Utah Writers Offer New Views of State’s 125th Anniversary in UTAH @ 125

Twenty-two writers. Twenty-two original views of Utah. Collected as Utah @ 125, these works of flash nonfiction are part of Thrive125, a far-ranging cultural initiative celebrating the state’s 125th anniversary.

What: Utah @ 125, a collection of new 125-word nonfiction pieces by Utah writers

When: Published February 2021

Where: Available at thrive125.utah.gov/utah-at-125

The flash nonfiction pieces in Utah @ 125, each just 125 words long, were commissioned from writers ranging from Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal, a University of Utah professor, to Lance Larsen, a former state poet laureate and Brigham Young University professor, and Tayler Fang, a recent Logan High School graduate, who served as 2019-2020’s National Student Poet of the West.

Other writers include slam poets, playwrights, nature writers, activists and novelists, based in Vernal, Cedar City, Provo, West Valley City, Eagle Mountain, Logan and Salt Lake City. These short-short essays describe a Bonneville Trail hike on the winter solstice, the anchoring feeling of watching quails march across a front yard, extraordinary views from on top and inside the artworks of “Spiral Jetty” and “Sun Tunnels,” and what it means to grow up in a town like Beaver.

The Utah Department of Heritage & Arts published Utah @ 125, a new digital literary chapbook, as part of Thrive125. The ambitious statehood celebration, which was launched Jan. 4 with a TV broadcast hosted by Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson and featuring Utah performing artists, will continue throughout the year.

Along with the literary chapbook, the Thrive125 initiative includes: a database of Utah’s 1896 architecture; “Becoming Utah: A Peoples’ Journey,” a short educational film with curriculum resources about Utah’s history; a One Book, One Utah state library book club highlighting Craig Child’s “Virga & Bone”; a “Voices: Discord and Harmony in 1896” digital exhibit; plus historical and cultural panels, such as “Wintertime Native American Tales”; and “Coming Together: How Utah Became the Union’s 45th Star,” an exhibition at the Utah State Capitol.

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