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

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 www.barbara-blanks.com for a list of her many accomplishments and books published.

SECOND STAR TO THE RIGHT
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.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

CONGRATULATIONS to all NFSPS winners

The National Federation of State Poetry Societies held their annual Summer Conference in Fort Worth, Texas last month. Many of our UTSPS poets entered their contest and won the following awards:

Wm Asplund-1HM; Christie Cook 4HM, 5HM; Barbara Blanks-1st, 1st, 3rd, 3rd, 4HM; Louise Cook-1st, 2HM, 3HM, 7HM; Robert Davis 1HM; Geraldine  Felt 3HM; Candy Lish Fowler-1st, 2nd, 2HM,  3HM; Barbara Funke-1st, 1st, 2nd, 4HM; Maurine Haltner-1HM, 2HM, 2HM; Lorraine Jeffrey-2HM, 5HM, 7HM; Grace Diane Jesson  1HM, 5HM, 5HM, 6HM, 6HM; Anita Krotz 2nd, 3rd, 1HM, 4HM, 5HM; Kolette Montague 2nd,  3rd, 1HM, 2HM, 5HM, 5HM, 7HM; Patricia Peterson-4HM, 5HM; Eric Read-1st; Jon Sebba 3rd,  2HM, 4HM; and Clarence Socwell   2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 1HM, 1HM, 4HM.

A TOTAL of 53 awards and competition was tough. Let me know if I missed anyone or any awards and I'll update this. Congrats to all who submitted. Next year’s conference will be in Denver, Colorado. See link Strophes for details and list of contest winners. I plan to submit and attend next year. Sounds like so much fun.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

We NEED YOUR HELP


           THANKS to all those members who support our UTSPS organization by paying their yearly dues $30 and attending a local or online chapter for lessons, critiques and fellowshipping. You are appreciated and more new members are needed to increase our effectiveness in carrying out our resolve to further poetry in the state of the Utah. We get our financial support from grants from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums which is funded by National Endowment for the Arts as well as donations from past and current poets. In addition, UTSPS is conducting an ONLINE FUNDRAISER in June. Minimum donation is only $15 and in return, you will receive a donation confirmation email with directions on how to register for your 12-month membership in a discount network with many money-saving local and national merchant offers (eg, 20% off your bill at participating Dennys). The fundraiser page is: https://wefundthem.com/donate/utsps-2017-annual-fundraiser

Friday, June 2, 2017

Meet LORRAINE JEFFERY of Word Weavers Chapter


Lorraine Jeffery earned her bachelor’s degree in English and her MLIS in library science, and has managed public libraries in Texas, Ohio and Utah for over twenty years. She tells us how she got interested in poetry:  "I began writing poetry in grade school, quit totally in college, and resumed a few years later. As a child, I loved the sounds of words, and poetry helped me to understand my myself and my world. But when I went to college, I encountered a different kind of poetry (modernism, new criticism, Ezra Pound etc.). This was poetry I didn’t understand and didn’t want to write. Of course, a writer cannot stop writing, so a few years later, I was writing again—but not publishing. Then I had the privilege of listening to Ted Kooser when he was Poet Laureate, and that changed everything. He wrote poems I could understand, and opened the door once again, for me." Lorraine has won poetry prizes in state and national contests and has published over fifty poems in various publications, including Clockhouse, Kindred, Calliope, Ibbetson Street, and Rockhurst Review. "Osprey"was published in Waterways in 2008.

Osprey

He fell like God’s hammer,
and slapped the water
            with a sound that snapped
            all heads to the lake.

A shiny black gargoyle of parts and angles
wrestled in the circling water.

Then, the great ebony wings
            pushed the air down
            in one stroke,
and rose high above us.

The silver dash of the fish
            hanging from his
            comma beak.

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.           

WHEN YOU FEEL YOURSELF LACKING
 
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

infinity

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. 
Walk.
Slow.
 Sit.
 Stay.  
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.