The 2018 NFSPS Convention will be in Denver, Colorado May 31st-June 3! 

Our Convention Headquarters will be the Denver Renaissance Hotel at Stapleton.

Reserve your room nights here: Room Reservation

Single and double rooms are $119 Triple is $139 Quad is $139 

Rooms must be reserved before May 10th or the price goes up!

2018 NFSPS Convention Schedule of Events (Due to unforeseen circumstances, this schedule may change)

WEDNESDAY, May 30 (Early Arrival) 6:00 - 10:00 Excursion Tennyson Street and Book Bar  




8:00 – 5:00



9:30 – 1:00

Excursion to Evergreen, Colorado



Lunch (On Your Own)


1:30 – 5:00

Excursion Evergreen (Must be on first excursion)


3:30 – 5:30

NFSPS Board Meeting


6:00 – 7:00



7:00 – 7:15



7:15 – 8:00

River City Nomads


8:00 – 9:00

 Art Compost and The Word Mechanics


9:00 – 10:00

Open Mic Hosted by Ricardo Bogeart


FRIDAY, June 1    

7:30 – 8:30

Open Mic Hosted by Barb Test


8:00 – 5:00



8:00 – 9:00

State Presidents Meeting


9:15 – 10:15        

Carolyn Campbell-Workshop


10:30 – 11:30

SETH-Performance Workshop


12:00 – 1:00



1:30 – 2:30

Manningham Winners, Presentation of Special Award, and NFSPS Contests Results


3:00 – 4:30

David Rothman- Belle Turnbull


4:30 – 5:30

Plenary Session


6:00 – 7:00



7:00 – 9:00

College Undergraduate Winners and NFSPS Contests Results


9:00 – 10:00

Open Mic Hosted by Marleine Yanish


SATURDAY, June 2    

7:30 – 8:30

Open Mic hosted by Cyndeth


9:00 – 10:15

Aaron Abeyta- Writing Workshop


10:30-11:45 Eleanor Swanson- The Persona Poem  

12:00 – 1:00



1:00 – 2:30

NFSPS Contests Results


3:00 – 4:15

Panel Reading Pattiann Rogers, Aaron Abeyta, David Rothman


4:30 – 5:30

Veronica Patterson- The Prose Poem


6:00 – 7:00



7:15 – 8:00

Stevens Book Manuscript Award Winner


8:00 – 9:00

NFSPS Contest Results


9:00 – 10:00

Convention Contest and BlackBerry Peach Awards Results


SUNDAY, June 3    

7:30 – 8:30

Open Mic


8:30 – 10:00

NFSPS Board Meeting



Mining the Gold: Using Metaphor to Uncover Riches

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer



  Panel on Youth Programs Anita Jepson Gilbert, Catherine O’Neill Thorn


12:00 – 1:00



1:30 – 2:30

NFSPS Contest Results


3:00 – 4:00

Joseph Hutchison The Transformational Arc


4:00 – 4:30

Book Signings for all Authors


5:00 – 6:00



6:00 – 7:00



7:15 – 8:30

Joseph Hutchison Colorado Poet Laureate


8:30 – 9:00

NFSPS Contest Results


9:00 – 10:00                        

 Open Mic Hosted by Ricardo




To register for the conference via USPS, Print and Fill out this form. This form will also be available in the Spring Issue of Strophes. 

Rooms will need to be reserved with the hotel.  


Name       Bio Workshop Description

River City Nomads    

  Blending pathos and humor with theatrical flourishes and fine storytelling, the poetry troupe River City Nomads presents performances that are powerful, poignant, and sometimes, hilarious.


Together since 2004, the Salida, Colorado-based River City Nomads have performed at poetry festivals, art galleries, cafes, colleges and universities, independent book stores, and numerous other venues throughout Colorado.  The group’s trademark is its ability to weave the distinctive voices of its individual members—all accomplished poets in their own right—into a colorful tapestry of poetic takes on topics ranging from the awe-inspiring beauty of Colorado’s wilderness and the universal longing for connection to the absurdities of blind dates and close encounters of the strange and memorable kind on cross-country road trips.

Each of the River City Nomads writes from a strong sense of place, generating finely nuanced and richly imagined characters and landscapes that fit together, like pieces in a poetic jigsaw puzzle, to create performances that are truly unforgettable.


Art Compost and the Word Mechanics

Art Compost & the Word Mechanics has been delighting poetry audiences for more than 15 years. This musical-poetic ensemble, led by performance poet SETH, hosts a “Jam before the Slam” every Sunday evening at the Mercury Café in Denver, CO. Poets, singers and musicians from the audience are invited to join in an improvisational jam of music, poetry and spoken word. Their CD Love, Death & Poetry won a “Best of Denver” in 2005 for Best Spoken Word CD. A revolving roster of musicians, singers and poets, Art Compost & the Word Mechanics also travels the state, performing at poetry festivals and wherever else lovers of poetry gather. You can sample their recordings at Performance


Carolyn Campbell

Carolyn Evans Campbell, a native Coloradoan raised in Denver, is a graduate of East High School and the University of Colorado.   She and her husband, a Foreign Service Officer in the Diplomatic Corps, lived in South America for ten years, where she raised two sons and taught English and history.


Carolyn has had a long teaching and writing career, both in California, where she was a California Poet in the Schools, and in Evergreen and metro Denver where she became a published author and prize-winning poet.   She has published six books of poetry, one a Colorado Book Award Winner.  She has been awarded seven Top Hand Awards in poetry from the Colorado Author’s League.  Her historical novel, Fireweed, A Woman’s Saga in Gold Rush America, won first place with the Hackney Literary Award, and was a finalist for the Willa Literary Award, The Colorado Book Award, and the Heekin Literary Award.  The Ballad of Hallelujah House, a play with music, both written by Carolyn and produced by the Evergreen Players, received a First place with the Colorado Authors League.  Carolyn was awarded Artist of the Year by Evergreen’s Center for the Arts in 2016 and a First Place for a memoir written in 2016.  She presently teaches memoir and poetry in Evergreen and is an editor publishing students’ writings.  Carolyn’s passion is sharing the creative journey with other writers.

Workshop: the importance of good imagery, metaphor and the use of specific, concrete detail

I always encourage students to avoid being predictable, thinking outside of the box with interesting language.



Poet, actor and percussionist SETH celebrates his 30th year as a performance poet. One score and ten years ago, SETH joined forces with two other poet/musician/actors, Woody Hildebrant and Tupper Cullum, to form Open Rangers, a Poetry Theater troupe that incorporated other poets, musicians, actors and dancers into their many multi-textured performances. A recipient of numerous awards for his innovations in performance poetry, SETH went on to join Jafrika, a critically-acclaimed performance art trio lauded as “one of Colorado’s finest cultural offerings.” His poetry has been described as “original, moving, insightful”, his stage presence “harboring power and intelligence." One of Colorado’s best known performance poets, SETH currently performs weekly at Denver’s Mercury Café with his musical-poetic ensemble Art Compost & the Word Mechanics. SETH teaches poetry and creative writing to Denver youth and instructs fellow poets in the art of reading and performing poetry to diverse audiences.

PERFORMANCE WORKSHOP    Just as writing poetry is an art, so to reading and performing poetry in public. Taking a holistic approach to performing, this workshop explores incorporating body, voice and mind into the reading of poetry. Learn the fundamentals of how to capture and hold a listener’s attention. How to vary your speech patterns. How to expand the full range of your vocal apparatus. You’ll also learn simple strategies for including music, theater, dance and other poets into a multi-layered presentation. Participants should bring a short sample of their (or other) poetry, wear loose clothing and prepare to have fun.

David Rothman David J. Rothman serves as Director of Western Colorado University’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing, where he also directs the poetry concentration and the annual conference Writing the Rockies, along with editing Western​​’s national journal of poetry and criticism, THINK. His most recent book is Belle TurnbullOn the Life & Work of an American Master (Pleiades, 2017), co-edited with Jeffrey Villines. His most recent volumes of poetry, both from 2013, are The Book of Catapults (White Violet Press) and Part of the Darkness (Entasis Press). A book of essays about mountains and mountain towns, Living the Life (Conundrum Press), also appeared in 2013. His poems, essays and scholarly work have appeared widely, in journals including Academic QuestionsAtlantic Monthly, Gettysburg Review, Hudson Review, Kenyon Review, PoetryThreepenny Review and many more. He co-founded and served as first Executive Director of the Crested Butte Music Festival, was the founding Publisher and Editor of Conundrum Press (now an imprint of Bower House Books), and currently serves as Resident Poet for Colorado Public Radio and Poet Laureate of Colorado’s Western Slope (2017-’19). He has been a Finalist both for the Colorado Book Award in Poetry and for Colorado Poet Laureate. He recently completed a four-year term as Southwest Council Representative on the board of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and has served on panels with the NEH, the President’s Council for the Arts and Humanities, and the states arts councils of Colorado and Maryland. He lives in Crested Butte, Colorado. Belle Turnbull

Aaron Abeyta

Aaron A. Abeyta is a Colorado native and professor of English and the Mayor of Antonito, Colorado, his hometown.     He is the author of four collections of poetry and one novel. For his book, colcha, Abeyta received an American Book Award and the Colorado Book Award.  In addition, his novel, Rise, Do Not be Afraid, was a finalist for the 2007 Colorado Book Award and El Premio Aztlan. Abeyta was awarded a Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowship for poetry, and he is the former Poet Laureate of Colorado’s Western Slope, as named by the Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival. Abeyta is also a recipient of a Governor’s Creative Leadership Award for 2017. Aaron has over 100 publications including 'An Introduction to Poetry, 10th ed.,' Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, & Drama, 8th ed.' ‘Conversations in American Literature: Language, Rhetoric, & Culture’  ‘The Leopold Outlook’ ‘Colorado Central Magazine’ ‘The High Country News’ and numerous other journals.    
Eleanor Swanson Eleanor Swanson is a widely published poet and fiction writer. She is a featured poet in the Fall 2017 issue of The Missouri Review. Awards include an NEA Fellowship and a Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowship. Her first poetry collection, A Thousand Bonds: Marie Curie and the Discovery of Radium, winner of the NFSPS poetry manuscript competition, was also a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. Her second collection of poetry, Trembling in the Bones—about the Colorado Coal strike of 1913 and the 1914 Ludlow Massacre—was reissued in 2013 ( 3: A Taos Press). Her third poetry collection is Memory’s Rooms (Conundrum Press). She is also a fiction writer who has published a novel and two collections of short stories. Her second story collection, Exiles and Expatriates, won the 2014 Press Americana Prize. She regularly reads from her work in the Denver Metro area and she is Core Faculty member in the Regis University Mile High MFA Program, where, during the residency period, she teaches fiction and poetry workshops and craft seminars.   

The Persona Poem: A Door Opens

Through writing a persona poem you can experience a door opening into another consciousness, and you can also learn to lead yourself and readers into new realms of perception. Indeed, writing persona poetry can offer writers an opportunity to merge poetry of the imagination with poetry of experience.

I’d like to begin by considering the history, in brief, of the persona poem, especially the work of two well-known modernists: Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. Whereas Eliot used “masks” to distance himself from aspects of modern life which he found alienating, for Pound, the use of personae was a means of creating opaque texture in his poems. A subtext, if you will.

A number of contemporary poets write persona poems. Since two of my own poetry collections make extensive use of personae—A Thousand Bonds: Marie Curie and the Discovery of Radium, and Trembling in the Bones—I’ll talk about my strategies for establishing and maintaining voice and tone. “Radium Girls” is a poem from my first collection. One of the “girls”—Grace Fryer—tells the story of her co-workers, beginning with these lines: “We sat at long tables side by side in a big/ dusty room where we laughed and carried/ on until they told us to pipe down and paint.” In a poem that literally becomes deadly serious, Grace at first manifests lightheartedness. The tone is whimsical, the voice self-assured, and both tone and voice are maintained not only by diction but also by a series of enjambed lines. In Trembling in the Bones, I’m writing from the perspective of a child living in the tent colony at Ludlow and this requires yet another strategy, primarily attention to syntax: “With a stick I draw a picture in the dirt/ of a train and make the sound a train makes. Woo woo, I call to my bare feet” (“Charlie Costa Plays a Joke”).
Other examples that will help you to experiment with elements of style in your own work are “Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing,” Margaret Atwood; “Medusa,” and “34,” Patricia Smith; “Simone Weil at the Renault Factory (1935),” Nance Van Winckel, and “Of Love and Other Disasters,” Philip Levine. As you continue to work with personae, write in a voice that deeply interests you, a voice from science, art, history, mythology, fiction, nature, or family. Researching historical figures such as painters (Van Gogh), writers (William Blake), musicians (Jimi Hendrix), and scientists (Sir Isaac Newton), to name a few.


After you have tried your hand at writing a number of persona poems, you will have “slipped through the door” and entered unfamiliar, seductive, and mysterious worlds, having woven together unexpected connections, and having heard a chorus of voices, not your own, yet, strangely, beginning to belong to you.


Pattiann Rogers

Pattiann Rogers was born, raised and educated from elementary school through high school in Joplin, Missouri.  She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Missouri, Columbia, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and a minor in Zoology.  She holds a Master's Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Houston.

    Pattiann Rogers has published thirteen books of poetry, most recently Quickening Fields, (Penguin, 2017) and Holy Heathen Rhapsody (Penguin, 2013).  She has published two books of prose The Dream of the Marsh Wren (Milkweed Editions, 1999), and The Grand Array, Writings on Nature, Science, and Spirit  (Trinity University Press, 2010) and A Covenant of Seasons, in collaboration with the artist Joellyn Duesberry, (Hudson Hills Press, 1998). 

    Firekeeper, New and Selected Poems (Milkweed Editions, 1994) was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Award from the Academy of American Poets and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1994.  Song of the World Becoming, New and Collected Poems, 1981-2001 (Milkweed Editions, 2001) was a finalist for the Los Angeles Book Award and was recently awarded a Burroughs Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Nature Poetry.

    Rogers is the recipient of two NEA Grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Literary Award in Poetry from the Lannan Foundation.  Among other awards, her poems have received five Pushcart Prizes, two appearances in Best American Poetry, five appearances in Best Spiritual Writing, the Tietjens Prize and the Hokin Prize from Poetry, the Roethke Prize from Poetry Northwest, and two Strousse Awards from Prairie Schooner

   She has taught as a visiting writer at several universities, including Montana, and Texas, Washington University, and Pacific University, and was Associate Professor at the University of Arkansas from 1993-97.  In May, 2000, Rogers was in residence at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy.  Her papers are archived in the Sowell Family Collection at Texas Tech University. 

   Rogers is the mother of two sons and has three grandsons.  She lives with her husband, a retired geophysicist, in Colorado.


Veronica Patterson

Veronica Patterson is a graduate of Cornell University, the University of Michigan, the University of Northern Colorado, and the Warren Wilson College MFA program. Her poetry collections are How to Make a Terrarium (Cleveland State University, 1987); Swan, What Shores? (NYU Press Poetry Prize, 2000), which was a finalist for the Academy of American Poets’ 2000 James Laughlin Award and won awards from both the Colorado Center for the Book (Colorado Book Award for Poetry) and Women Writing the West (Willa Award); Thresh & Hold, which won the Gell Poetry Prize (Big Pencil Press, 2009) and was a finalist for the 2010 Colorado Book Award for Poetry; and & it had rained (CW Books, 2013); and Sudden White Fan (Cherry Grove Collections, 2018). She has also published two chapbook of prose poems, This Is the Strange Part (Pudding House Publications, 2002) and Maneuvers: Battle of the Little Bighorn Poems (Finishing Line Press, 2013), as well as a collection of poetry and photography, The Bones Remember: A Dialogue, with photographer Ronda Stone. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications including The Southern Poetry Review, The Louisville Review, The Sun, The Madison Review, The Malahat Review, The Indiana Review, Another Chicago Magazine, The Mid-American Review, The Willow Review, The Montserrat Review, The Bloomsbury Review, Willow Springs, The Colorado Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Many Mountains Moving, Coal City Review, Dogwood, New Letters, The Bellingham Review, Cimarron Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Runes, Pilgrimage, Prairie Schooner, Lumina, Rosebud, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Snake Nation Review. Her poems “Around the Block of the World” and “The Samovar” co-won the 2006 Campbell Corner Poetry Prize. Patterson has been awarded artists’ residencies at the Ucross Foundation, Rocky Mountain National Park, Hedgebrook, the Ragdale  Foundation, and the Gell Center. She received two Individual Artist’s Fellowships from the Colorado Council on the Arts. She has received several nominations for a Pushcart Prize. Her essays have appeared in The Georgia Review, PieceWork Magazine, and Pilgrimage. Her essay “Comfort Me with Apples” was selected as a Notable Essay of the Year.

Fusion, Fission, Fractal, Fibonacci: The Prose Poem


What is it that makes good prose poems so compelling? They’re exciting to read and to write. Prose poems lure you with candy from dark cars. And take you on a ride. They wake you into dreams more vivid than day. They stand on street corners blurting odd truths. Their arms point in multiple directions. They come in through doors you know you locked. They are escape artists, breaking free from all chains. They tell you stories you can’t forget—little flash fictions. They are inclusive, subversive, full of high energy. And they make you laugh. In this workshop, we’ll encounter and then write to experience the many ways prose poems move and what they ignite.

Anita Jepson Gilbert

Anita Jepson-Gilbert is recently retired from the Community College of Denver.  She's been a member of Columbine Poets of Colorado since 1985 and a member of the Denver Woman’s Press Club since 1990..  She is the author of the children’s book Maria and the Stars of Nazca / Maria y las Estrellas de Nazca, a bilingual illustrated book about the mysterious Lines of Nazca and the woman who discovered them for the world. Her chapbook, Everywoman is published by Pudding House Press, and her poems have appeared in numerous journals.  

Catherine O'Neill Thorn

Catherine O’Neill Thorn is the founder and executive director of Art from Ashes, an award-winning Colorado nonprofit that provides transformational creative youth empowerment programs. O’Neill Thorn, a member of the National Association of Professional Women, Colorado Prevention Partners Coalition, and the Human Services Network of Colorado, has been conducting poetry and spoken word workshops for youth and adults since 1992 when she developed the Phoenix Rising transformational writing process. In 2003, after deep statewide funding cuts to youth organizations and art programs, O’Neil Thorn started Art from Ashes in order to continue serving struggling young people throughout Colorado through the arts.  

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer has 11 collections of poetry, most recently Naked for Tea (Able Muse Press, 2018). She served as the third Colorado Western Slope Poet Laureate (2015-2017) and is poetry editor for the gourmet magazine Edible Southwest. She teaches poetry for 12-step recovery programs, hospice, mindfulness retreats, women’s retreats and more, and in 2016 she did a TEDx talk on The Art of Metaphor. One-word mantra: Adjust.

Mining the Gold: Using Metaphor to Uncover Riches


The art of writing poems is less a way of knowing and more a means of discovery. One of the greatest tools in this adventure is metaphor, the language of connection. In poetry, as in panning for gold, we sift through material. The lighter, worthless material is swept away. We are left with what is most valuable. In this workshop, we will literally sift for metaphors, then use them to re-see the world—and write all about it.


Joseph Hutchison


Joseph Hutchison, Poet Laureate of Colorado (2014-2018), is the award-winning author of 16 poetry collections, including The World As Is: New & Selected Poems, 1972-2015, Marked Men, The Satire Lounge, Thread of the Real, and Bed of Coals. He has also published a translation of Ephemeral, by Mexican fabulist Miguel Lupián, and co-edited two poetry anthologies—the FutureCycle Press anthology Malala: Poems for Malala Yousafzai (all profits to the Malala Foundation) with Andrea Watson, and with Gary Schroeder, A Song for Occupations: Poems about the American Way of Work. At the University of Denver’s University College, he directs two programs for working adults—Professional Creative Writing and Arts & Culture. Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Hutchison lives in the mountains southwest of the city with his wife, Iyengar yoga instructor Melody Madonna.

Beyond Self-Expression: The Transformational Arc


The aim of any poem is to enact a significant transformation in language. No transformation, no poem! The shape of a given poem’s transformation is what I call its transformational arc. This arc is a structure of changes (called “turns”) that records a transformation in the poet’s thinking and feeling, both conscious and unconscious, which arises in the process of writing the poem. Beyond self-expression, the point of writing a poem is to shape an arc that stimulates a similar transformation in readers. This workshop will explore how to see transformational arcs in a variety of poems and then use that knowledge to craft vigorous, significant transformational arcs that enrich the emotional and intellectual lives of readers.