This weekend in SF provided lots of offerings for a book-lover, including an evening of poetry on Friday featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Ted Kooser and others. Saturday night gave us a panel of four authors and action-librarian Nancy Pearl, who shepherded Pete Dexter, Marilynne Robinson, J.A. Jance, and Joseph Marshall III through a discussion of the writing profession.
It was the South Dakota Festival of Books, the premier annual gathering of literary figures in South Dakota.
The evening sparked along with the mix of writers, with irreverent Dexter teasing the sedate Robinson, and Jance countering the high-minded discussion with more practical and market elements. One treat was when Pearl told a story about falling in love on the bus with Dexter's 1995 book, The Paperboy, realizing she was blushing and needed to read the book in the privacy of her home. Dexter took the opportunity to tease and flirt. It sparked me to buy his Paris Trout and have him sign it.
Friday's gathering was a bit more sedate, with poet Lee Ann Roripaugh leading a series of readings and discussions with Kooser, Bill Holm, Patrick Hicks, and Marilyn Chin. Holm generously used his time to feature a South Dakota poet, Leo Dangel, whose poem "Farming in a Lilac Shirt" prompted my purchase of his collected poems.
One treat was being joined by my friend Kent Meyers and his wife at the reception for Kooser and Robinson. One odd moment came Friday evening after the reading, when Kooser went to sign a copy of one of his books that I'd been given as a gift. The wife had already inscribed it, so he just added his "& Love, Ted." In all, the festival was just what I'd hoped for, only now it's over.