Thursday, June 25, 2015

Meet MARNEY ZAMBRANO, President of Oquirrh Chapter

The OQUIRRH Chapter of UTSPS is located in Tooele, Utah with Marney Zambrano as President. She tells us a little about her background: I was born and raised in Ogden, Utah,  earned a B.A, in English and German at Utah State University, taught junior high and high school English and reading classes in Utah plus English and ESL classes part time at Lassen Community College in Susanville, CA for awhile. For the past 17+ years I have been the librarian at Sterling R. Harris Elementary School in Tooele, where they pay me to play. 

My Daddy was an accomplished poet, public speaker, and actor. My Grandma Elinor Hodgson wrote lovely poetry. My Mama was a teacher and a school librarian, too. She could recite zillions of poems from memory and loved being involved in speech and drama activities. I started composing poetry before I was 5 years old and have no intention of stopping anytime soon. My friend, colleague and fellow poet Jennie Mallon introduced me to Oquirrh Chapter and Utah State Poetry Society in 1998, and I have loved being a member of the society ever since! You are invited to join this chapter when it restarts in Sept 2015. Contact Marney for more info.

While writing a little play for the family reunion,
Aunt Lillian probably penned the heroine's part
with her in mind; so when she accepted the role,
Miss Mary Hodgson––matchless prim and proper
schoolmarm by day; bright, blue-eyed, buxom and
blonde amateur actress by night––did not concern
herself with trivial affairs, like who would play the
leading man. She painstakingly practiced precise
elocution and polished her delivery and timing
to perfection, until each line, poignant expression,
or gesture produced maximum melodramatic effect. 
Meanwhile, our hero, Police Sergeant I.M. Hilton,
a widower with five children, took on the play
as a favor to his friend Lillian, who, knowing him
to be trustworthy as well as talented, did not hesitate
to cast him opposite Mary, despite his being fifteen
years older than her niece. Sarge juggled learning
his lines with his job, church, and fatherly duties
as best he could and showed up for the first rehearsal
wondering if he would remember what to do and say. 
No one ever confessed what crossed their minds
when they were introduced, but the script did call for
him to kiss her. She was so impressed she swallowed
her gum; and he was enthralled, he forgot he was
only pretending. And the rest, they say, is history.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Meet Kolette Montague-President of Rhyme and Reason

UTSPS conference attendees April 2015 at the Homestead in Heber
Kolette Montague was born and raised in Payson, Utah. She has lived in Centerville with her husband for the past several years. They raised their three daughters there and now have five grandkids. She has been an active member of UTSPS for over 30 years. In 2000, her book, Easing Into Light won UTSPS's book of the year. She has also published a gentile bestiary, Chanting the Moon and Other Tales. She believes poetry delights the ear, blesses the heart and heals the soul, and that writing poetry is a fascinating challenge.

Along with her state society positions of Contest Chair and Finance Committee Chair, Kolette is president of the Rhyme & Reason Chapter who meets once a month in Bountiful. Their small but diverse group continues to encourage and support each other in their poetry writing efforts. New members welcome. Click here for more info.

the loon at sunset         
calls across the purple pond           
his echo answers
                   by Kolette Montague


Friday, June 12, 2015

Meet PAUL FORD-President of Valley Winds Chapter

Paul Ford has led the Valley Winds (Salt Lake City) chapter since the summer of 2008. He was initially drawn to poetry while grieving the loss of his wife a year earlier. He found chapter meetings provided a safe and supportive community to bring poems dealing with a life forever changed. Paul also manages the UTSPS website,, and is always interested in hearing about poetry news and events, those with broad appeal are posted to the Utah State Poetry Society's website.

Having worked his whole career in Information Technology, Paul volunteered as the technical editor from 2008 to 2013 for the UTSPS annual Panorama poetry anthology. This editing work led to an opportunity in 2010 to take on an assistant editor role for the quarterly poetry newsletter, Strophes, published by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (UTSPS is a member of NFSPS). After two years of assisting, Paul was appointed in 2012 to be the Strophes editor. See for the National Federation of Poetry Society's activities and a link to the current Strophes issue. Paul was elected in 2014 to the 4th Vice President position with NFSPS, and has attended the last three annual NFSPS conventions and plans to attend this year's convention in St. Petersburg, Florida.
HAIKU by Paul Ford 
Shared dreams turn dry-ice
mist, blow away unnoticed
with her final breath.


Dad’s old jacket
is mottled with sun-bleached
drips from dogs and burgers,
too many family picnics to recall. 

My favorite poetry volume
has pages spattered
by food-smudged fingers
digging for diamonds solo. 

Yes, I would trade.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Meet PAT JOHNSON-President of Word Weavers

Just loving words won’t make you an award-winning poet, but attending WordWeavers just might. Our group located in Utah Valley-South (around Provo) has a long and proud legacy of award winning poets over many years—and is still going strong.  It’s not all about the competition or publishing poetry books, however.  We also really like each other; we like to help each other; we like being helped; we like new voices.  Meeting the third Wednesday of every month at 7 PM, WordWeavers is in need of new members due to the outright thefts of Cindy Bechtold to the new Write On chapter in Utah Valley-North, a few snowbirds, and fancy people doing exotic things like writing books and running for office.

WordWeavers is a guilty pleasure and a welcome respite once a month.  I have been a member for a few years now, and when I take inventory of the poems I've written and read, they are a rich trove indeed.   I wish I had been writing poems since kindergarten, but, no, I'm still a beginner.  After teaching in the Alpine School District for 20 years, I retired in 2006 complete with a wide-brimmed straw hat for sitting on the porch reading and writing.  Predictably, retirement didn't flesh out quite like that, but I find satisfaction in writing a poem now and then. Lots of experience helping high schoolers become writers and submitters to the literary magazine, led me to joining Wordweavers.  Find a link to this group on

beyond happy valley by Pat Johnson 
yesterday, I chased the dark gray cloud,
raced through its warning storm,
escaped limits of propriety
to meet Bryan and drink coffee
his thoughts wove deep
and frank and free
unlike the child he used to be
and for a time a lingering light
followed even me 
today, I hurried out of town
free, to write with friends,
but Pigpen saves my cloud for me
at home, we'll link again