Friday, May 19, 2017

Meet Michael Parker of Hinterland Chapter

Michael Parker’s life has been circling around poetry since he was in 8th grade. His English teacher gave an assignment to write two haikus and a free verse poem for a project. After that, Michael began tinkering with rhythm, meter, and structure, even though he tended to favor free verse. In high school, he  placed second in the annual poetry contest. In 2006, he was invited to join an online poetry community with poets all over the United States. By the time the poetry group disbanded, Michael was confident in his skills to write and submit works of poetry. 

In 2013, Michael joined the UTSPS Write On Chapter lead by Cindy Bechtold which helped teach him to develop and grow more as a poet. In honor of the teachers, mentors, and friends he's gained along this journey, he wants to share a quote from one of his poet-mothers, Annie Finch. In her poem dedicated to Emily Dickinson, she writes: “I take from you, as you take me apart.” Michael says..."I, too, feel this way about those who I have taken from. I continue to hold a piece of each of you in my heart; you are part of my experience and your influence is in my work. For that, I’m infinitely grateful. I look forward to the next roads ahead."  Michael has joined our new online group Hinterland Poets organized by Margaret Pettis.           

grow roots like the oak
plant your roots in that place you know ―
the making of the singular morning
the flurry of life under the sun's long road
or the sorrow in the passing and letting go
of that beloved day you will never see again

I like to believe that you would stretch yourself wider
feel the things you most desire ―
the soul of the spirited breeze
the rage of the temerarious storm
the curling 'round the circumference
of the robin's newly inhabited nest

if you want to imbue the serenity of the stars
then imagine radiating clear light 

if it is a harvest you are yearning to be
then by all means be a bounteous tree

there is something alive when I say this, like it is
the birth of meaning
the re-creation of fire
that newly celebrated equation that proves


yes, there is something more alive in me
there is a well-traveled path, a widening road
there is a well-lit horizon, and the wide house of the sun
and I am walking in
to its heart
— A version of this poem first appeared in PoetsArtists, December 201

Friday, April 7, 2017

Meet RAVEN CHIONG-Willow Winds Chapter President

Raven Chiong’s latest adventure is serving as the inaugural President of Willow Wind Poets started in January 2017 in Kanab. “Willow” is a nod to the Southern Paiute place name for Kanab meaning “place of willows” and “Wind” signifies our breath on paper.  They meet twice a month at the Kanab City Library. Raven has been putting pen to paper for as long as she can remember.  First and foremost, she is a letter writer, dating back to her childhood when she was a pen pal with her absent mother.  Her morning pages (three pages of handwritten free writing suggested by Julia Cameron-author of "The Artist's Way") are her non-negotiable daily spiritual practice and she has remained dedicated to them for nearly 13 years and counting!  Thanks Raven for your enthusiasm.
There’s Something to be Said…
(To the people of Little Willow)

There’s something to be said…
Go, step into the long lost well of sacred silence.  With courage, dive, free and deep into Oceans of open space, listen to your own Voice, follow your own drum.

There’s something to be said…
above the din of “progress”, above the cacophony of Other.
Dry Grasses beckon, Ancient Canyons echo with no syllable or rhyme: 
Disconnect, unplug, return to Earth Mother, come Home, weary traveler, to your Self. 
Attune to the Place where symphony of Cottonwoods meets sweet silence of Sage, where Rocks speak, Rivers sing, and Shooting Stars have Voices.

There’s something to be said…
Who’s resonating?
Who’s calling?
There’s something to be said…
Are you listening?
Can you hear?

There’s something to be said…
Only the Dreamer, Awake, can say.

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Born near Sacramento and earning B.A.s in English and Art at U.C. Davis, Margaret Pettis worked as a wilderness ranger, packing mules for the U.S. Forest Service in Idaho’s Sawtooth Wilderness. She taught English in Utah for 40 years, was named Utah’s English Teacher of the Year, and won the Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education. A wildlife and wilderness activist, Margaret has backpacked extensively in and published articles about Utah’s wildlands. Trekking solo for months at a time, she has sketched from Sweden to Sicily and sought places haunted by Odysseus.

Margaret has written five mystery novels and is at work on a book celebrating Utah’s remote places. UTSPS published her book, Chokecherry Rain, when she was named 1993 Poet of the Year.  She is currently in the process of forming a UTSPS Chapter of At Large members called Hinterland Poets that will do critiques, discussions and encourage each other by emails. If you’re interested in joining, leave a message on this blog in a comment or email Lin Floyd-UTSPS Chapters Coordinator lin at sunrivertoday dot com.

They lined the sills
and splintered planks
of the cellar-- golden
freestone peaches,
summer’s bright trove,
amber amulets
suspended in syrup.

Thirteen summers
glazed the window
into that narrow keep.
No one sensed
the subtle glow,
the treasure below.

It took the cat's escape
into the spiders' lair
for me to follow there,
armed with headscarf
and flashlight, swatting
webs and fear aside.

An errant ray
sparked the dusky glass:
rosy Elberta
and Elegant Ladies
trapped within
dust and paraffin.

In a  wicker basket
I hauled the heavy fruit
in solo ceremony,
up the creaking stairs,
into the snowy orchard.

To the solstice sun,
I raised a Mason jar--
halves of slippery moons,
a lantern in the light.
Diamonds on my cheeks,
I freed my mother’s peaches,
fireflies in ice.

Friday, March 17, 2017

REGISTER for UTSPS Spring Festival

The Spring Festival will be held at the Hyatt Place at Station Park in Farmington, starting at 4 pm on Friday April 21 and continuing on Saturday the 22nd in the morning and afternoon. The price for a double room at the Hyatt is $119 which includes a hot breakfast. Mention "Utah State Poetry Society" to get this discounted rate. For reservations, call: 801-683-4444. Registration will be $40 and will not include meals. Download and print the registration form. (Info from
Preliminary Program on Friday, April 21: 
2:45 - Board meeting, 
4:00 – First workshop, 
7:00 – First general session, 
8:00 – Awards presentation (poetry winners), 
10:15 – Night Owl Read-Around. 

Saturday, April 22: 8:30 
Chapter Presidents breakfast, 
9:30 – 2nd award presentation, 
10:30 - 2nd General session, 
1:00 – Concluding award presentation, 
3:00 – Book of the Year winner announced.

Monday, February 27, 2017


ACTIVITIES (see St. George news) not to be missed in St. George and Zion Park this weekend. Visiting poet laureate Rosemerry Wahtola-Trommer will be presenting in several venues:

Th, Mar 2  7-9 pm “Inner Donkeys and Houses on Fire,” a FREE literary discussion and poetry performance by Wahtola-Trommer sponsored by the Zion Canyon Arts and Humanities Council in Springdale at Canyon Community Center. In addition to the poetry reading, Wahtola-Trommer will talk about the writing life, failure, inspiration, vulnerability, uncertainty, metaphor. and the art of showing up.

Fri, Mar 3  9 am to 4 pm POETRY IN THE PARK workshop with Rosemerry on "Exploring Metaphors," take a guided nature walk in Zion Park, bring a picnic lunch or eat at Redrrock Grill, collect and create new poems in a beautiful location at Zion Park Lodge. Weather will be close to 70 degrees and sunshine. Fee-$50 register at 

Sat-Mar 4 9 am-1:30 pm REDROCK CREATIVE WRITING SEMINAR in St. George Social Hall with Rosemerry speaking on "Paradox in Poetry-How a Poem Turns," Tanya Parker-Mills presenting "Finding the Poetry in Prose" and Joel Long talking about "Rhythm and Muse." Cost $65, discount for UTSPS members $55. Details 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Meet JERRI HARDESTY, At Large Member

Jerri Hardesty lives in the woods of Alabama with husband, Kirk, also a poet. They run the nonprofit poetry organization, (  Jerri has had about 350 poems published and has won more than 1100 awards and titles in both written and spoken word/performance poetry. Why did she join UTSPS as an At Large member (for those who don't live close enough to an organized chapter)? Jerri tells us: I became a member-at-large because of the reputation of UTSPS.  The poets there are known for sharpening each other's skills and having great workshops.  I also have friends in the poetry slam community in Utah whose work is noteworthy for its strength, originality, and complexity.  I wanted to learn from the local  culture that was helping produce all of those results.


How we celebrate
The butterfly,
In poem and song,
Caterpillar magically transformed;
A metaphor for being reborn.
But never do we glorify
The housefly
In story or verse,
The transition the same,
No better, no worse,
But we reverse,
And would rather curse
The process,
Maggot carrion nursed.
But just because
Aren't always
Big, bright, colorful things,
And may instead be
Short, stubby
Unimpressive utilities,
And just because we don't all
Survive the changes
Of life's stages
Beautiful and unscarred,
Unscathed and unmarred,
Perfectly preserved,
We spread these wings,
These soiled ugly things,
Test the air,

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!

Don't get behind, it's soon SPRING at least in Southern Utah. Make plans now to come and join us for three days of exploring your muse in Zion Park and St. George. Here's more details on the Saturday culminating activity REDROCK CREATIVE WRITING Seminar. It's the 21st year of this impressive activity. Register early for a discount $50. Register. Come early for Poetry in the Park Friday workshop in Zion and a free ZArts Lecture on Th nite.