South Dakota State Poetry Society
SDSPS was founded in 1927 by Dr. James C. Lindberg at Northern State College, and then incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1970. Pasque Petals was launched that year. The Society has shown its capability to consistently publish its official literary magazine, now the oldest poetry journal in continuous publication in the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. This official literary magazine has grown from a mimeographed monthly publication to the current two annual professionally printed editions that exhibit a wide swath of writers who use various genres to express their regional imagery and ideas.
SDSPS is directed by a board made up of nine South Dakota poets who select an editor for Pasque Petals, oversee the annual national competition of poetry (now in its 37th year), and recommend the South Dakota Poet Laureate to the Governor. Currently David Allen Evans is Poet Laureate, ex-officio member of the Board, takes part in meetings, readings and gatherings, and has a poetry blog for writers on his official site www.sdstatepoetrysociety.blogpost.com. Past Poet Laureates are Badger Clark, Adeline Jenny, Mabel Frederick, and Audrae Visser.
Our work grows from our Mission Statement. “For the purpose of connecting to all South Dakota writers, rural and urban, and contributing to the state’s cultural growth, SDSPS seeks to foster the creation and appreciation of poetry that appeals to the senses, challenges the imagination, and stimulates creative and intellectual thought.”
SDSPS traditionally held Spring Annual Meetings of its membership at various locations around the state. Beginning in 2009 the board decided to hold many more poetry readings around the state during each year. There is usually a winter reading at the Goss Opera House in Watertown, a spring reading at the Discovery Museum in Mitchell, and a summer reading at the State Fair in Huron. SDSPS has hosted an open mic at the Fall Festival of Books in Sioux Falls and Deadwood, and has moderated and hosted poetry track sessions there. In addition the board has held readings in Brookings, Miller, Faulkton, Wessington Springs, Redfield, Aberdeen, Chamberlain and anywhere we can get a group of poets together for National Poetry Month in April or thereabouts.
In 2010, board members decided to realize the society’s mission in a new way by publishing a larger body of work by four South Dakota poets to be selected through a competition. Four Quarters to a Section was born. The first judge was Larry Woiwode, Poet Laureate of North Dakota. He selected the winners Linda Kott, Rosemary Dunn Moeller, Joseph Ditta, and Kelly Henkle from dozens of entrants. The board voted to continue the competition and its second edition was judged by Rose Klix of Tennessee (originally from Rapid City SD) who selected works by Cynthia Stupnik, Beverly Letsche, Daniel Snethen and Diane Erdmann. In 2012 Elinor Nauen ( of Sioux Falls, now of NYC) picked G. David Jones, Joshua Kangley, Lois Hart and Ken Novak. These editions are part of the membership fee and are available for purchase at various locations across the state.