Poet: Bill Donovan
Award: 2002, 1st Place
"I was born eastern South Dakota, graduated from Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD. I taught on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation at Eagle Butte, SD for 33 years, retiring in 1996 at which time I moved to my present home right outside of Rapid City. I have been very content with retirement and recommend it highly.
About Poem: The setting for ""Palmistry"" is Progresso, Mexico. Other than that it is self-explanatory.
About the contest: I was very pleased to receive a 1st place prize. There was some money attached to that and I remember thinking I must use it for something special which I am sure I did but don't remember what!"
Poet: Bradley Soule
Poem: The Graves at Hiawatha Asylum
Award: 2014, 3rd Place
"In terms of a bio, I was born and raised in Vermont but have now made South Dakota my home. My wife Jennifer was born and raised here. We retired and returned after careers in psychiatry (me) and college teaching (my wife). Poetry has long been a part of our lives and we now devote full time to this.
In terms of the asylum, we have both written on this topic. We were living in Canton when we learned of it and were impelled to study it by our respective professional backgrounds. We undertook consultation with the Indian Studies department at USD to assure that our work would offend no one. Both of us have worked for the federal government in mental health, which (we feel) gave us our own legitimate interests in a federal insane asylum that had operated in what had become our home town. Our scholarly work (prose) was published in the South Dakota Medical Journal and Indian Country Today."
Denise's Note: Throughout the years there have been a few winners who I knew outside of the poetry world through friends, family or other activities in town. The majority, however, have been like Bradley Soule, someone I knew nothing about other than the poem written. Bill was somewhere in between. He's one of those people you think you know because of the familiarity of seeing each other at multiple poetry readings. When a regular stops coming, eventually someone asks "Remember so and so? Whatever happened to that guy? I haven't seen whatshername in a long time; does she still live around here?" Turns out with Bill we could have answered that question easily. He's one of the few people with the same phone number that he gave for contact info back in 2002.