History of SDSPS

The first organizational meeting of the South Dakota State Poetry Society
was held on October 5, 1927 in Huron, SD. The Society was founded in
1927 by Dr. James C. Lindberg at Northern State College. Its official
magazine Pasque Petals was first published in 1926 in Aberdeen, SD. Since
1959 has been the body to vet and recommend the South Dakota Poet
Laureate to the Governor. SDSPS is directed by a Board of up to fifteen
South Dakota poets who also select the editor for Pasque Petals, oversee its
annual state-wide poetry contest (now in its 38th year), and assist with the
South Dakota Festival of Books.

South Dakota Poet Laureates serve as ex-officio members of the Board, take
part in meetings, readings and gatherings, and have a poetry blog for writers
on the official site www.sdstatepoetrysociety.com. The current South Dakota
Poet Laureate is Lee Ann Roripaugh, appointed in 2015. Past Poet Laureates
are Badger Clark (1937-1957), Adeline Jenny (1958-1973), Mabel Frederick
(July-October 1973), Audrae Visser (1974-2001) and David Allen Evans

The SDSPS was incorporated as a non-profit organization on August 8,

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 meets three times a year, in January, June,
and in September during the South Dakota Humanities Council’s annual
South Dakota Festival of the Book. 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
June 11, 2018

Featured image by Petr under the creative commons license on Flickr.

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