Virtual Event: Margaret Pettis (Back Roads of Utah and In the Temple of the Stars) in Conversation with Nancy Takacs (Dearest Water)

We're delighted to announce a virtual event with Margaret Pettis (author of Back Roads of Utah and In the Temple of the Stars) and Nancy Takacs (author of Dearest Water) on Thursday, March 3rd at 2 PM MST. Join us on our YouTube channel to catch the livestream!

About Back Roads of Utah

Travel the beautiful back roads of Utah, from the forests of the northern mountains to the plateaus and rugged ranges of the central country to the red rock deserts of the southern canyons-- all in the pages of one charming book. Enjoy a running narration of places you will see, share experiences and observations of the author, and thumb through the 300 wash and line drawings she created on site or at her art desk. Find your favorite place, discover new ones, or just sit back and read about where you might like to explore next time. Hand-drawn maps illustrate each journey.

This is a perfect companion for the back seat of the car, a beautiful book for a coffee table, or a gift for your favorite adventurer.

About In the Temple of the Stars

Praise for In the Temple of the Stars from Nancy Takacs, winner of the Juniper Prize and the Pushcart Prize:

You may want to read this book of poems on a cold winter's night—you will warm your hands near a well-tended fire. Rocky Mountain and high-desert dwellers will love this book. And so will other readers who want to be taken on a horseback ride alone up a snowy mountain and find a kindred spirit in a stranger who sits at a campfire; to follow ravens above a hunting grizzly bear; and to learn more about the movements of wolves, from first-hand experiences in the wild. The poet has spent a life-time wandering remote Western lands, observing an array of creatures, with a fierce desire for protection of their wilderness, and our own. Praising trees, blossoms, birds, insects, and her close relationships with horses, Margaret Pettis humbly voices what her trained eye observes, affected deeply by each surprise sighting, silence, or sound. ...The gorgeous details and musicality of the poems pull the reader back for more. ...I want to tether her spirit to my own.

About Margaret Pettis

Margaret Pettis is the author of In the Temple of the Stars, a collection of poetry; a series of five novels of outdoor suspense, beginning with The Turquoise Bear; and Back Roads of Utah, published in November 2021.

Settling in Utah after working for the U.S. Forest Service as a wilderness ranger with a string of pack mules in the Sawtooth Wilderness of central Idaho, Margaret co-founded the Utah Wilderness Association and the High Uintas Preservation Council with her husband, Dick Carter. A career high school English teacher, she has taught writing to state prisoners housed in the Cache County Jail and art workshops for Audubon, wilderness groups and Navajo children. She is an avid kayaker.


About Dearest Water

Nancy Takacs is a poet in love with places, desert areas once home to ancient seas in the Colorado Plateau in Utah, and bodies of water, like Lake Superior, and the ocean she knew as a child growing up in New Jersey. These are personal poems with sensuous images that link the past and the present with a variety of tastes, smells, and textures. This collection surprises, wakes us up, and at times, soothes us. It includes poems that find strength in women’s relationships, that express the need to keep women’s voices strong and resonant. Also concerned with drought and its effects on animals, plants, and humans in this time of climate change, species extinction, and political upheaval, these poems breathe compassion for the dire situations in our world, and our own desire for wildness, wilderness, questioning our human-centered lens. Deeply connected to the natural world, both in Utah where she lives full time, and in Wisconsin near Lake Superior, where Takacs spends summers, these poems voice a need to protect and nurture, within and without, all of our fragile landscapes.

About Nancy Takacs

Nancy Takacs’s poetry awards include The Juniper Prize, the 2018 and 2016 15 Bytes Book Award for Poetry, Weber’s Sherwin W. Howard Award, a 2020 Pushcart Prize, and a runner-up for the Missouri Review Editor’s Prize. She is the author of three other books of poetry and four chapbooks. Nancy lives most of the year in the high-desert town of Wellington, Utah, and spends time in Bayfield, Wisconsin, near the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, in a small cabin with her husband, poet Jan Minich. Their son Ian Minich is a photographer in Salt Lake City. Nancy is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Utah’s art hub: Helper City.

Event date: 
Thursday, March 3, 2022 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Event address: 
607 Trolley Square
Salt Lake City, UT 84102