Popular poet to read at ‘Friends’ luncheon

Popular poet to read at 'Friends' luncheon Elizabeth Burton Lewis, popular Yankton poet and educator, will present poetry from her book Laughter and Tears when the Friends of the Vermillion Public Library host their 12th annual Literary Luncheon in the community room of the library on Wednesday, April 18.

Seating will begin at 11:15 a.m. with the program following at 12:10 p.m. The deadline to reserve tickets (at $6.50 each) is Monday, April 16 at the library. Phone reservations to 677-7060 will be accepted.

Lewis, who dedicated her book to "those whom I have loved and those who have loved me," explains that her poetry reflects a lifetime of living in the small towns of the American Great Plains, a place where "there are few strangers" and life is nurtured by a faith in God. She says that she has been a poet for most of her life, since the age of 3 years when she and her mother spoke to each other in rhyme.

Laughter and Tears is a book of light but heart-warming verse dealing with everyday subjects as diverse as the four seasons, birth and death, cats, weddings and love.

Her first published works were stories and poems written for family members: "Grandma's Little Stories" and "What in the World Happened to Your Parents Before They Were Your Parents?" She has 18 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren who have enjoyed these special gifts.

Married to a Presbyterian minister for 55 years, Lewis has called South Dakota (the Lemmon, Sisseton, Watertown and Lake Andes areas), Washington and Iowa "home." She has taught for 22 years, including four years as librarian at Marty Indian School. She believes that "if what you write does not say something to someone, including yourself, it is not good writing."

The South Dakota State Fair has honored Lewis with poetry prizes on several occasions, as has the Federated Women's Club. She also won the Iowa Poet of the Year Award when she was an Iowa resident. Most of all, she treasures a prize presented to her by John Neihardt, the noted Nebraska author of Black Elk Speaks and the Song of Hugh Glass.

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