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Reservation Dogs Composer Mato Wayuhi to Judge SD Poetry Out Loud Contest

Mato Wayuhi is the Oglala Lakota superstar musician who scores the watchworthy Reservation Dogs. He’ll return from L.A. to Sioux Falls week after next to judge South Dakota’s Poetry Out Loud contest, which is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and run by the South Dakota Arts Council, a division of the state Department of Tourism.

It is surprising that the South Dakota Arts Council can still celebrate an artist like Mato Wayuhi, given that his music sounds very much like the critique of institutional racism that Governor Kristi Noem and her ilk, against the good sense of most Americans, are trying to censor out of public life as “divisive concepts“. Consider the lyrics to Wayuhi’s “Hooky!“, in which he tells us paler-faced listeners, “Don’t you dare tell us to simmer down“:

Better pass the pie, not acting nice
Harass my kind with class divide and smash with strife
You don’t like the life we love and so you lube it up
With crude oil and the line of pipes
They wonder why Wayuhi gotta massacre the mic
Every damn time he write
‘Cause despite the plight, we strive with might
And fight for rights
Motherf*****, better keep my shackles tight
Motherf*****, better keep my shackles tight

[Mato Wayuhi, “Hooky!“, Scatterbrain, 2019, lyrics transcribed on, retrieved 2023.03.09]

Uh oh—I’ll bet fragile Kristi Noem would be critical of Mato Wayuhi’s race theory.

The Arts Council lists nine students from around the state who will perform poems at Poetry Out Loud at the Washington Pavilion on Monday, March 20, and enjoy Wayuhi’s critique of their stagework.


  1. Jeff Barth 2023-03-09

    Is it too late to sign up to read one of my poems?

  2. All Mammal 2023-03-09

    Never! Let us have it.

  3. Lucy M 2023-03-09

    Hallelujah! It’s about time we acknowledge the people who are truly good for South Dakota!

  4. grudznick 2023-03-09

    Mr. Barth, if you can read one of your poems, whilst walking downhill without getting all out of breath and stuff, that would be neato. If not, could you blog a poem or two here, for some of us who like that kind of thing? grudznick has been a close personal friend to several poets laureate, and considered becoming one myself just last year. I would find your poems enlightening.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-03-10

    Jeff, you may not meet the age requirements, but the Arts Council might consider you as a judge!

    Dakota Free Press also welcomes your submissions.

  6. Mark Anderson 2023-03-10

    POEM. Radiance of rubies, broached on pulp, ebony, white and between, shimmering paradise, agonous hell, a wonderer without shell, a shadow of light not quite seen.

    How’s that grudz? From my 16 teens, naturally it’s influenced by Rimbaud , I had just read A Season in Hell. In fact I have a signed copy of the Delmore Schwartz translation of A Season in Hell from about 1939 for New Directions.

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