If ever there could be said to be a wholehearted consensus among the literati of Montana, who otherwise have sometimes been known to be territorial, adversarial, and contentious, it is that Ed Lahey is the state's finest living poet, its unofficially crowned laureate. His work has been variously described as being the melancholy voice of the worker, as the literary, earthly, and otherworldly best, as a celebration of human resiliency, with a universal sense of hope, strength, and humility, and as one of the most passionate voices in the landscape of poetry in Montana. One senses over and over in the work, real responses to real people, places, and events, responses informed by longing and love, produced through practiced craft. A native son of Butte, the most extraordinary and resonant locale in all the west, Lahey not only tells its story, but that of the whole geographical and emotional region, and through this true and authentic subject, converts, as does all great art, specificity to universality, by the application of strength and power, tempered by tenderness and sensitivity. His verse is strong and clear, and his song endures.