American Conversations: Celebrating Poems in Rural Communities

South Dakota

Partnering Organizations

The South Dakota Humanities Council, founded in 1972 in response to an act of Congress, is the only cultural organization in the state whose sole mission is to deliver humanities programming to the people of South Dakota. The Council supports and promotes public programming in the humanities; provides grant funding for community programs and research and discussion projects; and carries out the mission of the South Dakota Center for the Book (established by the Library of Congress in 2002) through reading and literacy programs and the annual Festival of Books.


The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center is a 501c3 non-profit organization located at 612 N. Main Street in Spearfish, South Dakota. Built in 1906, the opera house has gone through many lives. The Matthews consists of a fine arts gallery with 48 regional artists on the street level. Upstairs, the theatre continues to provide community plays, national performance acts and music concerts.

The Sturgis Public Library was established in 1922 and provides materials, information, programs, services and access to technology contributing to the life-long learning and personal enrichment of community members. The library’s service area includes all of Sturgis, Meade County and the Meade 46-1 School District, an area of over 3,470 square miles.

Stay tuned for photos, audio recordings, interviews, poetry commentary, reflections and more after U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith’s visit to South Dakota.

Public Events

  • Friday, October 5, 5 p.m. Spearfish, SD
    The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center
  • Saturday, October 6, 10 a.m. Sturgis, SD
    Continental breakfast on the patio at 9 a.m.
    Sturgis Public Library