Ursula T. Gibson, born in Germany in 1930, came to the USA in 1934. In 1951, she won the first Dorothy Kaucher Award for Excellence in Oral Interpretation at San Jose State College (now State University).
She was Poetry Editor for Poetic Voices (www.poeticvoices.com) from 1997 until 2005, at which time the on-line poetry journal ceased publication.
On March 19, 2006, Ursula was installed as Poet Laureate for Sunland-Tujunga, California, for the two-year period, 2006-2008. Her duties will include providing appropriate poems for city affairs and celebrations, helping teachers in the area to introduce or enlarge poetry appreciation in schools, teaching workshops, writing poetry as needed, and participating in service club activities and affairs as requested, among other things she doesn't know about yet.
Her book, The Blossoms of the Night-Blooming Cereus (www.publishamerica.com, Poetry, p. 9, or Barnes & Noble, ISBN 1-4137-6482-7, $16.95 + s&h), was selected as First Prize winner in Poetry in the DIY Book Festival 2005 Competition. She has previously published three chapbooks (Eyes, 1990, Two Tujunga Poets, 1993, and Spirited, 1996), and Be Prepared, Don't Mumble, Look UP! or How to Read Poetry Aloud in 2003, a manual on oral interpretation).
She is a member of California Federation of Chaparral Poets, Inc., (State Treasurer from 1997-2005) and of California State Poetry Society. She has been a legal secretary since 1956, and a California Certified Legal Secretary since 1989 when the four-hour exam first was given in California. Her husband, their two cats (Edna and Jeffers) and she live in Tujunga, California in a valley below the San Gabriel mountains near Glendale.
Torn ground ripped from the hillside,
bulldozers carving away ridges and
massive trucks departing with the earth!
Heavy machinery rumbles
to make a platform, terraces, trenches,
foundations; water pipes and sewer lines inlaid;
structure and framework, electricity, plumbing,
roofs, walls, doors and windows
for another hundred Californians to own.
But in the rain, the hillside bleeds
muddy rivulets of erosion, decay,
without wild oats, poppies, or golden mustard,
with live oaks destroyed and mesquite mangled,
monkshood wasted, primroses unblooming.
No coyotes singing or rabbits shyly hopping,
no ground squirrels or rattlesnakes,
no occasional opposum picking its way through brush.
No more blazing butterflies or scrub bluejays,
mockingbirds or red-tailed hawks soaring high,
and grimly, the candelabra yuccas succumb.
All nature raped for man's convenience and profit.
If we build over all of California's wild places,
why would anyone want to live here?
Ursula T. Gibson