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Poetry on the Road Delivers Joy of Written Verse Across South Dakota

January 6, 2023

“Here, on this arc of grass, sun, and sky, I will stay and see if I thrive.”

  –  Bruce Roseland, “A Prairie Prayer

Bruce Roseland is thriving on his arc of grass, sun, and sky. In late August, the Seneca native was named South Dakota’s eighth Poet Laureate. As the state’s representative poet, he will serve a four-year honorary term.

Roseland celebrated his honor at the Festival of Books in Deadwood, where he also gave updates about the South Dakota State Poetry Society (SDSPS), founded in 1927 as the only statewide poetry organization. Pasque Petals, the society’s literary magazine, is published twice annually and is the oldest poetry journal in continuous publication in the National Federation of State Poetry Societies.   

Another SDSPS milestone at the Festival was the first event of the Poetry on the Road tour, sponsored by South Dakota Humanities Council, SDSPS, and other local sponsors. The tour will deliver poetry readings to people across the state, helping SDSPS achieve its mission “to foster the creation and appreciation of poetry that appeals to the senses, challenges the imagination, and stimulates creative and intellectual thought.” The next chance to experience Poetry on the Road will be Thursday, January 11, at Muddy Mo’s Coffee House in Yankton.

Reflecting on his history with SDSPS, Roseland noted, “I have been involved with the South Dakota State Poetry Society for 14 years. I look at myself as an ambassador for poetry. I think poetry is a very good venue, a very good avenue for people to express themselves, and to, you know, communicate to each other.”  

In reference to the mission of the poetry tour, Roseland said, “The idea is to provide a place for people to be heard, to network, meet face-to-face, it’s a good thing. So, that’s the idea.”

During each event, Roseland and other SDSPS poets will recite poetry for the audience. Afterward, an open microphone will be available for any audience members who wish to share their original verse. All attendees are encouraged to sign up for this portion of the event.

All tour events are free, all people are welcome to attend, and light refreshments are provided.   

After the Festival kickoff, the tour began September 27 with stops at Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City and Matthews Opera House in Spearfish. According to Roseland, the tour is scheduled to visit 15 communities statewide and will conclude April 16 at the BrickHouse in Madison. To view the complete tour schedule, visit Poetry on the Road.

For more information, visit the SDSPS website or contact SDHC at (605) 688-6113.

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