Monday, January 29, 2018

New Visiting POET for Poetry in the Park

Because of ill health Jim Barton won't be teaching for us this year, but we are excited to have SHANAN BALLAM of Utah State University's English Department joining us in our three days of poetry activities in Southern Utah in early spring. An award winning poet, exciting teacher of poetry and creative writing, Shanan will be presenting some fun ideas on how to improve our poetry skills. She has chosen the theme for her presentations as A CELEBRATION OF SOUND AND SENSE. 

She says: Poets of all ages and levels of experience will benefit from this energetic workshop where participants will learn and practice basic poetic sound techniques, such as alliteration and other kinds of sonic repetition. We will use our experience in the park to gather sensory details and images for poems. Using poetry exercises as a guide, and using the materials we have generated and gathered during the workshop and our experiences in the park, we will write poems that will surprise and delight writers and audiences alike.
This year's POETRY IN THE PARK will be held Friday, March 2, 2018 at Zion Park Lodge from 9 am to 4 pm. Register by Feb 15th to receive your free Zion Park pass. Fee-$55, register online

Come early for a free ZARTS LECTURE by Shanan on Thursday, March 1 at Canyon community Center in Springdale at 7 pm. Inexpensive lodging available in Springdale, come join us before the crowds and shuttles begin. Note there is some construction in Springdale city so come early.

Stay overnight in St. George and enjoy REDROCK CREATIVE WRITING SEMINAR on Saturday, March 3 from 9 am to 1:30 pm featuring Shanan Ballam and others Dr. Cindy King of DSU's English Dept. and Lara Candland-another award winning poet. Details at

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Meet a new member WILLIAM KOFOED

          William A. Kofoed was born in Logan Utah and now lives in Magna Utah. He was a member of Mormon Youth Chorus and the Jay Welch Chorale, and is a published photographer. He started writing poetry in high school and has been published in Poetry Quarterly. With three self-published books of poetry , he is currently finishing his fourth book of poetry. He has a youtube  channel, and a blog, and a webpage, Some of his works can be seen on; His poem below was published in Poetry Quarterly.
A flowing line
A gentle thought
A sweet memory
Of loving you
Time has past
It was long ago
Yet these things
Still stir me
Still I sigh
And I long
For your touch
To feel again
Long ago
Still it is sweet
Yes these things
Still stir me

Saturday, December 16, 2017


Lots of exciting things coming up in the NEW YEAR. Please mark your calendars and join in the fun, learning and excitement with your fellow poets:

Jan 5-2018 DUES $30 need to be postmarked by this date, sent to Bill Asplund, details and forms on

Jan 12 Reading and Book Signing-THREE UTAH POETS-Maurine Haltiner, Margaret Pettis, & Heidi Blankenship from 4:30 -5:45 pm at Anderson Foothill Library 1135 S 100 E, SLC, free.

Jan 14 Reading and Book Signing-THREE VALLEY POETS-Star Coulbrooke, Margaret Pettis and Heidi Blankenship  6-8 pm at Bluebird restaurant 19 N. Main Street in Logan, free.

Feb 1-Deadline  for annual Awards Festival contest entries

March 2 POETRY IN THE PARK register now and make plans to join us in Southern Utah's warmth with Jim Barton, NFSPS President presenting, details at Also this same weekend on Sat Mar 3 in St. George-REDROCK CREATIVE WRITING SEMINAR, details
3 info details

April 20-21 Annual UTSPS AWARDS FESTIVAL  details

May31-Jun 3 Annual NFSPS Convention "Mountain High Poetry" in Denver Colorado-don't miss it. Close enough to drive, let's carpool.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Keeping Busy in DIXIE

DIXIE POETS, one of UTSPS's Chapters in St. George, just held their 8th annual YOUTH POETRY CONTEST with students from grades 1st-12th that reside in Washington County School District. Supported by the local school district and Dixie Poets President Lin Floyd in charge, over 150 students participated from public, private and online schools. Cash prizes were donated by Z-Arts and awarded on Oct 26th at 7 pm hosted by the St. George Art Museum. The theme for this year was MY WORLD.  Over 100 parents, friends and family were there to congratulate these youth poets in finding their voice through poetry.

REDROCK WRITERS, also a UTSPS Chapter, is sponsoring the CHAPARRAL CONTESTS for youth and adults. Deadlines: Dec 5th for youth and Dec 1st for adults. Details at 

Other activities coming up soon in our area will include: Free poetry readings by MAURINE HALTINER on Th Nov 17th at the St. George Library at 2 pm, and ANITA KROTZ-UTSPS Poet of the Year on Th, Nov 30th at 2pm at St. George Library and at 7 pm at Social Hall sponsored by the St. George Art Museum.  More details on these activities and POETRY IN THE PARK coming March 2nd and REDROCK CREATIVE WRITING SEMINAR on Mar 3, 2018-see 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Meet PAM TUCKER of Dixie Poets and Redrock Writers

Pam Tucker spent much of her childhood in Kemmerer, Wyoming. She graduated from Bountiful High School and subsequently BYU with a degree in English.  She and her husband spent the next 33 years in Washington state and considers herself a Northwesterner and small town girl. She performed as a storyteller in the schools for many years while her 5 kids were growing up. She started writing at about age 50 when a group of friends decided to form a writing group, Left to Write.  “We tried our hand at everything, but poetry is the genre that comes most naturally to me.  Those friends gave me the encouragement and direction that got me started. We had a marvelous time together.”  

“One of my earliest joyful memories is listening to my dad read poetry to me.  I have always loved the music of language.  I find tinkering with words to be both satisfying and challenging.  I am a member of Dixie Poets and Redrock Writers in St. George and have been thrilled to find these two groups of wonderful writers.”  Her poems have appeared online at Prairie Poetry and Literary Mama, and have been published in Plainsongs, Trestle Creek Review, and Gatherings: A Collection of Women’s Writings.  She is also the author of the picture book Paper Monsters.

Carrying Tools to the Garden in Late October

Plunder, bees, these blooms.
Raid the stamen’s stores of gold doubloons 
and squander coins on aging wenches
as you swagger room to room.

Take while you can, buzzing buccaneers,
for I have come to upend the cosmos.
We are both marauders of the season.

Although in dangerous league we loot, 
you with rapiers drawn, I with slashing
shears, November soon will sally out
to raze the garden, stem and root.
Winter looms before us all,

and though we cut and parry,
winter’s sure riposte will end us—pierced
smack-dab through our awe-struck, blustering hearts.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Meet CLAUDIA BRESCIA from WIllow Wind Poets

Meet  Claudia Brescia who is a member of our new chapter Willow Wind Poets in Kanab. I asked her how she got involved in poetry and she said:  I started out writing poetry in the 80's when I read a poetry journal that asked questions at the end of it. One of the questions was,” What is getting in your way of writing poetry?” A simple and profound question. In thinking about it, I could not find one thing in the way, so I sat down and wrote my first poem. It was fun, it released my wonder at the world, gave me a place to put my thoughts out there to have a look at them from a different angle. It also gave me a place for all of my swirling emotions and deep thoughts. 

Three of those early poems were published and that encouraged me to keep writing. I joined the UTSPS because I love being with other people who share the passion for writing poetry. A wide and varied group of people, deep in thought and open to their emotions. I have read out loud at the Invocation for the Earthfest in Kanab, Utah on two occasions, with my twin sister, Lydia. I am a massage therapist and silversmith. 


Clearin out time
n I'm doin a big spring cleanin-not my house, mind you--
the harder one, the house of my spirit!
Got a little dust built up, little cobwebs in the corners,
little rust on the heartstrings, some of em even broke.....
scrubbed em up with some ooo steel wool.
The luster in the eyes needed a good shine,
Skin haggard, had to get buffed n tanned,
Brain was shriveled n shrunken n confused,
that had to be washed, wrung, n hung out in a stiff wind,
pinned tightly to make sure it didn't just fly right on away.
Outlook was rough round the edges, n had to be trimmed to within
an inch of its own life.
Happiness was a hit or miss proposition
so took that to some of my friends for restuffin.
Love-o-meter needed fine tunin so found
a man to ring my chimes.
Energy needed a lift, so got doused in a nearby swollen,
singin, dancin, roarin river for fillin-
So far, that's all I done....
Big plans ahead!!!!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Meet BARBARA BLANKS from Hinterlands Chapter

When asked why she joined UTSPS, Barbara Blanks who lives in Texas says:... partly for the contests, but mostly because I was interested in what poets in other states were writing. Poetry attitudes vary across the country, and across the ages of members--and so many other things. Even though I read a lot of "famous" poets, I felt limited by the kind of poetry I was reading by Poetry Society of Texas (PST) members. I wanted more. Poetry didn't become my passion until about ten years ago. I've learned I love the challenge of writing to forms, writing to themes--just writing poetry. I tend to be obsessive about anything that really interests me, and poetry satisfies my need to be creative.  Barbara is the Recording Secretary and Librarian for PST, as well as president/editor of A Galaxy of Verse. Not only is she an at-large member of USPS, but thanks to our wonderful Margaret Pettis, she is now also a member of the Hinterlands Chapter that meets only online.  Barb is the author of four books, co-author of one. See for a list of her many accomplishments and books published.

by Barbara Blanks

He was a boy with wings
who ran full tilt
into everything he did,
saying he soared because
he could park later.
He smiled at himself
in the mirror every day,
seeing the hope
of dreams to come, and
unwrapped each day
like an exciting gift.

Such a brief encounter with
unrestrained joy.  Somehow I lost it
or gave it away--maybe had it stolen
from me piecemeal, unnoticed.
I still search for that youth,
even knowing return is impossible.
Life is a spiral--not a circle.

And so, when I can't sleep, I throw off
the covers, raise my legs, and
“walk” on the ceiling. 
If I scrunch my eyes tight,
stars appear behind my lids.
I can at least pretend
I’ve learned to fly again.