In 1927, Dr. James C. Lindberg found SDSPS at Northern State College in Aberdeen after publishing its official literary magazine, Pasque Petals, the year before. Directed by a board of up to fifteen South Dakotans, SDSPS selects the editor for Pasque Petals, oversees its annual state-wide poetry contest, and assists with the South Dakota Festival of Books. SDSPS has also vetted and recommended the South Dakota Poet Laureate to the Governor since 1959.
SDSPS, incorporated as a non-profit organization on August 8, 1970, focuses on the promotion of poetry across the state. Its mission: “To encourage and foster the writing and publication of poetry by South Dakota writers and to promote excellence therein; to arouse in students of high school and college age, interest in the creative writing of poetry; to foster or publish Pasque Petals, a magazine, on a regular basis, thereby continuing the publication which was begun before the Society was organized, which publication is devoted chiefly to poetry, to stimulate by such proper means as the sponsoring of contests, awarding of prizes, and by other means of encouragement, the writing of poetry; and by these means to aid in the cultural growth of South Dakota.”
Our magazine Pasque Petals is the oldest official poetry journal in continuous publication sponsored by a state poetry society within the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. This literary journal, which began as a mimeographed monthly publication, has grown to two annual professionally printed editions that exhibit a wide variety of poetry in a variety of forms that illustrate the emotional and intellectual insights of our regional, national, and international contributors. In addition to Pasque Petals, in 2010, board members decided to realize the society’s mission in a new way by publishing chapbooks to foster a larger body of work by four South Dakota poets to be selected through a competition.
In 2015 the SDSPS placed its considerable archives in the Hilton M. Briggs Library at South Dakota State University for care and to make them accessible to the public in perpetuity.
The SDSPS Board of Directors usually meets three times a year, in winter, in summer, and in fall during the South Dakota Humanities Council’s annual South Dakota Festival of Books. SDSPS volunteers facilitate the poetry track at the Festival each year.
The SDSPS organizes and supports poetry readings and events across the state, in schools, communities and prisons, and hosts a website: www.sdpoetry.org. Our work reflects 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.”
Prepared by Norma C. Wilson, Secretary, South Dakota State Poetry Society
October 3, 2020.
SDSPS Archive at Hilton M. Briggs Library:
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