Dabbler by nature, risk-taker by profession, Bonnie Shiffler-Olsen’s poetry, essays, and photography are published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, HEX magazine, likewise folio, new bourgeois, Outlet, and Touchstones Journal. In January 2015 she co-founded Rock Canyon Poets with poet Trish Hopkinson, and the companion poetry journal Orogeny. Shiffler-Olsen writes about the mundane, the profane, and the sacred. During the ten years she single-parented two sons and two daughters, Shiffler-Olsen served as editor-in-chief for Touchstones and BYU-Idaho’s Scroll. Her professional credentials include journalist, contemporary dance artist, and founder/director of a non-profit ballet school for low-income children in southeast Idaho. In 2016, following 22 years as a perennial senior at three universities and 200 completed credit hours, Shiffler-Olsen will graduate with a BA in creative writing from Utah Valley University. She may or may not pursue an MFA. She lives with her children and Mark, a very patient philosopher husband in Provo, Utah. Web Site: https://provokabulary.wordpress.com/
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 Stirring, Chagrin River Review, and The Found Poetry Review. In January 2015, Hopkinson co-founded Rock Canyon Poets with poet Bonnie Shiffler-Olsen, and the companion poetry journal Orogeny. 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 http://trishhopkinson.com/ or on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/trishhopkinsonpoet.
(doer of silly things)
Austin Beckstrom is a Graphic Designer and recently reformed eternal student. He is from California, Texas, and Utah in that order- and works to buck the stereotypes of each. He is married to the most talented and beautiful editor in the world, and has a son and a daughter who take after their mother. He loves writing, reading, games, poetry, wordplay, freethinking, and especially when one or more of them intersect.
Boots on the Ground
Darin Whittaker (also known as Father Sluggo) is a former musician turned poet after the music thing didn’t quite work. What he lacks in literary training and formal education he makes up for with enthusiasm and a love for writing. He has lived in Utah County for the last 20 years and can be seen almost daily at a local coffee shop where he spends time growing his beard, smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, writing, and discussing important things with his friends. Almost in that order, and always with a song in his head.
Woman About Town
(social media curator)
Lisa Wence Connors is a mercenary writer and poet. She divides her time between Salt Lake City, UT, Fruita, CO and the open road. Her work has been published in Colorado Journeys Magazine.
Rock Canyon Poets
Aaron Gates is a Utah Valley University student majoring in Writing Studies. He is Co-Editor-in-Chief of peculiar: A Queer Literary Journal and his poetry has been published in Warp and Weave and Touchstones. Gates has an unhealthy obsession with Channing Tatum, Calvin and Hobbes, and Thai food.
Alyssa Wolf is a poet who focuses on both the mundane and precious things in life. She writes about everything from hot chili peppers and her grandmother’s chicken soup to sacred indigenous ceremonies. About a million years ago, she earned her BA from Wellesley College with a double-major in English and Women’s Studies, and later earned a Masters Degree from Nova Southeastern University. Along the way, she won the Elizabeth Babcock Award for Poetry, the Florence Annette Wing Prize, and the Amanda Butler Sternberg Memorial Award for Poetry. Alyssa currently teaches literature courses at Wasatch Academy, an unusual international boarding school in the middle of rural Sanpete County, Utah, where the only traffic jams occur when herds of baaa-ing sheep flock down Main Street as they are moved on or off the mountain for grazing purposes. Aside from writing, Alyssa loves hiking, art, singing, Native American ceremonies, ice skating, horses, funny movies, and (of course!) chocolate.
Austin Anderson graduated from Utah Valley University with a degree in creative writing. He is currently a student in the super awesome, best of the best Oregon State University-Cascades Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing. He lives with his wife and daughter in Spanish Fork, Utah.
Chris A. Peck
Chris A. Peck is a high school English teacher who tends to wander in his writing. He has published poetry, prose, essays, and science fiction in venues such as, Wilderness Interface Zone, Sci-Phi Journal, Essais, Touchstones, and others. Peck focuses much of his writing in exploring ideas regarding existentialism, the absurd, childhood, and wonder. He has also published a book of poetry called When I Was.
Chris Atkin is just another Utah Valley University graduate and local high school English teacher who stumbled his way into the Rock Canyon Poets. Born and raised in Orem, He is proud to call Utah home. A self proclaimed “word junky,” Chris spends much of his time devouring whatever texts he can get his hands on, then regurgitating them back out in various scrambled messes that he lovingly calls “poetry.” When not writing, Chris can be found hiding in his basement apartment binge watching Netflix, or playing his music much too loudly as he races down State Street with a car full of buddies.
Claire Åkebrand is a Swede who grew up in Germany and Utah. She has poetry forthcoming in the Manchester Review and BOAAT. Other poems have appeared in the Beloit Poetry Journal, Eunoia Review, and Luna Luna Magazine. She is completing a poetry MFA at the University of Utah and lives in Provo with her husband and two children.
Colin Blaine Douglas was born in 1944; is an enrolled member of the Samish Indian Nation; became a Latter-day Saint at the age of sixteen; served in the Brazilian Mission in 1964-1966; served in Military Intelligence in the Regular Army and the Utah National Guard, retiring as a sergeant first class; attended the University of Washington as a journalism major and received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in American literature at BYU; was employed for twenty years as an editor in the Curriculum Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; edited and reported for the Magna (Utah) Times newspaper for two years; with the former Linda Jean Wells, to whom he was married in 1969, is the father of seven; has resided in Utah since 1971; as literary favorites names Latter-day Saint scripture (including the Bible), Arthur Rimbaud, André Breton, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder, and Philip Lamantia; is the author of First Light, First Water: Poems and Prose Poems, Six Poems of Joseph Smith, and Glyphs.
Dennis Clark should have been locked up long ago, but since, by some bureaucratic oversight, he was allowed to mate and reproduce, the cat is out of the bag and the toothpaste is out of the tube and the cat is playing with the toothpaste so … be careful what you put in your mouth tonight. Put a poem in your mouth!
Diana Dean is a student at Utah Valley University, graduating this semester with a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. She’s been published in Touchstones and Dialogue Journal and is currently the editor in chief of Touchstones Journal and on staff with Intersections and Essais Journal. She feels like she makes bad life decisions and would be happy to pay someone to make her decisions for her if only she earned more than minimum wage. She also thinks she has a smoking body, but has a hard time convincing anybody else of that fact…
A bit of an almost friendly, slightly troll-ish next-door neighbour, Erika enjoys the realm of things that can be done in solitude or silent company; gaming, writing, music, photography. But she also quite enjoys spending time with her curly boys (her husband and poodle).
She is one of the Literature Community volunteers at DeviantArt and you can stalk her at themaideninblack.deviantart.com; her previous homes span Argentina, Italy and England but she seems to have become almost of a sedentary in Provo, Utah.
Heather Holland loves mountains, birds, trees, dogs, raspberries, yoga, and meditation. She graduated from Utah Valley University with a Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Studies, with emphases in English literature and anthropology, and a minor in creative writing. Her poetry chapbook, Mastering the Art of Joy, was published by NFSPS in 2011 as winner of the Edna Meudt Memorial Award. Her writing has also been published in The Found Poetry Review, Segullah, Encore, Touchstones, Essias, Panorama, and Warp & Weave.
Jack Garcia is a recent graduate of Utah Valley University, majoring in English – Creative Writing. He’s been published journals such as Touchstones and Essais, and won awards for both poetry and prose. He is also Co-Editor-in-Chief of Peculiar: A Queer Literary Journal and lives in Provo, Utah, with his husband.
Web Site: http://www.peculiarjournal.com/ and https://clippings.me/jackgarcia
Jessica is an English teacher at Slate Canyon, a lockdown facility for incarcerated youth. She loves her job and enjoys spreading her love of literature and poetry to her students. Jessica is co-founder of Speak for Yourself Open Mic, a weekly creative writing open mic in downtown Provo. Community members have made it a success, and she is constantly inspired by local and featuring poets.
Joanna Ellsworth graduated from Utah Valley University with a B.S. in English Education and a minor in creative writing. She’s currently teaching high school English in Utah. She’s a married mother of two who loves playing geeky games with her closest friends, early-morning running, and MMA-based fitness training. Her poetry, short stories, and literary criticism have been published in various journals including Touchstones, Essais, Warp and Weave, and 521 Magazine.
Joe is a Utah Valley University graduate currently kicking his poetry in all directions and hoping it will stick somewhere. As an undergrad, Joe worked as the poetry editor of Touchstones for two semesters and as the managing editor for one. Joe’s favorite poets include e.e. cummings, Robinson Jeffers, and local flavor Rob Carney. Joe enjoys cutting up both magazines and newspapers and rearranging them into things that are less boring. He has no kids, no pets, and doesn’t grow tomatoes.
Josef Firmage is an award winning writer. He has published fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. He was awarded the President’s Writing Award for an essay, “Spartan Decisions,” and was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize for his short story, “A Boy in the Whale.” His poetry and fiction has been published at BSU, in cold-drill, Anemone Sidecar, Prick of the Spindle, and The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review. He is currently at work on his first novel.
Laura West is a creative writing major at UVU. She has been published in Touchstones and The Weird Reader. Laura lives in Provo with her husband, her four children, and a kitty. In what little free time she has, she likes to read, write, crochet, and occasionally sleep.
Marianne Hales Harding
Marianne Hales Harding is a poet, essayist, and playwright. Her plays have been produced in theaters from New York to Seattle and she was the Playwright in Residence at the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival (USF). She was featured in USF’s New American Playwriting Project and was a finalist in the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s National Ten Minute Play Contest. Her work has been adapted for film by independent filmmakers and published by Brooklyn Publishers, the Silver Birch Press, Everyday Mormon Writer, ePregnancy and Rocky Mountain Running Magazine (among others). She received her MFA in Playwriting from Ohio University and her BA in English from Brigham Young University. She is the co-founder of Speak For Yourself, a creative writing open mic and community in Provo, Utah.
Web Site: http://speakforyourselfopenmic.blogspot.com/
Matthew A. Jonassaint lives in the heart of the Utah Valley, where he works with high school students. He studied film history and modernist literature as an undergrad while working in editorial positions for the university newspaper. His current writing project is about philosophy, drugs, and comic books.
Michael has lived in Utah Valley for almost two years. California born and Utah raised, Michael has lived in St.George, Logan, and a few places in between. He is currently finishing his Master’s in Clinical Social Work from BYU. Michael spends any free time with his wife and daughter taking walks and enjoying the mountains. He has always loved words and primarily set them to music during his angsty teenage years. Most recently he has found a deep love for poetry with the help of his wife and a second-hand copy of Derek Walcott’s “The Bounty.” Inevitably hobbies include running, problem solving, and in most cases running from his problems.
Paul Francis is a retired Army colonel and practicing Periodontist in Lehi Utah. He contours gingiva and implants titanium, idolizes Milton and Chaucer, climbs couloirs and routes, then flouts runouts; slogs on snowshoes and hikes hinterlands; writes and rhymes, never mimes but modifies memes and seems sensible. Paul is a member of Rock Canyon Poets and Blazing Words Performing Poets. He regularly perform at Speak for Yourself open mic at Enliten Café in Provo and occasionally performs in slam poetry competitions at Salt City Slam at Weller Book Works and Sugar Slam at Joffee Coffee.
Web Site: www.francisperio.com
Sarah Duffy completed her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of South Florida. She writes poetry, nonfiction, and dabbles in a bit of fiction here and there. Her work has appeared in Tar River Poetry, Fire in the Pasture, Sweet: A Literary Confection, Inscape, and Dialogue. She grew up a bi-coastal resident of New York City and Southern California. She currently resides in Orem, Utah.
Originally a Carbon County native, Shauntel Peterson is currently a senior at Utah Valley University studying English and Creative Writing. She has worked as Poetry Editor for two semesters on Touchstones and has been published in Intersections, Touchstones, and Warp & Weave. Shauntel also presented at the 2015 Writing for Social Change Conference at UVU. Shauntel is also a dancer and is passionate about teaching the next generation of ballerinas.
Steven Duncan is a Utah Valley poet, aspiring physician, and unapologetic supporter of wearing socks and sandals. Live your life. He weathered two years in Siberia as a Mormon missionary, and made it back with all his fingers and toes. Steven loves both written and spoken word poetry, and enjoys spending his evenings playing with language and exploring new forms of expression. For more, visit stevenduncan.tumblr.com.
Tacey M. Atsitty
Tacey M. Atsitty, Diné, is Tsénahabiłnii (Sleep Rock People) and born for Ta’neeszahnii (Tangle People) from Cove, AZ. She is a recipient of the Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, the Corson-Browning Poetry Prize, and Morning Star Creative Writing Award. She holds bachelor’s degrees from Brigham Young University and the Institute of American Indian Arts, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Kenyon Review Online, Mandala, bosque, Prairie Schooner, Crazyhorse, New Orleans Review, New Poets of the American West Anthology, and other publications. She lives in New Mexico.
Photo credit: Dorothy Grandbois
Web Site: www.taceymatsitty.com
Zach T Power
Zach T Power is an MFA candidate in Poetry at BYU, as well as an editor at both Inscape and Elsewhere Mag.
He can be found online at zachtpower.com .