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. SocwellSmoke spins in gray vertiginous swirlsfrom dry sticks, leaves, and grass that I tossin the pit used for firing burnished pottery.Flames burst through the tangle as cinderscatch the breath of oxygen in the tender breeze.An occasional gray segment of burned barkflutters 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 sprucebefore cawing and rasping on the silent air.As I add more tinder to the fire, I wonder whatmessages Icarus and crows have spun for melike smoke from past vertiginous swirls.