Skip to main content

SDHC Speakers Highlight Power of Poetry and Song

April 6, 2024

“Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them.”  – Dennis Gabor (1900-1979)

Perhaps no other quote better illustrates the interconnectedness of poetry and music. Two Black Hills artists and South Dakota Humanities Council scholars, Pegie Douglas and Sherl Cederburg, have devoted their lives to sharing the gift of poetry and music with the world. Audiences can experience their talents at two events this month.

On Tuesday, April 9, at 1 pm MT, the duo will present “Hearts of the Hills” at the Meade County Senior Citizens Center, 919 Harley Davidson Way, Sturgis. The program, which combines poetry and song, focuses on the history of the Black Hills and the West.  

On Wednesday, April 17, at 7 pm MT, Douglas will present “The Life and Music of Badger Clark, South Dakota’s First Poet Laureate” at the Lemmon Public Library, 303 First Avenue West. Both programs, presented through the SDHC Speakers Bureau, are open to the public and will provide refreshments.

Douglas and Cederburg have received numerous accolades during their careers. Douglas has recorded three CDs with Badger Clark’s poetry set to music. In 2019, she was honored with the “Best CD of the Year” by the South Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame for her album, The Music of Badger Clark, Vol. II. She was inducted into the Legends of Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame in September 2023.

Reflecting on her career, Douglas said, “I’m not a musician. I’m just an entertainer. I discovered Badger Clark in 2007, and I started putting his poems to music.”

In 2012, Douglas recruited other musicians, wrote the narrative of Clark’s life, and set it to music, which led to the creation of The Badger Sett Band.

“We developed our own little show, and we’re still doing it to this day,” she said.   

Cederburg was recognized as a finalist for “Female Poet of the Year” in 2020 and 2021 by the International Western Music Association for her album, Born to Ponder, and again in 2022 for her album, Wisdom in the Wind. In 2022, she received the Steve Thorpe Bronze Harmonica Award from the Hill City Arts Council.

Cederburg writes and performs original old west, new west, and gospel-based cowboy poems. She is available for cowboy poetry gatherings, churches, and other groups.

“I write and recite my own poetry,” she said. “I can make you laugh, cry, or at least think a little.”

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

Learn more about humanities programming in South Dakota by signing up for SDHC e-Updates!