Sunday, December 4, 2016


Sign up early for POETRY in the PARK, coming March 3, 2017 at Zion Park Lodge from 9 am-4 pm featuring the Colorado Western Slope Poet Laureate ROSEMERRY WAHTOLA-TROMMER teaching a workshop on Metaphors Everywhere. Free park pass and naturalist guided walk.Bring a picnic lunch or eat at Redrock Grill in the lodge. See for registration information or contact Lin Floyd lin at sunrivertoday dot com

Come early for a FREE Poetry Reading lecture by Rosemerry on Thursday March 2 at 7 pm in Springdale's Canyon Community Center. Bring a poem to share.Signup now for super deals on overnight lodging in Springdale on March 2, 2017 at Bumbleberry Inn. Delta airlines flies into St. George from SLC, Denver and Phoenix or carpool or take a shuttle.

Make arrangements to stay over in nearby St. George on Friday night to participate in the Redrock Creative Writing Seminar on Sat, March 4, 2017 from 9 am-1:15 pm with Rosemerry discussing Paradox in Poetry-How a Poem Turns, Joel Tucker Rhythm and Muse and Tanya Parker Mills-Finding the Poetry in Prose. Fee-$60, discount for UTSPS $50. More details and registration info at

Sunday, November 13, 2016


Time is running out DEC. 1, 2016 is the deadline for entering the Chaparral Poetry Contest sponsored by Redrock Writers, a chapter of UTSPS in St. George. Unlimited entries welcome:  Details at:

1. CHOLLA Division: any subject, any form, 42 lines or fewer
First prize $200, Second Prize $100, Third Prize $50
2. CHAQUETA Division: Southwest theme—nature, people, history, etc. any form 42 lines or fewer
First Prize $100, Second Prize $50, Third Prize $25
3. CHAPAREJOS Division: Rhymed and metered poem, any subject, 42 lines or fewer
First Prize $100, Second Prize $50, Third Prize $25
4. CHIMERA Division: Imaginative or absurd/humorous, any form, 42 lines or fewer
First Prize $100, Second Prize $50, Third Prize $25

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Meet CRYSTIE COOK of Valley Winds Chapter

Crystie Cook was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up in Sandy, Utah. She has a B.A. in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Utah and has lived in Puerto Rico, Arizona, California, and New Mexico. She is bilingual in Spanish and enters an average of five to six poetry contests a year. She figures she has written between 900 and 1000 poems and has won 188 awards, with an emphasis on music, birds, and nature, but sometimes she will write on other subjects. She works with caption calls for the hard of hearing, teaches piano part time, and has three funny parakeets who don't write any poems.

Mourning Doves Wait

All summer long, on the treble clef staff
of five utility lines, mourning doves
perch in a tentative melodic line
of thin, quiet notes. They might change position,
up a third, down a third,
wings fluttering like flute keys.
The doves are plain, brown shadows,
faint commas in a mystery novel
sweetened by the last of summer’s peaches.
Slender vines reach with tired fingers
to flick feathers from a long-abandoned bird nest
in the cherry tree.
Mourning doves live with making indecision
delicate and delightful, small heads wondering
over each breeze and long-limbed tree for the taking.
Still, the title “mourning” becomes them,
since no matter how strong the summer,
all sweet songs end with emptiness and silence.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Don't miss hearing DUANE RYGH presentations

Well, it's that time to celebrate the publication of UTSPS poet  of the year Duane Rygh's winning collection of poetry, MY BRIGHT RED SCREAM. He will be reading his book at the Orem Public Library on Sat-Oct 8 at 2 pm. Come and enjoy Duane's first published book of poetry. If you live in Southern Utah, there are two events planned on Mon-Oct 10th at 11 am at the Southern Utah Veterans Home in Ivins or Tues, Oct 11th at 1:30 pm at the St. George Public Library. All events are free and paid members of UTSPS can pick up a complimentary copy of this new book.

In 2015, after a 20-year career, Duane retired from United States Air Force active duty.  Duane credits his experiences in the military for broadening his world view.  Visits to Saudi Arabia, Korea, China, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, and most recently Afghanistan helped to provide depth to his poetry.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Meet NIKKI ANNE SCHMUTZ-newest member of UTSPS

Welcome to Nikki Anne Schmutz who is very active in the online poetry scene and wanted to check out what was happening in her local community and Utah state poetry circles. Nikki s the author of Open Soul Window, In Speaking of… A Poetic Journey from Dark to Light, and Found, a novel. She is a poet, novelist, produced screenwriter, freelance poetry editor, admin of FACEBOOK poetry groups, TBI survivor, and advocate against sexual violence. She has served as magazine editor-in-chief, literary web site poetry editor, recited poetry for the Eat Sleep Write podcast, and reads poetry for her YouTube Channel, Perfectly Written Pictures. She lives in Layton, Utah where she serves as the Utah Representative for the World Union of Poets based in Italy. She will be attending the Rhyme and Reason Chapter in Bountiful.
Butterfly Stroke
By Nikki Anne Schmutz

Life lived upon me,
resembling an ocean.
I cast my boat
on its white-tipped
frenzy, navigated
storms without maps -
clouds obscuring
the heavens.
I held on with
white-gripped knuckles
as my vessel
came apart in the surge.
I sank into the depth,
it claimed me as its own
until I realized…
I could swim.

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

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.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Meet SHANE D. WILLIAMS of Redrock Writers

Shane D. Williams was born at the tender age of 0. He survived the ordeal and quickly moved onto other things… walking for example, which by the way, he still does quite well. He wrote his first poem when he was in second grade and has been writing ever since.
Shane’s specialty is writing humorous poetry for kids and adults. His poems are used in classrooms around the world in a variety of ways. His website, is one of the most visited “poetry for kids” websites and has been featured in the Boston Globe. Shane has written three books: “The Endless Achoo”,  “All Mixed Up”, and “The Sun is on Fire” which are all available for purchase on
Shane lives in Southern Utah where he is involved in local writing and poetry groups. He enjoys stand-up comedy, peanut butter and spending time with his wife and 3 children.
If I write about nothing,
then nothing is this.
But now it is something,
or it wouldn’t exist.

I was trying for nothing,
but something came out.
Still, it’s pretty much nothing
this something’s about.

© Shane D. Williams

Friday, June 24, 2016

Need to cool off in Summer?

Living in St. George Utah means long hot summers hopefully in air conditioned homes or enjoying a cool vacation somewhere. Don't forget to write a poem now and then. It's also a good time to concentrate on entering POETRY CONTESTS and.or ORGANIZING your poetry by backing it up with both print and digital copies. Keep a running list of those poems that have won recognition in contests you've entered or been published with dates. This helps  you get an overview of what you can enter for NEW contests.

Coming up is PANORAMA 2016––our hardworking editor Rosalyn Ostler is asking for submission for this upcoming publication from current UTSPS members. Deadlines are June 30-July 31, 2016. So that's coming up fast. You can submit up to four poems including those who have been published or won prizes. Details at

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Meet FRANK DE CARIA of the Ben Lomond Chapter

Frank De Caria grew up a city boy in Ogden, Utah, living on Ogden Avenue and attending Ogden High School.  Seeing an opportunity, he took a creative writing class his senior year instead of regular English where learning to diagram sentences and doing endless grammar exercises did not appeal to him.  Thus began his love of writing, publishing his first poem in the high school literary magazine.  He attended Weber State and Utah State, winning poetry awards and publishing in college magazines. Attending college on a music scholarship, he graduated with a degree in English and Art.  After meeting Clarence Socwell at the Bookateria he began attending Blue Quill writers group and Ben Lomond Poets.  He won the UTSPS book award in 1981 on his third try with his book, Song Within the Sounds.  He is now a retired public school teacher and technical writer and is currently a freelance writer/photographer. He serves in UTSPS as our Laureate Book Sales chairman.
Soul-Splash of Jazz

By Frank M. DeCaria

Taking the stage in the easy caramel hours

of this forever twilight room,
a symbiotic jazz quartet begins to improvise
and reinvent the turning wheels of sound:

Slightly to the back, in semidarkness,
two expert hands thump and stutter
wooden sticks across drum and cymbals,
heart-beating the living air.

On the left side, prancing beside each other,
two handfuls of fingers measure and re-measure
never-wasted clusters of piano keys,
finding perfect cords and blue notes.

To the right, two more roving hands
caress and fondle the long thin neck
and perfect flat belly of a deep-voiced
woman-shaped string bass.

           And there in front, hard pressed lips
and the gentle fingertips of two more hands
make love to a soprano saxophone,
until it coos and moans out perfect melodies.

On and on, song by song, jazz men
and their diverse instruments
swirl harmonies into the vibrating air and ears
of dancers and non-dancers alike,

until a sleepy long-held finale of blue notes
drips slowly down the early morning walls,
offering everyone at every table
one last elongated soul-splash of jazz.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Meet TRISH HOPKINSON of Word Weavers Chapter

Trish Hopkinson has always loved words—in fact, her mother tells everyone she was born with a pen in her hand. She has two chapbooks Emissions and Pieced Into Treetops and has been published in several anthologies and journals, including: StirringChagrin River Review, and The Found Poetry Review. Trish is co-founder of a local poetry group, Rock Canyon Poets and attends the Word Weavers Chapter in Provo. She is a product director by profession and resides in Utah with her handsome husband and their two outstanding children. You can follow her poetry adventures at

After Sharon Olds poem “When”

This is what is going to happen—
the lone woman will stop the
rattle, the death breath from the chimney hearth,
when she opens the damper, then turns the urn’s mouth out
with her wrists, cascading the grayed decay,
from there, the ashes flurry up and out, into the
orange remnants of autumn skyline,
she will watch from the window, as they dissipate
against the end of day, the seeping dark,
the moon's edge, sharp as dying,
its frowning tip tilted toward Saturn.
She will dust the hearth with feathers,
turn away from the sad moon, its slivered glow
and the dust that was once her lover—
she will love no longer.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Meet DEE RYGH-UTSPS Poet of the Year 2016

An Air Force couple introduced Duane Thomas Rygh to the world while stationed at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts. He has no siblings and was raised in Marysville, California.  Later, while serving in the Air Force, "dee" earned his B.S. in Social Psychology at Park University, along with a minor in sarcasm and then went on to earn an M.S. in Psychology.  The literary classes he attended planted a love of poetry and classic literature.  After his 20-year career in the Air Force, he went into semi-retirement to focus on writing.  With his wife of 21 years, Janet, they now call Utah their home, along with their son Jalen.

His manuscript, My Bright Red Scream, won the 2016 UTSPS Book of the Year. The manuscript focuses on the physical and psychological aftermath of events from dee's four deployments to the Middle East.  Inspired by Beethoven's Ninth, he also explores Hope through the use of an alter ego named Tanner Love.  Despite the struggles put forth in the early portion of his manuscript, he manages to ground himself by the manuscript's end recounting personal experiences and also what he views as his next steps moving forward. This book is free to all UTSPS members and will be available in October 2016. Dee is a member of the Ben Lomond chapter of UTSPS.

Tanner Love and the Bard 

In the distant morning, 
a bird sings like a bard 
with joyful yearning. 
A duet, harmonious  
with the dawning Sun. 
A song just for Tanner, 
a reminder to 
be mindful of this moment, 
so I may embrace 
all the sun has touched 
with open arms.