Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Meet ERIC READ of Ben Lomond Chapter

Born in Nebraska into a family of eight children, Eric Read enlisted in the Army right after high school graduation. For the next 20 years, he roamed around the world going first to Germany and France, then a tour in Italy followed by two tours in Vietnam, and another tour in Germany. When his military career was over, he worked for the Pocatello Post office retiring in 2001. His earliest memory of writing poetry is while he was on his first tour in Vietnam. Honing his craft came after he moved to Brigham City and joined the Ben Lomond Poets. Eric says, Clarence Socwell, La Von Carroll and others too numerous to mention have helped him grow as a poet. A member of UTSPS since 2004, Eric currently serves as our treasurer (second time), has been our president, Chapters Coordinator, and served as treasurer for Ben Lomond Poets for several years. He feels that the association of the many members in UTSPS has helped him become a better poet. 
Winter Night Solitude
    The night is darkening round me,
    The wild winds coldly blow;
    But a tyrant spell has bound me
    And I cannot, cannot go.  Emily Bronte
The sound of wind disturbs my sleep,
its moaning awakening old memories.
Limbs brush against cabin walls -
scratching, scraping.
Wrapped in my blanket, I stir the coals

and build up the fire.

Ghosts arise in the flames,
dancing with the wind. For a moment
your face appears, and a finger of flame
beckons me to join you.
I slowly succumb to forces I cannot
resist. Closer, closer to the flames.

The door crashes open, startling me. |
When I turn back, you are gone.
Like the trees obscured by falling snow,
you vanish in the night wind.

Eric H. Read

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Meet CLARENCE SOCWELL of Ben Lomond Chapter

CLARENCE P. SOCWELL, a native Utahn and graduate from the University of Utah, is a poet who has won over 1000 prizes in national contests including second in  the prestigious  grand prize contest of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies and the grand prize in the 1995 Iliad Literary Awards.   He was named Utah State Poet of the Year in 1977 for his book Intrinsic Tapestries.  He is a past president of League of Utah Writers, Utah State Poetry Society, and The National Federation of State Poetry Societies as well as holding many other positions in these organizations.

He tells us:  My mother had scrapbooks full of poems as newspapers and magazines printed a lot.  She taught me poems to recite before I could read.  Once, at about four years old, I recited one on the radio at a dance-a-thon.  My fifth grade teacher encouraged me to write when I had finished my other work.  I filled many notebooks with my verse, stories, and essays.  In high school, I took creative writing in addition to regular English. Later, a fellow poet Maxine Jennings told me about UTSPS which I joined.  So that is how it was and is still.
A DAY FOR BURNING by Clarence P. Socwell

Smoke spins in gray vertiginous swirls
from dry sticks, leaves, and grass that I toss
in the pit used for firing burnished pottery.
Flames burst through the tangle as cinders
catch the breath of oxygen in the tender breeze.
An occasional gray segment of burned bark
flutters skyward before diving again, 
a winged Icarus flying too close to the sun.

Now, three magpies, cousins of Syberian crows, 
black symbols of isolation, demiurgic powers, 
spiritual strength, swoop from pine to spruce 
before cawing and rasping on the silent air.
As I add more tinder to the fire, I wonder what
messages Icarus and crows have spun for me
like smoke from past vertiginous swirls. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Meet VERA OGDEN BAKKER from Rhyme and Reason Chapter

Vera Ogden Bakker grew up in Utah. She taught elementary school  for  25+ years. After retirement, she started writing children's books and poetry, She joined UTSPS in 1989, serving as president of the Ben Lomond chapter, Rhyme and Reason chapter and the state organization plus as editor of NFSPS Strophes newsletter for two years. Active as the president of Wasatch Writers and League of Utah Writers and the Ogden branch and Utah chapter of Pen women, she currently lives in an assisted living center in Bountiful. Receiving many local, state and national awards, her latest poetry book Borrowed Breath is available at Amazon.com

At A Poetry Reading by Vera Ogden Bakker

Mike's poetry starts with a low hum. Then it
revs up, shifts gears and roars to life, emitting
syllables. He steers
you into your fears,
then stops, leaves you to find your own way out.

Sara's poetry flows smooth as warm honey,
Rhymes ripple in your ears, drip on your cheeks.
Rhythm distilled sounds
spill into rapids,
evaporate in a frothy whirlpool.

Harry's poetry quivers on a thin stem.
Each bud unfolds one petal at a time
to a lush bouquet
of color. The play
of pollen on the air makes your roots tremble.

Kendra's poetry speaks with a forked tongue.
Words slither sideways and sneak up on you
or strike you between
the eyes, hiss scale green,
rattle in her throat and constrict your heart.

Rob's poetry emerges from a chrysalis,
hovers just out of reach. Feelers luring,
it lands soft as light,
only to take flight
on gauzy wings beyond your frantic grasp.