Margaret Pettis

Margaret Pettis was born in Marysville, California in 1951. After earning bachelor’s degrees in English and Art from U. C. Davis, she moved to Idaho to work as a horse wrangler then as a U.S. Forest Service wilderness ranger with pack mules in the Sawtooth Wilderness. In 1974 she settled in Salt Lake City to teach middle school in Murray then in Hyrum, where she finished her 41-year career teaching freshman English. 

She was named Utah English Teacher of the Year (1988), Utah Poet of the Year (1993) by the Utah State Poetry Society, and was a Shipley Associates fellow in the 1981 Utah Writing Project. Margaret has taught writing to inmates at the Cache County Jail, Navajo students in Blanding, children at the Stokes Nature Center (Logan), and countless adult venues.

Her poetry has been published in Christian Science MonitorHigh Country News, Owen Wister ReviewPilgrimageUtah Life MagazineUtah MagazineGreat and Peculiar Beauty: A Utah Reader (ed. Tom Lyon and Terry Tempest Williams), Witnessing EarthDeep Wild, Petroglyph, and The Crucible (USU.) 

Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Western American Literature, Utah: A Guide to the State (Barry Scholl), Utah Wilderness Association Review, Salt Lake Tribune, Beehive History, Idaho Commission for Libraries, Catalyst MagazineMountain Times, and Hiker’s Guide to Utah (Hall.) Margaret also wrote monthly illustrated natural history essays for the Herald Journal (Logan) and Standard Examiner (Ogden.)

Her work won second-place prizes in the 1985 Utah Original Writing Competition, for both the Serious Poetry on a Theme category, judged by Richard Eberhart, and the Young Adult Novel category. She also received a second-place prize for her novel Wyoming Gold, judged by Ron Carlson in 2012. 



Poetry collections:
Chokecherry Rain, Utah State Poetry Society publication, 1993
In the Temple of the Stars, 2020 (

The Marti Bruhn series (outdoor suspense/mystery), 2020-2021,
The Turquoise Bear
Wyoming Gold
The Crimson Trail
The Bronze Rim of Baja
The Wine-Dark Spell

The Saddlebag Poems (2018)  
Appaloosa Earth (2018)
Driftwood Ring (1975)


Free Range Writers

Herald Journal Interview for In the Temple of the Stars 

Access Utah Interview for In the Temple of the Stars

Additional Info

  • Region: Northern Utah
  • Genre: Poetry, Fiction
  • Tags: Environmental, Women