Friday, May 29, 2015

Meet CINDY BECHTOLD-President of Write On

I met Cindy Bechtold when she took over the American Fork Arts Festival. It started in 2011 when poets were asked to submit their poems for local artists to use as inspiration for their art work and musical compositions. A program was held to display the results which were also published in a chapbook entitled: Utah Voices. Cindy continues giving leadership to Northern Utah county as president of the "Write On" chapter which meets the fourth Thursday of each month at her house. For more info click on:

Cindy says, "We always want new members, so spread the word to poetry people that we're here in northern Utah county.  We laugh a lot, share a lot, and have become friends.  I have had success in giving my group prompts or form poem assignments. I continue my week day "job" of tending my two grandsons ages seven and two. They're inspirational, challenging, and such a joy. I've decided to self-publish my short story memoir "Walking on Thin Water." My  husband is formatting it and working on the graphics. I also spend time water coloring and creating paper collage.

Chokecherries bubble on the burner
heating purple fruit shaded to black,
black as bears’ fur harvesting them in August. 
Along the river spot, we picked
healthy clusters—bounty in a bucket,
tree branches high as a giraffe’s neck. 

Their destiny—iron pot
through a white dish towel, “Tuesday”
embroidered in blue on the edge. 
Back on the burner—
purified juice,
dissolve, purple as a two-day-old bruise.
Scalded pint jar sits on a drip plate. 
Syrup builds from the spills, enough
to dip in a corner of bread, teasing taste
of waffles in winter, 
syrup enough  to fill every open square.

Friday, May 22, 2015


Lin Floyd from Dixie Poets
Joining with other poets gives you the opportunity to share and develop your talents in using the written word to express your feelings about life. Making new friends at meetings, attending workshops, submitting your poetry for gentle critiques and encouragement will change your life. As for me, Lin Floyd-UTSPS blogmaster and Chapters Coordinator, I joined after retirement as a school librarian. I've always loved to write, mostly family histories but also free verse poetry since I was a teenager. Later, I would find poetry to be therapy for losses and strong emotions that I felt which led me to write a book entitled DISCOVER YOUR VOICE AFTER DIVORCE: A Writing Workbook for Healing and Recovery. 

Here's one of my poems from that book:
Writing is a healing art,
giving expression to inner longings,
unmet needs, hidden wounds,
dreams of soul and mind.
My small voice reaches out
courageously connecting with others.
Realizing the universality
of the human experience
made possible through written words
joined together in random patterns,
crafted with a desire to be known
to reveal the person hidden within.
For more info. on how to join, go to UTSPS website for application form, dues info, etc. See

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Meet ALMA RICHIE-President of Dixie Poets

Alma loves magic as much as poetry.
Alma Richie was born in Wilford, Idaho. His mother loved words and was an English major.  She taught her son to love poetry at a very young age.  Alma supports the idea of Mary Oliver that poetry is not formal speech but like conversation or like time spent with a friend.   Alma believes the notion that life-affirming poems fired by belief in the human and spiritual needs reflect hope in a time when much of the world feels unreal and inhuman.   He loves what T. S. Elliot said about poetry:  Private experience and at its greatest intensity may become universal.  This is called Poetry and may be affirmed in verse. 

Alma currently is president of the Dixie Poets and helps direct the Redrock Writers Seminar in St. George.  Dixie Poets meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays  from 2-4 pm in the St. George Public Library and has about 20 members with a monthly lesson and critiques of poetry at each meeting. For activities, see Active in the community, Dixie Poets sponsors an annual YOUTH POETRY CONTEST with the Washington County School District, serves as judges for English Quest, participates in organizing POETRY in THE PARK (see and the St. George Book Festival, teaches in local schools, submits to the Mesquite Art and Poetry Contest, DSU's Southern Quill Magazine and claims many award winning poets.  Alma has published a book of poetry entitled: Hear the Whispers of the Ancient Ones. Available here. Below is a sample of Alma's poetry.

ALMOST by Alma Richie

A time for birds
to fly in southern skies
over glittering seas
like coins tossed towards a flowering
moon. A place where butterflies dance on
the edge after a long rainy afternoon.

Then within my reach I find the end
of the world.  Spiders and their
Italian looms turn gardens into
a reflection of rainbows.  Every bird
rises in a new breeze while nature’s pipes
release moisture on my withered skin.

The sap hides but knows rain
beating on wooden drums.  Each
shimmering leaf dances its last fall
to earth alone.  Again the stir of a breeze
across my face brushes my cheeks as if
to say— remember me when I am gone.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Meet MARKAY BROWN-Redrock Writers President

Markay Brown, St George, Utah, was born an addict to the written word. A BYU graduate, she began writing poetry at an age well beyond precociousness. How about 60?  She won first place for her manuscript, Eve’s Child, in the 2014 Utah Original Writing Competition, Book-length Collection of Poetry, judged by Richard Howard of Columbia University. She recently received the 2015 Segullah award for poetry. Markay and her poet husband collaborated on a book of poems titled, Blended.  Family, friends, reading, writing, music, and long walks in the red rocks make her happy.

REDROCK WRITERS is the newest Chapter of UTSPS, located in St. George, Utah. Markay says..."Our Redrock Writers are a super group of poets that I would like you to know. We meet monthly (3rd Thursdays) at 7:00 pm in my home. Each poet brings two poems to read with copies for the others.  We are as varied in voice and style as possible, from inventive free verse to rhyme and humor.  We, eight to ten regulars, have become good friends, feel safe sharing our latest efforts with each other, knowing there is mutual respect and desire to assist as we all improve our writing together.   Our projects include our annual Chaparral Poetry Forum which includes student and adult poetry contests, as well as Redrock Creative Writing Seminar each spring.  We also support Dixie Poets projects such as judging for Poetry Out Loud, English Quest and Poetry in the Park. See more  I’m honored to be part of this delightful association of poets."
HEARTLAND by Markay Brown      
A bride stitches curtains 
and the farmhouse kitchen smiles 
in yellow daisies. 
Cornflower cotton flutters 
at the bedroom sill.
Years yield a crop--seven children
who fashion forts in haystacks,
scatter corn for chickens,
run in, then out of the house warmed
by crusty loaves, bottled peaches,
her aproned lap.
Sixty-eight years—not enough
lullabies for grandchildren, not enough
husband, distant at the plough.
The farmer wakes to a 4 a.m. draft,
pulls the patchwork close.
The eldest son tucks comfort
around his father, whispers          
        Mother is gone. 
Daisies droop in the kitchen.
The furnace clicks on its mechanical heart,
lights a fire, blows and blows a warmth
that cannot stay.
The windows stand wide open.
Her curtains billow out.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Meet Dawnell Griffin-UTSPS President

Dawnell's a real fireball and a go-getter. I'm impressed with her commitment to furthering Utah State Poetry Society by expanding our reach across the state––forming new chapters and strengthening our outreach to young poets through contesting and working with local school districts.

She lives near the northernmost border of Utah, north of Logan in Cove near Lewiston in Cache County. That doesn't  stop her from traveling throughout the state to attend UTSPS events in Ogden, Centerville, Salt Lake City, Orem, Heber and even St. George. More details are available on UTSPS's website on how she became Poet of the Year 2012 for her prize winning poems published in On Judgement Day. See

CONVERSATIONS by Dawnell Griffin

Life, today, is a conversation,

you talking about the horses you love,
me listening to the boy who loves them.

Until today, I did  not know the difference

between a Missouri Fox Trotter
and a Florida Cracker, or how one gait
differs from another.

Big John is a half-draft, steady

and single-minded. Luna is flighty,
a one man horse, cantering
on long-term recollections.

Animation rekindles

your beautiful hazel eyes,
slow-burns a memory that
I know won't keep past a day.