South Dakota Poets of Merit

The results are in! Our 2020 Poets of Merit are Linda M. Hasselstrom and Zitkála-Šá.

2020 South Dakota Poet of Merit: Living Category

Linda M. Hasselstrom, essayist and poet
Hermosa, SD

Hasselstrom was nominated by SDSPS member Bruce Roseland, and of her, he says, “To put it plainly, Linda Hasselstrom is a living legend, not just because of her writing ability, but also for her outspoken advocacy of Western South Dakota life, its people and the need for environmental preservation … She writes from a woman’s viewpoint, always with a love of the land, community and the friends we are blessed to have. I believe Linda writes the way we all would if we could.”

Learn more about Linda and her work here:

2020 South Dakota Poet of Merit: Posthumous Category

Zitkála-Šá, educator, poet, and political activist
Born: 1876, Yankton Sioux Reservation, Dakota Territory
Died: 1938, Washington, DC

Zitkála-Šá was nominated by SDSPS member Norma Wilson, and of her, she writes, “It would be fitting for her to receive the first award in this category because Zitkála-Šá was the first published poet born in what is now South Dakota … while her education in the white world had separated her from her native culture, she affirmed her tie to her Dakota roots, choosing for herself a name that represented her voice, Zitkála-Šá, Red Bird. She announced her desire to sing for her native people and used the English language as a poet, writer, and orator to benefit people of the Native nations of the American land.”

Read more about Zitkála-Šá in our Spring 2020 issue of Pasque Petals.

Please join us in thanking these two remarkable women for their many contributions to poetry and South Dakota.

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