After Long Busyness: A Poetry Blog began in 2007 as a way to illuminate poetry in South Dakota — the poets, the poems and any other manifestations. The original intent was to provide a forum that covered as many aspects of poetry in South Dakota as possible, from the poets who make their homes here to those who simply visit for readings or write poems about their experiences here (Thank you, Mr. Kleinzahler).
Starting in October 2007, After Long Busyness — named for the Robert Bly poem of the same name — initiated a series of interviews with poets who have some connection to South Dakota. The first eight interviews in the series are compiled here and reveal an unexpected and robust diversity of voices from in and around the state. Poet laureate David Allan Evans serves as the bedrock voice of experience. Patrick Hicks pushes an international perspective rooted in the cities of the prairie and his inborn sense of optimism. Jim Reese’s big-hearted rural confessionalism tears down expectations of what “heartland” poetry should be. Chad Lee Robinson brings the haiku back from the throwaway caricature it often has become, imbuing it instead with a confidence that demands a new respect for the form. Likewise, Andy Thorstenson frees landscape poetry from easy cliché and trite description. Instead he writes from the point of view of someone utterly sensitive to the marvels of the wildlands we inhabit. Adrian M. Forrette provides the essential political voice of the social critic, following the ghost of Walt Whitman wherever it leads him. Christine Stewart-Nuñez’s poetic observations continually reach for a deeper emotional core, whether she’s writing about her travels in Turkey or tweaking the image of a supermodel. Wayne Miller, as the only poet in the series who doesn’t live in South Dakota, occupies a slightly different place. He makes his home in Kansas City but appeared at the South Dakota Festival of Books and generously shared his poems from outside the South Dakota experience.