Jim Reese opened for David Sedaris. It was “Rhapsody!”

January 26, 2024

Dr. Jim Reese has been pen pals with David Sedaris since 2008. “It all started with a letter David wrote to my Mount Marty students. He sells millions of books, is a ‘Rock Star’ in the literary world and beyond. He meets all of his fans after each of his shows. I’m not sure I’ve met a more generous writer and a more sincere person who truly wants to help other writers by his actions and words.”

Reese opened for Sedaris’ show, David Sedaris Live, in October at the Orpheum Theater Center in Sioux Falls. Dr. Reese, an accomplished writer in his own right, is the associate professor of English at Mount Marty University, Director of the Great Plains Writers Tour, Paddlefish Editor-in-Chief, and treble hook. Editor-in-Chief (both Paddlefish and Treble hook are Mount Marty publications).

“I think Jim got two weeks’ notice maybe? He'd clearly practiced what he read—great delivery—and it was timed to the second. And it was entertaining and everyone loved it so it was tens across the board,” said Sedaris of Reese’s opening act.

Sedaris is a heavyweight author. According to the Steven Barclay Agency, over 16 million copies of his books are now in print. He has been awarded countless prizes for his work, including Time’s 2001 Humorist of the Year award. He has also been nominated for five Grammy awards for Best Spoken Word and Best Comedy Album.

Reese values his time with Sedaris. “I’ve been teaching his books since I was a graduate assistant at the University of Nebraska. There’s not another author that connects quite as well with my students or readers that I can think of. Sedaris has a gift of mixing humor with the weight of the world and that’s why millions of people read his work. He’s not afraid to tell it like it is. He understands, like author Mary Karr has said, ‘A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it.’ And David Sedaris isn’t afraid to write about these true family and personal memoirs. His work and words continue to help me become a better teacher, writer and person,” said Reese.

So, Dr. Reese, what was it like opening for David Sedaris?

“In one word – Rhapsody!”





Dr. Reese is the associate professor of English at Mount Marty University and oversees the Mount Marty publications, Paddlefish and treble hook. He is also Director of the Great Plains Writers’ Tour. Reese’s poetry and prose have been widely published, and he has presented at venues throughout the country, including the Library of Congress and San Quentin Prison. Reese’s awards include a 2022 Distinguished Teaching Award from Mount Marty University, First Place Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, a Distinguished Achievement Award from Mount Marty University, and a Distinguished Public Service Award in recognition of his exemplary dedication and contributions to the Education Department at Federal Prison Camp Yankton. His books include These Trespasses (The Backwaters Press 2005), ghost on 3rd (New York Quarterly Books 2010), Really Happy! (NYQ Books 2014) and Dancing Room Only (NYQ Books 2024). His first book of nonfiction, Bone Chalk, was published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press in 2020. for more information: www.jimreese.org


From www.davidsedarisbooks.org: With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America’s pre-eminent humor writers. The great skill with which he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness proves that Sedaris is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today.


Founded in 1936 by the Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery, Mount Marty University is South Dakota's only Catholic institution of higher education. Located along the bluffs of the Missouri River in Yankton, with additional locations in Watertown and Sioux Falls, Mount Marty offers undergraduate and graduate degrees focusing on student and alumni success in high-demand fields such as health sciences, education, criminal justice, business, accounting, and more. A community of learners in the Benedictine tradition, Mount Marty emphasizes academic excellence and develops well-rounded students with intellectual competence, professional and personal skills and moral, spiritual and social values. To learn more, visit mountmarty.edu.