Saturday, December 16, 2017


Lots of exciting things coming up in the NEW YEAR. Please mark your calendars and join in the fun, learning and excitement with your fellow poets:

Jan 5-2018 DUES $30 need to be postmarked by this date, sent to Bill Asplund, details and forms on

Jan 12 Reading and Book Signing-THREE UTAH POETS-Maurine Haltiner, Margaret Pettis, & Heidi Blankenship from 4:30 -5:45 pm at Anderson Foothill Library 1135 S 100 E, SLC, free.

Jan 14 Reading and Book Signing-THREE VALLEY POETS-Star Coulbrooke, Margaret Pettis and Heidi Blankenship  6-8 pm at Bluebird restaurant 19 N. Main Street in Logan, free.

Feb 1-Deadline  for annual Awards Festival contest entries

March 2 POETRY IN THE PARK register now and make plans to join us in Southern Utah's warmth with Jim Barton, NFSPS President presenting, details at Also this same weekend on Sat Mar 3 in St. George-REDROCK CREATIVE WRITING SEMINAR, details
3 info details

April 20-21 Annual UTSPS AWARDS FESTIVAL  details

May31-Jun 3 Annual NFSPS Convention "Mountain High Poetry" in Denver Colorado-don't miss it. Close enough to drive, let's carpool.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Keeping Busy in DIXIE

DIXIE POETS, one of UTSPS's Chapters in St. George, just held their 8th annual YOUTH POETRY CONTEST with students from grades 1st-12th that reside in Washington County School District. Supported by the local school district and Dixie Poets President Lin Floyd in charge, over 150 students participated from public, private and online schools. Cash prizes were donated by Z-Arts and awarded on Oct 26th at 7 pm hosted by the St. George Art Museum. The theme for this year was MY WORLD.  Over 100 parents, friends and family were there to congratulate these youth poets in finding their voice through poetry.

REDROCK WRITERS, also a UTSPS Chapter, is sponsoring the CHAPARRAL CONTESTS for youth and adults. Deadlines: Dec 5th for youth and Dec 1st for adults. Details at 

Other activities coming up soon in our area will include: Free poetry readings by MAURINE HALTINER on Th Nov 17th at the St. George Library at 2 pm, and ANITA KROTZ-UTSPS Poet of the Year on Th, Nov 30th at 2pm at St. George Library and at 7 pm at Social Hall sponsored by the St. George Art Museum.  More details on these activities and POETRY IN THE PARK coming March 2nd and REDROCK CREATIVE WRITING SEMINAR on Mar 3, 2018-see 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Meet PAM TUCKER of Dixie Poets and Redrock Writers

Pam Tucker spent much of her childhood in Kemmerer, Wyoming. She graduated from Bountiful High School and subsequently BYU with a degree in English.  She and her husband spent the next 33 years in Washington state and considers herself a Northwesterner and small town girl. She performed as a storyteller in the schools for many years while her 5 kids were growing up. She started writing at about age 50 when a group of friends decided to form a writing group, Left to Write.  “We tried our hand at everything, but poetry is the genre that comes most naturally to me.  Those friends gave me the encouragement and direction that got me started. We had a marvelous time together.”  

“One of my earliest joyful memories is listening to my dad read poetry to me.  I have always loved the music of language.  I find tinkering with words to be both satisfying and challenging.  I am a member of Dixie Poets and Redrock Writers in St. George and have been thrilled to find these two groups of wonderful writers.”  Her poems have appeared online at Prairie Poetry and Literary Mama, and have been published in Plainsongs, Trestle Creek Review, and Gatherings: A Collection of Women’s Writings.  She is also the author of the picture book Paper Monsters.

Carrying Tools to the Garden in Late October

Plunder, bees, these blooms.
Raid the stamen’s stores of gold doubloons 
and squander coins on aging wenches
as you swagger room to room.

Take while you can, buzzing buccaneers,
for I have come to upend the cosmos.
We are both marauders of the season.

Although in dangerous league we loot, 
you with rapiers drawn, I with slashing
shears, November soon will sally out
to raze the garden, stem and root.
Winter looms before us all,

and though we cut and parry,
winter’s sure riposte will end us—pierced
smack-dab through our awe-struck, blustering hearts.

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
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 for a list of her many accomplishments and books published.

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


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


           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:

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.


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.           

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


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. 
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.

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Born near Sacramento and earning B.A.s in English and Art at U.C. Davis, Margaret Pettis worked as a wilderness ranger, packing mules for the U.S. Forest Service in Idaho’s Sawtooth Wilderness. She taught English in Utah for 40 years, was named Utah’s English Teacher of the Year, and won the Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education. A wildlife and wilderness activist, Margaret has backpacked extensively in and published articles about Utah’s wildlands. Trekking solo for months at a time, she has sketched from Sweden to Sicily and sought places haunted by Odysseus.

Margaret has written five mystery novels and is at work on a book celebrating Utah’s remote places. UTSPS published her book, Chokecherry Rain, when she was named 1993 Poet of the Year.  She is currently in the process of forming a UTSPS Chapter of At Large members called Hinterland Poets that will do critiques, discussions and encourage each other by emails. If you’re interested in joining, leave a message on this blog in a comment or email Lin Floyd-UTSPS Chapters Coordinator lin at sunrivertoday dot com.

They lined the sills
and splintered planks
of the cellar-- golden
freestone peaches,
summer’s bright trove,
amber amulets
suspended in syrup.

Thirteen summers
glazed the window
into that narrow keep.
No one sensed
the subtle glow,
the treasure below.

It took the cat's escape
into the spiders' lair
for me to follow there,
armed with headscarf
and flashlight, swatting
webs and fear aside.

An errant ray
sparked the dusky glass:
rosy Elberta
and Elegant Ladies
trapped within
dust and paraffin.

In a  wicker basket
I hauled the heavy fruit
in solo ceremony,
up the creaking stairs,
into the snowy orchard.

To the solstice sun,
I raised a Mason jar--
halves of slippery moons,
a lantern in the light.
Diamonds on my cheeks,
I freed my mother’s peaches,
fireflies in ice.

Friday, March 17, 2017

REGISTER for UTSPS Spring Festival

The Spring Festival will be held at the Hyatt Place at Station Park in Farmington, starting at 4 pm on Friday April 21 and continuing on Saturday the 22nd in the morning and afternoon. The price for a double room at the Hyatt is $119 which includes a hot breakfast. Mention "Utah State Poetry Society" to get this discounted rate. For reservations, call: 801-683-4444. Registration will be $40 and will not include meals. Download and print the registration form. (Info from
Preliminary Program on Friday, April 21: 
2:45 - Board meeting, 
4:00 – First workshop, 
7:00 – First general session, 
8:00 – Awards presentation (poetry winners), 
10:15 – Night Owl Read-Around. 

Saturday, April 22: 8:30 
Chapter Presidents breakfast, 
9:30 – 2nd award presentation, 
10:30 - 2nd General session, 
1:00 – Concluding award presentation, 
3:00 – Book of the Year winner announced.

Monday, February 27, 2017


ACTIVITIES (see St. George news) not to be missed in St. George and Zion Park this weekend. Visiting poet laureate Rosemerry Wahtola-Trommer will be presenting in several venues:

Th, Mar 2  7-9 pm “Inner Donkeys and Houses on Fire,” a FREE literary discussion and poetry performance by Wahtola-Trommer sponsored by the Zion Canyon Arts and Humanities Council in Springdale at Canyon Community Center. In addition to the poetry reading, Wahtola-Trommer will talk about the writing life, failure, inspiration, vulnerability, uncertainty, metaphor. and the art of showing up.

Fri, Mar 3  9 am to 4 pm POETRY IN THE PARK workshop with Rosemerry on "Exploring Metaphors," take a guided nature walk in Zion Park, bring a picnic lunch or eat at Redrrock Grill, collect and create new poems in a beautiful location at Zion Park Lodge. Weather will be close to 70 degrees and sunshine. Fee-$50 register at 

Sat-Mar 4 9 am-1:30 pm REDROCK CREATIVE WRITING SEMINAR in St. George Social Hall with Rosemerry speaking on "Paradox in Poetry-How a Poem Turns," Tanya Parker-Mills presenting "Finding the Poetry in Prose" and Joel Long talking about "Rhythm and Muse." Cost $65, discount for UTSPS members $55. Details 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Meet JERRI HARDESTY, At Large Member

Jerri Hardesty lives in the woods of Alabama with husband, Kirk, also a poet. They run the nonprofit poetry organization, (  Jerri has had about 350 poems published and has won more than 1100 awards and titles in both written and spoken word/performance poetry. Why did she join UTSPS as an At Large member (for those who don't live close enough to an organized chapter)? Jerri tells us: I became a member-at-large because of the reputation of UTSPS.  The poets there are known for sharpening each other's skills and having great workshops.  I also have friends in the poetry slam community in Utah whose work is noteworthy for its strength, originality, and complexity.  I wanted to learn from the local  culture that was helping produce all of those results.


How we celebrate
The butterfly,
In poem and song,
Caterpillar magically transformed;
A metaphor for being reborn.
But never do we glorify
The housefly
In story or verse,
The transition the same,
No better, no worse,
But we reverse,
And would rather curse
The process,
Maggot carrion nursed.
But just because
Aren't always
Big, bright, colorful things,
And may instead be
Short, stubby
Unimpressive utilities,
And just because we don't all
Survive the changes
Of life's stages
Beautiful and unscarred,
Unscathed and unmarred,
Perfectly preserved,
We spread these wings,
These soiled ugly things,
Test the air,

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!

Don't get behind, it's soon SPRING at least in Southern Utah. Make plans now to come and join us for three days of exploring your muse in Zion Park and St. George. Here's more details on the Saturday culminating activity REDROCK CREATIVE WRITING Seminar. It's the 21st year of this impressive activity. Register early for a discount $50. Register. Come early for Poetry in the Park Friday workshop in Zion and a free ZArts Lecture on Th nite.