Thursday, November 20, 2014

2014 Fall/Winter Poets Coffeehouse

High Plains Writers, Backroom Productions and the Rapid CIty Arts Council invite you to 2014 Fall Poets Coffeehouse. Come and share a night of poetry and spoken word arts from 7:30-9:30 December 12 at Dahl Arts Center. Coffee provided by High Plains Writers.

Please join us in the Bruce H. Lien Cultural Cafe and enter from the Kansas City Street entrance.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Demographics of a Poetry Anthology

Our annual poetry contest is open to everyone, but is primarily advertised in Rapid City. It's no surprise that most of the poets have some connection to Rapid City or other parts of South Dakota. Some were born here and moved away, some moved back here after moving away, some moved here from other places and some were just passing through. Today our to-be-anthologized poets can be found as far away as Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Peru as well as in the states Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Vermont and also in Washington, D.C. Rapid City is the most heavily represented part of South Dakota but the poets can be found in other SD cities as well: Sioux Falls, Brookings, Vermillion, Pierre and some smaller towns, too. Smaller than Vermillion you say? Yes. Let’s face it, it’s not that hard to do in South Dakota.

For vocations some of our poets make their living with words as editors, journalists, and freelance writers. There are teachers and students. Others are or were librarians, ranchers, military personnel, a nurse and an electrician. More than one came back to poetry after retirement.

The poems themselves are wide ranging in form and texture. Many celebrate the beauty of the natural world. Some tell stories of the past or present, some capture small moments in time.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Robert Furrow, Man of Many Categories: Military, Retired, Published, World-travelled, Octogenarian, South Dakota Returnee

Poet: Robert Furrow
Poem: Little Man
Award: 2011, Honorable Mention

"I am 87 years old, and wrote some poems while attending New Underwood High School, but let my interest drop after that.  I graduated in 1944, then enlisted in the Navy.  I liked it so I stayed for 30 years, then worked another 20 years in Civil Service for the Navy.
About 1975 I got interested in poetry again, as well as lyric writing. Several entries to a Nashville contest got nowhere.
Then while I was living in Pennsylvania, a friend got me started posting poems on line, at Prose-n-Poetry.

I built quite a collection and got some very nice critiques from other poets. Then in 2002, Prose-n-Poetry decided to publish an anthology, called "Tides of the Heart, the Best of Prose-n-Poetry." They selected four of my poems, and I even got a little royalty money from that.
That was the year I moved to Spearfish, and joined the Spearfish Writers Group. One of our exercises was to write a short story.  My story kept getting longer and longer so I finally turned it into a book.  I published it in 2009, under the title "The Accidental Executioner."  I call it a murder-mystery-romance novel.

When I found I could get a book published I decided to collect all my other works and put them in a book. In 2012 I published "Lyrics, Limericks and Poems."  Little Man is included in the book. As a matter of interest, I submitted Little Man to Cowboy Poetry and they rejected it. They said, not because it was a bad poem, but it didn't fit their guidelines."

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Few Words From Our Award Winners

In case any of the writers are curious about their fellow authors who will be represented in the anthology with them, I thought I might post some of the biographical information that is coming in. I'll start with our very first 1st place winner followed by the first person to respond to the request for info, who happens to be the 3rd place winner of this year.

Poet: Bill Donovan
Poem: Palmistry
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.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

eBook Timeline

My first attempt to change the appearance of this blog did not go quite as planned. I have not given up--a priority to post content has merely postponed the effort.

eBook Update:
I have enjoyed reading the material that has been filtering in. It's been great learning about the various authors and reading the poems, some for the first time. There really have been some excellent poems come through our contest.

Tentative Timeline:

June 7-15         send a request-for-info reminder to authors who have expressed interest in project
June 25             assume all material received is what we have to work with
June 26-July 1   scan poems we weren't able to find electronic copies of, scan posters
July 1-31           take care of all editing, basic design, layout and naming.
July 1-Aug 31    learn everything about epublishing possible. format and publish book

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Summer Poetry Project #1

One of our summer projects this year is to compile all of the award winning poems from our annual poetry contest dating back to 2002 and publishing them in an ebook. We are looking at a book consisting of 58 poems, including the honorable mentions.

Out of 50 writers to be included, I have been able to contact 19. I have heard back from 6 of them, and talked to another 3.  I’ve been asked some questions about the book, but there is not a lot to tell yet.  I knew tracking down some of the writers was going to be tricky, so that is actually our starting point.  I hope to come up with a timeline and keep people posted with the progress at this site.

The general plan is this: we want to publish an ebook of 58 poems, subdivided by images of posters for the contests. Jason agreed to write an introduction telling a little about High Plains Writers and the origin of the contest.  we would like to include writer bios. along with anything the writers might like to say about their poems, the contest, or writing in general.

High Plains Writers will need to have a formal group meeting to figure out all of the details. We have a publisher in mind, a local start-up that isn’t quite started yet.  If that doesn’t work out, we will self-publish.

Here is a list of writers I have no idea how to contact. I haven’t googled them yet. If anyone recognizes any of these people, please have them contact one of us or send us a message on facebook.

Greg Hanson, Brandyn Johnson, Robert Nelson, Jess Satrang

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Another Rambling Non Sequitur

Well, gentle reader, we have, once again, taken the art of story telling and flogged it like a two-bit whore in an alleyway.  By which, I mean, a few members of the High Plains Writers got together last Friday and took part in one of our favorite writing exercises.  I don't know if there is a formal name for it, but I like to call it Blind Writing.

The concept is simple.  Take a piece of paper and write three to four lines of fiction, then fold the paper so only the last line is showing.  Hand it off to the next author and they use the last line to write another set of lines, after which they again fold the paper so the last line is showing.  Rinse, repeat.  Do so until you have either filled the page or until you collapse from exhaustion. 

Our latest Frankensteinian effort is posted below.  A transcript follows for those who don't want to play scrawl crawl with the original.

Everything was just peachy-keen that Spring day until everyone realized
that the shrimp-boil had been compromised.  This would be no big deal
except that there wasn't any toilet paper in any of the stalls, so
she reached under the stall and grabbed the ankle of the person
next to her.  After wrestling their socks off, she wiped and ran.
She didn't realize until three blocks later that she had left her
chihuahua behind and was still holding the stranger's shoe.  No matter.
In the mean time, while holding the stranger's shoe, I turned
around to look at the chihuahua. "Well, I guess we'll just
have to go our own way."  So we walked in the other direction
because our hemorrhoids were hurting and we needed
a soft place to sit.  We went home, put preparation H 
on our butts and watched "Game of Thrones."
This would have been fine except for the fact that there was also a
Ru Paul marathon on so we flipped for it: the loser would have to
run out for more shitter paper and pixie stix which were on sale at
Come-n-go for $1.99 if you also purchased a Big Gulp.
But that would never satisfy her for long.  She knew
that only the refreshing taste of avocado rice milk would
keep her going.  The very idea of putting anything less in her
was beyond thought.  Only the finest, most expensive
amaretto was good enough for tiramisu that she would eat.
Or was it? She thought for a moment.  Maybe just
a smidgen of Baily's Irish Cream might give
the tiramisu a kick.  She sipped on her vodka.
What she really needed was to get laid
by that hot dude at the gym.  "Good luck," said the weird
asymmetrically-faced weird checkout dude at Albertson's.
She wasn't sure that was a sign of hop, but she'd take
any bit of hope she could.

There you go.  Another tale of daring don't.  Stay tuned for future endeavors of hilarity.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

2014 High Plains Writers Winners of the 16th Annual Juried Poetry Award

2014 Winners of the 16th Annual High Plains Writers Juried Poetry Awards

First Prize: Mary Henson
     for: Buffalo Heart Dissection

Second Prize: Kacie Svoboda
      for: Songs you almost remember

Third Prize: Bradley Soule
      for: The Graves at Hiawatha Asylum

Honorable Mention: Bret Steven Whitmore
      for: Our Unsewn Merit Badge

We would like to thank all contributors and ask that you continue your interest in poetry as an art and contribute again to our contest. We loved the entries and the practice of judging a poetry contest is immanently fraught with challenges. If you didn't win this year, we welcome you back next year.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring Poet's Coffeehouse

High Plains Writers, Backroom Productions, and the Rapid City Arts Council present:

The Spring Poet's Coffeehouse 

April 18,  7:30 pm  in the Lien Cultural Cafe at the Dahl.

Come join us to share and enjoy the poetry of local artists.

Sign up to read at the event.

High Plains Writers will annouce the winners of the 16th annual juried poetry contest at this Spring poetry event.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March 4, 2014

Call for Submissions

The High Plains Writers sponsors the 16th Annual poetry competition this April with cash and prizes totaling $100. The deadline for submissions is 4 pm MDT April 14, 2014.

Submissions may be sent by mail to:
                                                         High Plains Writers
                                                               Jason Walker
                                                               700 Fairview Street
                                                               Rapid City, SD 57701
Submissions will also be accepted electronically when sent to:

The work to be considered should be included in the body of the email. Submissions sent as attachments will be considered only if they can be easily opened. It is up to the contestant to determine what can or cannot be easily opened. Submissions that are sent as attachments that do not open, open poorly or contain questionable file extensions will not be considered for the contest.
The requirements of the contest are: Each poet may submit one (1) poem of 50 lines or less in any style. Any submissions in excess of either rule will not be considered.
Judging will be done by members of the High Plains Writers.
Winners will be announced during the Spring Poets Coffeehouse held at the Dahl Arts Center on Friday, April 18, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. The Coffeehouse will feature poetry readings by those who sign up.. Winners of the 16th Annual HPW Poetry competition able to attend will be asked to read their winning works. If the writers are not available, the winning poems will be read by members of High Plains Writers.
The Spring Poets Coffeehouse is sponsored in part by Backroom Productions and the Rapid City Arts Council..