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State poet laureate seeks poems about cultural life in South Dakota

image of South Dakota landscape
Those who write poetry about the people, landscapes and cultural life of South Dakota are invited to submit their work for an anthology of South Dakota poetry that English professor Christine Stewart, the state's poet laureate, is compiling. The book will be unveiled at the fall Festival of Books.

Calling all poets.

If you write poetry about the people, landscapes and cultural life of South Dakota, Christine Stewart, South Dakota Poet Laureate, wants to hear from you.

She is putting together a book of poetry about South Dakota written by people who live or have lived in South Dakota for at least five years.

“It’s been nearly a decade since an anthology of South Dakota poetry has been done,” said Stewart, who is also a professor in the South Dakota State University Department of English. Patrick Hicks, Writer-in-Residence at Augustana University, did so in 2010 but asked poets who had already published a book to submit work of their choice.

What Stewart wants to compile is “a themed, grassroots anthology” titled “South Dakota in Poems.” The project is supported by the South Dakota State Poetry Society and the SDSU English department. The book will be unveiled at the fall Festival of Books and poems in the anthology will be considered for publication on the South Dakota State Poetry Society’s website.

Stewart encourages “anyone with strong ties to South Dakota” to submit one to three poems at https://sdsps.submittable.com/submit/147927/south-dakota-in-poems-an-anthology by March 1, 2020, along with a brief biography describing the author’s ties to the state. “I have seen great poems from people who have never published a book before,” said Stewart, who will be “looking at what it (the poem) says about our cultural life” as well as “evidence of strong poetic craft.”

The poems in the anthology will speak to cultural life in South Dakota: histories, people, places, landscapes, traditions, languages, habits and attitudes.

“I will use the anthology as a tool to promote poetry reading and writing throughout the state,” Stewart explained. “It will help initiate conversations about poetry in schools and communities.” As state poet laureate, she appears upon request across South Dakota and in neighboring states.

Works in the anthology will be selected based on the cultural significance of the subject or theme, the author’s residential ties as well as excellence in craft. Additional information on anthology and selection criteria is available at https://www.sdstate.edu/events/2019/12/south-dakota-poems-anthology-submissions-open.