Utah’s poets laureate are in a class by themselves.
In the 18 years since the state launched an official program to promote literature and the arts from Moab to Logan and beyond, just four people have held that title.
“It’s very hard to make a living as a poet, or any kind of writer,” Moab Poets and Writers member Diana Adams said. “It’s such an honor to be a poet laureate because it’s quite a narrow field.”
This month, Moab Poets and Writers and the Grand County Public Library will be highlighting selections from their work during their Evening of Poetry and Conversation on Wednesday, July 15, at 6 p.m. inside the library’s large meeting room.
“We’ll talk a little bit about each poet, and then we’ll read some of their poetry,” Adams said.
“It’s pretty free-form and open to whatever people want to say,” she added. “It can go any way, depending on who adds to the discussion.”
The group’s main goal, she said, is to share its love of words and writing with others.
“We want to keep poetry and writing alive,” she said.
On a broader scale, that’s just what current Utah Poet Laureate Lance Larsen is trying to do.
Larsen travels around the state as an ambassador for poetry and literature; his December 2013 presentation in Moab struck Moab Poets and Writers member Marcy Hafner as a fun and engaging visit.
“He was very approachable,” Hafner said. “He didn’t just step out of the room after his talk.”
Adams said that Moab Poets and Writers aim to carry that same spirit over to their monthly events, which alternate between evenings of poetry and conversation one month, followed by open mic readings the next month.
In July, Moab Poets and Writers and the library are also sponsoring a writing contest, which focuses on the theme of character development.
“Our goal with that is to have some fun,” Adams said. “And hopefully, we’ll find some new writers.”
Contestants are encouraged to create characters that jump off the page and grab the reader’s attention.
“It’s a pretty wide-open contest,” she said. “It doesn’t have a lot of rules about what kind of character you need to create.”
There are a few basic guidelines, though.
Each one-page entry must be single-spaced, using 12-point font. Participants must be at least 15 years old, and they must be part-time, full-time or former residents of southeastern Utah. Entries should be submitted to the library no later than midnight on Monday, July 20.
The winning entries will be announced at Moab Poets and Writers open mic at Eklecticafé on Friday, Aug. 21. Anyone who submitted an entry is invited to read their sketches during the open mic event at the café, which is located at 352 N. Main St.
The first-place winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to Back of Beyond Books; a $25 Back of Beyond certificate will go the runner-up.
Contest entries can be submitted via email to email@example.com; the word “Contest” should be included in the subject line. They can also be mailed to: Contest, Grand County Public Library, 257 E. Center St., Moab UT 84532.
July 15 event at library highlights the work of Utah’s official poets
“It’s pretty free-form and open to whatever people want to say … It can go any way, depending on who adds to the discussion.”
Wednesday, July 15, at 6 p.m.
Where: Grand County Public Library’s large meeting room, 257 E. Center St.
For more information about upcoming Moab Poets and Writers events, or to become a member, go to moabpoetsandwriters.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.