Poetry Happens Utah – January 2020 events and calls

Welcome to the Utah monthly edition of Poetry Happens, brought to you by Rock Canyon Poets. Each edition will include poetry happenings and other announcements coming up in Utah, with highlights specifically for Utah county. And tune in on KRCL Radioactive the first Wednesday of every month for announcements and feature poet reading!


SPECIAL EVENT: Rock Canyon Poets poetry reading & open mic every 2nd Tuesday from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at Pioneer Book in Provo, this month on January 14, Poetry Open Mic + Book Launch Party for the 5th volume of Orogeny, an annual collection of poems by Rock Canyon Poets.

Every Thursday – Speak for Yourself spoken word open mic at Enliten Cafe in Provo, at 7:30 pm

Saturday Night Slam Series, check their Facebook page for monthly dates, from 7 – 9 PM at the BYU Wilkinson Student Center in Provo


Kimiko Hahn and Lindsay Lusby Reading – The University of Utah Guest Writers Series presents an evening of poetry with authors Kimiko Hahn and Lindsay Lusby at Finch Lane Gallery at the Art Barn, Salt Lake City UT. Jan 16, 2020 at 07:00 pm – 08:00 pm (Thu).

Jacqueline Balderrama | Nectar and Small – Jacqueline Balderrama will read from and sign her new poetry chapbook, Nectar and Small. Presented by The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City UT. Jan 30, 2020 at 07:00 pm (Thu).

City Art Reading Series, typically the first three Wednesdays of every month at the Salt Lake City Downtown Library. Check their Facebook Events page for updates.

Bountiful Open Mic is a music/poetry open mic held the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of every month at 8 pm; 55 North Main in Bountiful

Sugar Slam every 2nd Thursday at Watchtower Cafe in SLC at 8 PM.  Open mic beforehand. Dec. 12.

Haikus, Modernism and Stanton MacDonald-Wright – “Haiga Portfolio” (1965-1966) blends Eastern and Western influences, pairing vibrant modernist paintings with haikus written by some of Japan’s most influential poets. Presented by Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art at Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Logan UT, exhibit runs from August 24 – June 30, 2020. 

CALLS FOR POEMS (Utah-based)

Provo Poetry Contest – free to enter, cash prizes! Deadline: Feb. 1, 2020. Judge is Star Coulbrooke, 1st place – $100, 2nd place – $50, plus finalists will be displayed in historic downtown Provo during National Poetry Month and the Provo Art Stroll in April 2020.

Utah Life call for poems: May/June 2020 issue will be poems on the theme of “Butterflies and Flowers.”

Western Humanities Review – open to submissions year round.

For more national submission calls, visit https://trishhopkinson.com.

If you have an event or announcement related to poetry in Utah, please contact us here and we will include it in our next edition.


Poetry Open Mic + Book Launch Party, Tuesday, Jan. 14 @ 6:30 – Pioneer Book, Provo

The Rock Canyon Poets and Pioneer Book announce the release party of Orogeny, the fifth anniversary collection of poems by local Utah County poets along with an open mic on Tuesday, January 14, 2019 at 6:30 pm.

Orogeny is the fifth annual printed anthology by Rock Canyon Poets members. Contributing poets receive a free copy and additional copies will be available to the public for $10 at the event. The event begins with an open mic, after which, Rock Canyon Poets will read their work from the anthology. Light refreshments will be served. Open to the public. No ticket necessary.

“For an excellent overview of today’s literary Utah, Orogeny is the best source I’ve seen. The Red Rock Canyon Poets have assembled a splendid, first rate collection and even a single read through will convince the reader that all is indeed hale and hearty in Utah’s literary scene. This is a quite delightful and delightfully readable anthology, one of the very best literary magazines I’ve seen this year: it does Utah proud. Bravo y ole’.”

—David Lee, Utah’s first poet laureate and author of So Quietly the Earth

“Orogeny, the fifth anthology of the Rock Canyon poets, breaks through the trite tropes and stereotypes about Utah to explore the undiscovered nooks and crags in our mountain ranges. Friends of form will delight in the prowess and precision of Tacey Atsitty’s opening round of sonnets, whereas slam poetry enthusiasts will find a brother in Chris Atkin’s soul-wrenching poems about self-love and resilience. What I appreciate most about this anthology is the way it creates space for even the most tattered parts of us. In ‘Permu-gay-tions,’ Aaron Gates flips a canonical biblical verse to ask “Shall not man lie with man?” In ‘Birthmark,’ Laura West reclaims a piece of herself shamed by a bully, and in ‘I Remain Affectionately Yours,’ Marianne Hale Harding ugly cries in a Wal-Mart after a divorce. In Oregeny, may we all find a home, another healing and birth.”

—Willy Palomo, Chief Editor of La Piscucha Magazine

For more information, contact the Rock Canyon Poets, rockcanyonpoets@gmail.com.

Where: Pioneer Book – 450 West Center Street, Provo

When: Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Time: 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Rock Canyon Poets boasts diverse membership, ranging from 18 to 70+ years in age with many backgrounds–including literary journal founders, editors, ex-military, business professionals, a playwright, and a periodontist.  Individually, they have received several awards and been published in magazines, anthologies, journals, chapbooks, and full-length books of poetry. Rock Canyon Poets offer poetry with the tactile clarity of tin-can messages through fuzzy strings to the ears of an audience. These poems are tumbleweeds in semi-truck grills. They get stuck in your teeth, build bridges of spun sugar, and make it possible to mount a camel without a sturdy ladder.

Co-founded by Bonnie Shiffler-Olsen and Trish Hopkinson in January, 2015, Rock Canyon Poets was established to develop camaraderie among Utah Valley poets, provide consistent workshopping and reading opportunities, and promote the disciplined study of writing poetry as a serious art form. Members meet twice a month at Pioneer Book in historic downtown Provo. The group sponsors poetry readings and an open mic on the 2nd Tuesday of every month. Membership is by invitation or portfolio submission only.

For more information, contact the Rock Canyon Poets, rockcanyonpoets@gmail.com.