Due to the popularity of our “Bite-Size Poet of the Month” segment, we have decided to carry out the project for a second time. Through this project, short poems by Utah poets - you and your peers - could be integrated into the daily lives of people throughout Utah. “Bite-Sized 2.0,” incorporates home-grown poetry into Utah's cyberspace. The poems will be distributed throughout the state via various media.
Submit Your Own Bite Size Poem
You are invited to submit one poem ranging in recitation length from 15 to 60 seconds. Because we will broadcast poems as PSAs and reproduce them in multiple small spaces, shorter is better. You will be asked to perform your poem on an audio/video recording for radio and online distribution and to give permission for the poem to be distributed in other formats as well. You may submit previously published work as long as you hold the copyright. You must live in Utah and have a book of poems published by an independent publisher in order to submit. The project is offering each poet a modest honorarium for participating.
To apply, please submit a brief biography, a JPG photo of the poet and the text of the poem in an email to Jean Irwin. If you would like to be part of this effort to introduce the people of Utah to their poets and poetry, or if you have any questions regarding the project, please call Jean Irwin at 801.533.5760.
Susan Sample is the author of Terrible Grace (Finishing Line Press), which includes a group of poems that won first place in the Utah Arts Council’s 2009 Original Writing Competition. Much of her recent writing deals with loss related to illness and dying: topics she explores as an associate in the Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities at the University of Utah School of Medicine, where she teaches writing to medical students and leads literature seminars for physicians. For the past eight years, she has led poetry workshops for teenagers who have survived organ transplants, as well as for other patients. At the U, she is also a doctoral student in communication and rhetoric, researching the role of narrative in doctor-patient communication. Susan received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona, where she was fiction editor of Sonora Review literary magazine. Twice, her poetry has won awards from the Utah Arts Council. She was a finalist in the 2010 Crab Creek Review Poetry Contest and received a Redbook Young Writers Award for fiction. Her poems have appeared in journals including Crab Creek Review, The Healing Muse, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, ellipsis, Salt Flats Annual, and City Art Journal.
On Wander Lane
by Susan Samples
Behind me, leaves chime
as I hear cherries slipping through:
grace notes to dusk’s denser tones.
Though later, on the final rise,
I spin around as something sounds:
an apple from the neighbor’s tree?
The moon shines pale
on an asphalt sky. And I
must decide: leave it?
Or take it home
and slowly slice the unripe
flesh sideways, so I can see
seeded with dark stars--
Mike Dorrell is originally from Swansea, Wales, and has lived in Utah for many years. He is the author of over a dozen produced plays for stage, radio and television. In Britain, he has worked with companies like Paines Plough, Avon Touring, Theatre Powys and BBC Radio 4. Here in Utah, he was Dramaturg for Salt Lake Acting Company for ten years, developing new work by Julie Jensen, David Kranes, Jeff Metcalf and others. He is currently responsible for new play development with Utah Contemporary Theatre who have produced four of his "Talking Wales" series of monologues. Mike is also the author of two novels for Jonathon Cape and W.H. Allen. His poetry has been published in small magazines in the UK. Mike was educated at the universities of London and Bristol and also holds a master's in British and American lLiterature from the University of Utah. He has taught both there and at Westminster College.
Dylan Thomas and Laugharnes
by Mike Dorrell
When he walked into that estuary
he knew the concentric circles of mud and desire;
he knew what the heron bound tradition
that encapsulated his singing would cost him.
He knew that and still he went wordless,
always aching after the right motif,
beating out emblems of meaning
where the rivers meet,
where the marsh meets the edge of town
and all his singing came to grief.
Rosalyn Ostler’s award-winning book, Walking the Earth Barefoot, was prompted by the truth that life is filled with poems. Whenever a groups of poets chat, someone always seems to say, “That’s a poem. You should write that.”
She is the product of the West, born in Arizona and deep-rooted in a long life in Utah, with a wonderful Missouri childhood in between. She and her husband live in Cottonwood Heights and have a large family, including great-grandchildren.
Her yearning to write poetry was realized in midlife and polished by community education classes and membership in the Utah State Poetry Society. She is a past president of that organization and continues to serve as an officer. Rosalyn has many years of activity as a Scouter and church teacher. She enjoys life and has realized that, much as she loves poetry, she loves poets more.
by Rosalyn Ostler
My closest neighbor keeps her spotless rooms
In order that defies my skill; and yet
Another friend from down the street perfumes
The air with gourmet dishes sure to whet
A weary appetite, while I make do
with simple recipes. And when I hear
the singer’s voice resounding freely through
her uninvited tears, my cavalier
intents to join the choir at church begin
to reel. Comparing often leaves me less
than best, and confidence becomes chagrin.
Then wisdom whispers this: she lacks finesse
Of nightingales, but still the robin sings;
And even crows have iridescent wings.
Nancy Takacs lives in Wellington, Utah and is the author of books Pale Blue Wings, Limberlost Press, 2001; Preserves, City Art Press, 2004; and Wild Animals, Outlaw Artists Press, 2008. She has been the recipient of several poetry awards, including First Place both in the Utah Arts Council Poetry Book Competition and in its Poetry Competition, The Nation/Discovery Award, as well as Utah Individual Art Grants and fellowships, and residencies at Ucross and Vermont Studios. Takacs was a wilderness studies instructor and a creative writing professor at the College of Eastern Utah in Price, from where she has recently taken early retirement. She was also co-founder there of the longest ongoing Poetry Readers’ Series in Utah. Her poetry and reviews have appeared most recently or will be appearing in terrain.org, Diner, Red Rock Review, Cutthroat, Plainsongs, Adirondack Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Weber Studies. She received an Honorable Mention from Diner’s 2006’s poetry contest, and has been a finalist for the Alligator Juniper Prize, the Joy Harjo Prize, among others, and was nominated three times for a Pushcart. Pale Blue Wings and Preserves were finalists for the Utah Book Award. Takacs also collaborated with sculptor Karen Jobe Templeton for two years creating paired poetry and sculptures related to Central Eastern Utah women’s lives, past and present. She is currently an artist-in-education for the Utah Division of Arts & Museums, having done workshops in prisons and schools through this program for the past ten years. In addition, she has given workshops and readings throughout the west. She received an MFA from the University of Iowa. A new book Juniper is now available from Limberlost Press.
by Nancy Takacs
My bee and blossom voice
hums in my wrist each morning, flies out
over the field, bumbles through dust
in the April wind, flies low to the apple trees
to lose myself whole in each center.
Each morning when I was ten, a voice
spoke in my right leg as it swung
the kickstand up, I became the gold words
of motion, circling in the cement yard,
then breaking away to the earth of the park
where hundreds of geese lifted together.
That bicycle voice
is a wise voice, tells me
to keep moving, get back on
and churn my thin beige tires
after my left eyebrow splits open,
switch gears on the handlebar, feel
for the easy uphill clicks in first,
always coast downhill in second,
still try to reach all the green lights in time.
During the night there is the other voice,
the one that doubts its weightless
bodies and tree of wings.
But the bicycle voice says the roads
are familiar, and the bee-blossom voice
says it will spill its spring language
if I begin: Open.
Go in, go in.
Star Coulbrooke co-authored a 2003 chapbook, Logan Canyon Blend (Blue Scarab Press), with her mentor, the late Kenneth W. Brewer, former poet laureate of Utah. Her 2008 manuscript, River Once Removed, received finalist designations in the May Swenson Contest (Utah State University Press) and the Philip Levine Contest (UC Irvine), and won second place in the Utah Arts Council Original Writing Contest. She has published in journals and anthologies such as Ellipsis, Hunger Magazine, Redactions: Poetry and Poetics, and A Cadence of Hooves: A Celebration of Horses. A poem, “How I Stopped Selling Life Insurance,” was named Editor’s Choice in the anthology, New Poets of the American West. Star directs the Utah State University Writing Center and is responsible for Helicon West, a bi-monthly open readings/featured readers series. She lives in Smithfield, Utah, with her partner, Mitch, and their three labby-heelerish dogs.
by Star Coulbrooke
Thin as faded fly-wings,
ruined skin pulls off
with the tug of a sweaty sock.
Colors vivid as sex,
symbols harbored in ink,
attitude seven layers deep.
Bio for Melissa Bond. The espresso version, in third person:
1. Never was a skinny girl, always was a small girl, always had to jump.
2. Wrote on her mattress at night, burning adolescent smoke and fire.
3. It started here, with heat and brooding and a Jim Morrison crush, big as a movie.
4. Years pass: She teaches addicts and hurt children the love of the pen.
5. She writes a chapbook called Hush to talk about addiction, the slosh and snuff that nearly rubbed her out.
6. Years pass: She writes articles and stories about people that burn. Bright.
7. Sometimes too bright, but heat attracts her.
8. Becomes an editor at a shiny magazine, the Wasatch Journal.
9. Two years and the journal folds as the country is folding.
10. Then a baby comes, faster than a speedball.
12. Who knew she would be like spring in this sallow time?
13. These children, these little sprouts.
14. And the boy child is different, has more chromosomes than most boys, has a soft heart.
15. A rocket ship.
16. Her voice explodes with Afterbirth.
17. She will shout from the stage.
18. These poems, this blood-letting.
19. She will shout as an offering.
20. You will hear her.
Parts of Speech
by Melissa Bond
Listen to the bright syntax of motherhood,
the stutter and hum, the endless progression
of ellipses, the murderous lexicon.
Have you heard? She lives for the second person
pronoun until the sun goes down at which point
she pours herself a gin and tonic and waves off
his attempts to entice with the active verb:
Sorry baby, she needs a little time for herself.
She's been splitting infinitives all day (you can imagine -
she wants to boldly go, she wants to effortlessly arrive),
and while the sun lights and sets with her children,
you can almost see the little bees that hum
around her head, their feet heavy with pollen,
reminding her that one day
her hips will swing again like a cathedral bell
and she will hold the weight of this new beauty
as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
Gail Gunnarson Schimmelpfennig was born in Ogden, Utah, and graduated from Ogden High. She began college as an English major at Weber State College, and completed it at the same place (by then Weber State University) many years later. Her first book, The Frozen Kingdom, was awarded the Pearle M. Olsen Publication Award from the Utah State Poetry Society in 2009, and was a finalist for the Utah Book Award in 2010. She has been published in The Wise Mother, Nine-One-One, Metaphor, Utah Sings Vol. VIII, The Leader, and Let’s Celebrate. Her interests include anthropology, skiing, hiking, basketry, painting on silk, and any kind of needlework except crochet. She is a 25-year volunteer with Girl Scouts of Utah.
by Gail G. Schimmelpfennig
Embrace each falling snowflake with your eyes,
white cosmic dust, and trace the spare black line
of naked bough. We need not eulogize
dead roses, fallen fruit, nor undermine
the crystal splendor of the sun on snow,
the spun-glass-architecture fringe on roof
and porch, a dripping xylophone; we know
we are alive when breath forms cloudy proof.
This winter chills us to the marrow; frost
has glued the maple leaves onto the earth.
Like mounding snowdrifts, all that we have lost
amasses, even as we count the worth
of what we’ve gained. Let’s choose to honor both
with gratitude for unexpected growth.
N. Colwell Snell graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. He was named the 2007 Utah State Poetry Society Poet of the Year. His manuscript, Hand Me My Shadow, won the 2007 Pearle M. Olsen Book Award, the 2007 City Weekly Artys for Best Poetry Collection, and runner-up in the 2007 Utah Center for the Book award. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2005, and his poetry won 1st Runner-up in the 2006 William Faulkner-William Wisdom poetry competition. His poetry has been published in Bay Area Poets’ Coalition, California Quarterly, Comstock Review, Weber the Contemporary West, and elsewhere. He lives in Salt Lake City.
by N. Colwell Snell
Because the moon has dropped so low,
no need for a lamp in this half-spent shack
where I’ll remain a while. Nothing
but mile after silent white mile, except
for the brook’s jagged frown and murmur
where the ice broke through
from the weight of that magnificent elk
whose spoor has long since vanished in the snow.
I summon the sommelier with a snap
and motion him to pour
which he does with grave exactitude
before disappearing through the wall
like the resurrected Christ.
the moon’s pocked flaws
magnify my aching tenfold here
where nothing shifts or thaws.
Elaine Wright Christensen, Utah’s Poet of the Year in 1990, has two collections of poetry: At The Edges and I Have Learned 5 Things. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including The Ensign, Weber Studies, Ellipsis, Dialogue, Petroglyph, and The Comstock Review, where she placed first in the Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award judged by Stephen Dobyns. Poems published in anthologies include: The Cancer Poetry Project; Encore(a collection of prize winning poems for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies); Discoveries: Two Centuries of Poems by Mormon Women, and recently, in New Poets of the American West. She has been nominated for a Pushcart prize. In 2007 she was a finalist in the Utah Arts Literary Contest. Elaine received a BA in German and English from Utah State University. Living in Sandy, Utah, she is the mother of five, the grandmother of eleven.
Sermon On Manchac Swamp
by Elaine Wright Christensen
Here, where duckweed coats the water
like green algae,
where Spanish moss curls
like an old man’s beard, crisp and wiry,
where cypress lean into the swamp,
their pointed knees praying for roothold
along the bank,
here, where heat is wet,
where palmetto fronds have long forgotten
how to move their delicate fingers,
only the alligator stirs, sliding
like cream into the coffee colored bayou,
where spotted gar and catfish hang
just below the surface, too lazy to swim,
where greened-browns and khaki-grays
camouflage the earth,
where only the trumpet vine splashes red,
where cottonmouths cradle in tupelo gums
and spiders sprawl in their littered webs,
here, if we listen, is the sermon on idleness,
how it smells,
how it smiles
its immense satisfaction
at our boat slipping happily into the shade.
Marilyn Bushman-Carlton was named the 1999 Utah Poet of the Year by the Utah Poetry Society. She has been a Utah Arts Council Artist-in-Residence, UAC Artist Grant recipient, and prize-winner in the UAC Original Writing Competition. Her two anthologies, on keeping things small and Cheat Grass, have received critical praise, as did Her Side of It, a finalist in the Jesse Bryce Niles Chapbook Competition at the Comstock Review. She has published in Earth’s Daughters, Ellipsis, Exponent II, Iris, Sunstone, Utah English Journal, the Wasatch Review, and elsewhere. She also participated in City Art Poetry on the Bus and contributed to Discoveries: Two Centuries of Poems by Mormon Women and To Rejoice as Women: Talks from the 1994 Women’s Conference. Her third book of poems, Her Side of It, was recently published (July 2010) by Signature Books.
Girl on a Wing
by Marilyn Bushman-Carlton
to the top
all the way
of her parka
float on the buoyancy
you in. You could
chips of light that troll
She has such splendid eyes—
an I-just-won-the-prize celebration.
a look-he-loves-me smile,
a 90th-percentile smile,
Scribbled across her pumped-pink face:
her steps splashing the confetti-colored leaves.
piercing the cold,
her radiant blue parka and yellow hair
I pass a college student coasting against traffic,
at the bottom of this most demoralizing month,
Climbing Fourth South in November
RECEIVE BITE SIZE POEMS IN YOUR EMAIL IN-BOX EACH MONTH:
If you would like to receive the monthly emails with the Bite Size 2.0 Poem of the Month, please send an email, with Bite Size Poems in the subject line to Jean Irwin.