Poetry Events: 2014 Festival

Poetry Lovers Will Have Plenty to Choose from at 2014 Festival in Sioux Falls

Ted Kooser

By Anna Wempe

Poets, both aspiring and published, as well as poetry lovers of all ages and interests, can find an intriguing event to attend at the 2014 South Dakota Festival of Books. The poetry aspect of the Festival kicks off with fireworks. That is to say, with animation. On Friday Sept. 26, Lawrence Diggs of the South Dakota State Poetry Society presents Animated Poetry, which weaves together poetry with animation and music. This fusion of colors, art, and melody brings poetry to light and life in a way that paper or voice alone cannot.

Looking for inspiration, support, or just want to set aside time to write? Look for the Dakota Writing Marathon, sponsored by the Dakota Writing Project, at 10 a.m. in Siouxland Public Library. This ticketed experience offers exploration of downtown Sioux Falls, writing, and the exchange of ideas with other writers. Bring walking shoes, as it lasts until 2 p.m, but don’t worry about packing a lunch as the writers will all enjoy lunch together.

Poets looking to share their work will want to attend the South Dakota State Poetry Society open mic event that evening from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bring poems out of dusty closets and shoeboxes, out of scribbled journals, or even typed-out on cellphones. Whether you come to listen or speak, whatever skill or subject, don’t miss this opportunity to share with and listen to fellow South Dakota poets.

On Saturday, the festival offers a variety of readings and sessions with local and famous poets. Fans of former United States Poet Laureate Ted Kooser should attend Mary K. Stillwell’s “The Life and Poetry of Ted Kooser” and then head over to “Readings & Musings from Two Poets Laureate” which features both Ted Kooser and current South Dakota Poet Laureate Dave Evans. Among other awards, Ted Kooser has won the Pulitzer Prize, the Pushcart Prize, and two National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowships.

The South Dakota Festival of Books could in no way be complete without a section of South Dakota poetry and local poets. Following the mass book signing Saturday from 1-2 p.m., Sharon Chmielarz hosts a reading of some of her work entitled “Poetry About the Dakotas,” which she wrote about a life in and love for the plains of South Dakota. These moving poems, both about the people and places of our state, should not be missed.

The South Dakota State Poetry Society hosts an annual contest for entry into a chapbook. This year’s winners won entry into Four Quarters to a Section, the reading of which will take place at noon in the Cascade room of the Holiday Inn in Sioux Falls. These poems cover a variety of subjects and display many styles, but all represent the thoughts and sentiments of South Dakota and its people.

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