a Montana-based arts journalist and co-founder of Young Poets, winner of the 2021 Library of Congress Award for Literacy. Since her first newspaper gig in 2003, Anna has been writing about arts and culture in the West. She has undergraduate degrees in anthropology and journalism from the University of Wyoming and a master’s degree in arts and culture management with a concentration in creative writing from the University of Denver.

Anna founded Pen and Paige in 2009 to document the arts by telling the stories of Montana creators, music experiences, and recording visual and performing arts. She has resided in Billings for more than a decade, where she teaches poetry in the elementary schools and is the co-host of Resounds: Arts and Culture on the High Plains on Yellowstone Public Radio.

Active in the writing community of Montana, Anna has taught writing and composition at Montana State University Billings, as well as classes through the Big Sky Writing Workshops. In 2016, she co-founded Billings Area Literary Arts, an organization dedicated to building and enhancing literary arts in and around Billings, and in 2019 launched an open mic event for poetry at Kirks’ Grocery. Anna is an active member of Kirks’ Grocery, an arts and community center where she was instrumental in installing the city’s first community refrigerator, stocked weekly with fresh-made foods, open to all regardless of ability to pay.

Anna is also an organizer with the annual Julia Louis-Dreyfest, a multi-venue music, arts, poetry, comedy, and craft festival hosted in downtown Billings, and has organized events for the annual High Plains Book Festival and Awards, celebrating the contemporary literary output of the American West.

anna paige
Photo by Ted Kim

An active performer in the Billings community, Anna holds the 2013 Montana Slam Grand Champion title, as well as the haunting honor of being the 2011 Walking Dead Poet Slam champ. She has been honored for Best Spoken Word Artist in Billings by the Magic City Music Awards in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2019. She’s performed spoken word poetry in several collaborative pieces, including a short act in Billings’ Fringe Festival fusing dance, slam poetry and street art, and several poetic pieces for Terpsichore Dance Company of Montana.

She is also a passionate advocate for the humane treatment and support of ex-racing greyhounds, having adopted four of her own over the years.

Site illustrations by Courtney Blazon.

Publications & Awards


  • Contributor, Collective Wisdom: Lessons, Inspiration, and Advice from Women over 50 by Grace Bonnie, 2021
  • Chapter 18 “A Multidisciplinary Approach to Teaching Poetry in the Classroom” in Cases on Emotionally Responsive Teaching and Mentoring, 2020
  • Flute, Climate Change Suite in Four Movements, Billings Fringe Orchestra, 2018
  • Publisher and contributor, Ekphrasis: A Collage and Poetry Chapbook, 2017
  • Contributor, Sandstone: An Anthology to Support This House of Books, 2017


  • 2021 Library of Congress State Literacy Award, Young Poets
  • Best Lifestyle Feature, Montana Newspapers Association 2021 Better Newspaper Context
  • Magic City Music Awards Spoken Word Artist of the Year, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019
  • Bozeman Dead Poet Slam runner-up, Oct. 2017
  • Zonta Club of Billings Artful Woman of Montana, April 2017
  • TEDxBillings featured speaker, 2016
  • Billings Grand Slam / High Plains Bookfest emcee & Sacrificial Poet, Oct. 2014
  • Montana Slam Grand Champion, 2013
  • Walking Dead Poet Slam Billings Grand Champion, 2011

Performances & Speaking Engagements

ENTOMBED | Oct. 9, 2022, studioLGX (Billings, MT)
Performance inside TOMB, a sculpture by Phoebe Knapp and homage to irrational number phi. Collaboration with Lee Below, Lea Fallow (sound project of Anna Paige), Matt Taggart, and Jon Lodge for a performance that incorporates violin, spoken word poetry, ambient drone, and amplified sound

Julia Louis-Dreyfest Poetry Jam | Aug. 6, 2022, NOVA Center for the Performing Arts (Billings, MT)
Host and performer on “Dis/Connect,” a collaboration between Lee Below on violin and Lea Fallow (sound project of Anna Paige) on vocals

Storytelling through Art & Dance | April 30, 2022, Yellowstone Art Museum (Billings, MT)
Q&A panel moderator following world Premiere of “The Great Race,” created by Lame Deer High School students in collaboration with Thresh First Voices, building an archive of First Nations storytelling for future generations

Oxidation Saturation + Re-Fraction | April 2, 2022, Kirks’ Grocery (Billings, MT)
Poetry, electricity, pulverization collaboration with Jon Lodge / Shane De Leon

Kirks’ Grocery Third Year Anniversary | Sept. 24, 2021, Kirks’ Grocery (Billings, MT)
Voice modulation and poetry with soundscapes by Shane De Leon

Anna Paige & Shane De Leon | June 17, 2021, Kirks’ Grocery (Billings, MT)
Kirks’ Grocery proprietor Shane de Leon kicks off his monthly Third Thursday summer series with a duet with Anna Paige. Featuring poetry, sound, loops, feedback, emotions, and friends. All original, all improvised. In response to the pandemic, outdoor event.

Poetry Jam Solos (Livestream) | Dec. 17, 2020, Kirks’ Grocery (Billings, MT)
Host Anna Paige and poet Nichole Almeda Morton chat and share poetry. Also featuring editors of Fever Dream Magazine.

Anna Paige & Shane De Leon | Sept. 4, 2020, Kirks’ Grocery (Billings, MT)
Anna Paige twists, loops, and distorts words and text while Shane de Leon layers sonic washes and baths behind her.

Virtual Montana | April 17, 2020, online event
Virtual event hosted on Zoom featuring performance and poetry discussion with Anna Paige and artist talk by Ellen Marie Kuntz.

Poetry Jam Goes Virtual | March 19, 2020, Kirks’ Gorcery (Billings, MT)
Live from Kirks’ Grocery, Poetry Ham goes virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Special jam featured livestream of Anna Paige and Wes Urbaniak reading poetry submitted by audience members, including musical improvisation and performance by Anna and Wes.

Twosday Duets: Wes Urbaniak & Anna Paige | March 3, 2020, Kirks’ Grocery
Performance featuring music by Wes Urbaniak with poetry accompaniment.

Twosday Duets: Anna Paige & Coralene Corbridge | Feb. 25, 2020, Kirks’ Grocery (Billings MT)
Poetry, sound, piano, and improvisational duet as part of series of performances pairing unexpected artists together.

Poetry Jam Open Mic | Dec. 19, 2019 – Sept. 22, 2021, Kirks’ Grocery (Billings, MT) Launched and hosted open mic for poetry and collaborative performances in collaboration with Waste Division, encouraging experimentation. Hosted each third Thursday at Kirks’ Grocery until Sept. 2021.

NEA Big Read | Nov. 4, 2019, Kirks’ Grocery (Billings, MT)
Discussion of U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s How We Became Human as part of community-wide celebration themed around a particular book and sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Twosday Duets: Anna Paige & Ty Herman | Oct. 22, 2019 (Kirks’ Grocery)
Kicking off a new weekly series featuring artists collaborating for the first time. Improvisational guitar, pedal, sound, and poetry performance.

A Reading of Their Own | Oct. 10, 2019, MoAV Coffee (Billings, MT)
Host, featuring eight-minute memoirs and nonfiction essays shared by women and nonbinary writers in collaboration with High Plains Book Festival.

Anna Paige & Shane De Leon | Oct. 3, 2019, Kirks’ Grocery (Billings, MT)
Experimental melding of sounds and words from Anna Paige and Shane De Leon. Also featured Melted Nard Puke with Michael Birdinground.

Back Alley Arts Festival | Aug. 17, 2019, Toucan Gallery (Billings, MT)
An eclectic community-centered event inspired by Billings’ urban atmosphere, with an emphasis on art, food, and music. Hosted Young Poets pop-up tent and performance of poetry and music with Wes Urbaniak and the Mountain Folk.

Julia Louis-Dreyfest Poetry Jam | Aug. 9, 2019, Craft Local (Billings, MT)
Organizer and host, as well as performer of poetry, pedals, and guitar collaboration with Shane De Leon.

Poetry After Jam at Kirks’ Grocery | Aug. 9, 2019, Kirks’ Grocery (Billings, MT)
Poetry after party host as part of the Julia-Louis-Dreyfest arts, comedy, music, and poetry festival.

Wednesday w/ Anna Paige | July 31, 2019, Kirks’ Grocery (Billings, MT)
Exploration of the question, “What happens when you read poetry to one another?” Part of a series of speakers featured monthly at Kirks’ Grocery.

Anna Paige & Shane De Leon | June 21, 2019, Kirks’ Grocery (Billings, MT)
Improvisational duet featuring sound, poetry, and electric guitar. Also featuring a performance by songwriter Charlie Smiley.

Cloudflowers & Friends | June 1, 2019, Bullwackers Lounge
Collaborative performance featuring thick soundscape of improv featuring several Billings-based musicians. Brainchild of artist Jeremy Pettibone.

Author Event: Sandstone Poets | April 6, 2021, This House of Books (Billings, MT)
Reception for poets who contributed to Sandstone: An Anthology to Support This House of Books.

The Big Read Book Discussion | Feb. 18 & 20, 2019, Kirks’ Grocery (Billings, MT)
In partnership with the Writer’s Voice and the National Endowment for the Arts for the 2019 Big Read, centered on the post-apocalyptic world of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven.

A Reading of Her Own | Oct. 19, 2018, MoAV Coffee (Billings, MT)
Host, featuring eight-minute memoirs and nonfiction essays shared by women writers in collaboration with High Plains Book Festival.

Julia Louis-Dreyfest Poetry Jam | Aug. 10, 2018, Craft Local (Billings, MT)
Organizer, performer and host of event featuring collaborative presentations of poetry during annual music and arts festival.

Hiraeth | March 3, 2017, Babcock Theatre (Billings, MT)
Poet with Terpsichore Dance Co. of Montana, exploring connection between women and nature.

A Reading of Her Own | June 21, 2017, MoAV Coffee (Billings, MT)
Eight minute memoirs and nonfiction essays from eight women writers.

AGAPE | Oct. 20 & 21, Stapleton Gallery (Billings, MT)
Poet and contributor of “Love Letters” station for a production by El’s Clay on the subjects of how to love ourselves, others and our communities, both local and global.

Ekphrasis: A Pop-Up Collage and Poetry Event | Sept. 15, 2017, 2905 Montana Ave. (Billings, MT)
Collaborative group show featuring collage artists and poets in living room pop-up show. Organizer, poet and performer.

Dreyfest Poetry Jam | Aug. 11, 2017, Craft Local (Billings, MT)
Spoken word poetry and live music collaborations, held in conjunction with Richard Dreyfest, an annual DIY music and arts festival in downtown Billings, organizer and performer, poetry/sound collaboration.

Inauguration: A Ceremony to Mark the Beginning | Jan. 20, 2017, 2505 Montana Ave. (Billings, MT)
Performer (spoken word and movement piece) during evening of theater and discussion.

Light Box Live | Nov. 12, 2016, Knotty Wood Guitar Co. (Billings, MT)
Part of Light Box Music sessions, featuring live musicians and poetry collaborations (poet and performer).

Terpsichore in Compilation Oct. 14 & 15, 2016, Nova Center for the Performing Arts (Billings, MT)
Multidisciplinary art show featuring live poetry, sketch art, music and dance.

In the Ever Now Aug. 12, 2016, 2095 Montana Ave. (Billings, MT)
Hybrid art exchange of local & visiting artists drawing on shared themes and experimentation to innovate contemporary storytelling.

Pulitzer Out Loud | March 11, 2016, MoAV Coffee (Billings, MT)
Coordinated and participated in a reading of works during community celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize.

TEDxBillings | January 23, 2016, Billings Studio Theater (Billings, MT)
“Living as a Pack” talk given at a TEDx event independently organized by Billings community.

Music for the Mountains: Defend the Beartooth Front | April 2014, Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co.
A variety of local bands and spoken-word artists perform to raise funds to defend the Beartooth Front from oil and gas development and hydraulic fracturing.

I Conjure a Stubborn Faith | Jan. 25 & 26, 2013, Andy’s Storefront (Billings, MT)
Theatrical performance as part of the Billings Fringe Festival featuring theatre, dance, comedy, film, visual art, music and poetry.

Arc of the Communal | June 9, 2012, Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. (Billings, MT)
Collaboration of performance artists combine the definitions behind the words arc and ark and how life experiences are carried like an ark carried animals.

Contact Anna

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