Mabel Law Atkinson Bio
"The following was prepared for my biography to appear in different poetry journals:"
Mabel Law Atkinson, a daughter of Francis J. and Anine Deem Law, was born Nov. 17, 1897, in the small country town of Avon, Utah.
A graduate of The Brigham Young College of Logan, Utah, she is the wife of Earl J. Atkinson whom she met when she was nineteen and began her teaching career at Dayton, Idaho, his home town. She married him a year later and has resided in Dayton since that time with the exception of parts of years spent in Logan, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City. With her marriage began an abundant life filled to the brim with the joys of motherhood interspersed with school teaching, church and community service. She is the mother of five children, four of whom are living. A grown son was killed in a car accident in 1942 the day before he was to enter the service of his country. She is the proud grandmother of four adorable and talented little grandsons. Two of her children have been missionaries for the Latter-day Saint Church of which she is a member-- A daughter labored in the Southern States Mission and a son in the Central Atlantic States. Of this Mrs. Atkinson says, "What a joy to know they were teaching the Master's peace in this time of war and contention!"
Her writing career had its beginning in childhood when several of her poems appeared in the "Children's Budget Box" of The Juvenile Instructor, a Sunday School magazine published by her church. After that she wrote poems for special occasions, but her life became too filled for "rhyme" until her health failed over twenty years ago, at which time she suffered a complete breakdown. For years it seemed she would never be able to rise from it, but seven years ago her undefeatable spirit began to conquer. Then realizing she would never be able to lead an active social life, she began the work she had always loved, and six years ago began studying poetry technique at home, sending poems to Mildred Nye Dewey (whom she credits with first opening the door to this new world for her, and Margarette Ball Dickson (to whom she feels she owes much for her patient insistence on correctness in form etc.) for revision. Snow Longley Housh, for years a teacher of poetics in the Los Angeles High School, then began helping her, and love and friendship exists between the two in their teacher-pupil relationship. Allison Nichols Johnn-St. Johnn also helped her with poems and gave added inspiration. To Lilith Lorraine, Founder-Director of Avalon she owes much indeed for her advancement in the field of poetry. She studied under her through correspondence and received her certificate from "Avalon's Advanced Course in Versification" Nov. 1951. She then began work on Miss Lorraine's special course with emphasis on free verse, and received her certificate of graduation which bears the date Feb. 2, 1954 but work was completed sometime before.
Mrs. Atkinson is a member of the following poetry organizations: Avalon, Midwest Chaparral Poets, Word Weavers, Idaho Writers' League, American Poetry League, The Bardic Family. Until recently she was a member of Poetry Public, Federation of Chaparral Writers, and Modern Bards, the latter becoming dissolved at the death of its founder, Dr. Flozari Rockwood. The other two group organizations she found too expensive for what she received so withdrew her membership. Her poems have been published in the following periodicals and anthologies: Different, Ideals, The American Bard, Midwest Chaparral, Chaparral Writers' Yearbook, The Avalonian, New Athenaeum, Reflections, The Notebook, Candor, Scimitar and Song, War Cry, Montana Poetry Quarterly, The Poesy Book, The Children's Friend, The Relief Society Magazine, The Improvement Era, The Emancipator, The Searchlight, The Archer, Chromatones, Singing Pens, Sea to Sea in Song, Caravan, Creative Writing, Blue River Press publications: Midland Poetry Review, Autumn Annual, Christmas Annual, The Blue River Poetry Magazine, Spring Annual.--Prairie Poet, Blue Moon, The Country Poet, Adventures in American Poetry, The Poet's Reed, Westminister Magazine, Flame, This Shall Endure, Invitation, Memories, The Leagazette, The Lyric West, The Herald Journal, The Spokane Daily Chronicle, Lincoln State Journal, World Herald, Caribou County Sun, The Grace Herald, Soda Springs Sun, The Hopkins County Echo, The Idaho Farmer, Colombo Special, One Tiny Candle, American Poetry League Bulletin, San Francisco Evening Lamp, The Moccasin, Smoke Signals, The Lyric.
Since studying the technique of poetry over one hundred of Mrs. Atkinson's poems have won awards. The one she prizes most is the third place she received in "The Eliza Roxey Show Memorial Contest" sponsored annually by the Relief Society, a women's organization in her church, and one in which LDS women the world over participate.
Mrs. Atkinson says that she feels she inherited her love for the soil and the beauties that spring from it at the slightest invitation, from her English father and her Danish mother who farmed a large homestead; that she, as a child, saw and heard God all about her in the beauty of the hills, the fields of grain and alfalfa, in the meadow lands with the singing river beckoning her to follow on and on; in the trees that were great harps strummed by canyon breezes, whispering the peace of God; that even in the dandelion announcing the return of spring, she saw the handiwork of the Creator--and adds, "I still do." She is glad she grew up in the restful, industrious atmosphere of the farm, for its quiet, purposeful peace remains with her as a ballast in the whirlwind of today's activities. She holds the verities of the horse-and-buggy era close to her soul yet eagerly welcomes the newness and greatness of this atomic age, for as she says, "Were it not for the miracles of modern medical science, I would be an invalid." She takes an optimistic view of the outcome of the present problems. She says, "God is ruling for our good as much as we will let Him. If we will but give Him half a chance by doing our part, where will yet come an era, the glory of which cannot be conceived by our finite minds."
An intelligent woman, she and her twin sister (now deceased) led the classes they attended in school, Mrs. Atkinson being valedictorian of the Class of 1916 at the Brigham Young College. Later, at different educational institutions she was urged to never marry but to dedicate her life and efforts (her twin also) to being a "teacher of the race." But she felt, and still does, that by being an intelligent mother, a woman can render the greatest service. She smiles as she remarks, "Where would I come in if my mother had decided against motherhood? As it is she gave her teaching voice ten-fold to the world, for all ten of her children were school teachers. Three are teaching now, one the president of a college."
At present this poet feature writes for two newspapers, and reports news to a third. She has done this for several years. She writes radio programs, pageants etc., her programs always being given over KPST, Preston, and her occasional pageants given by schools etc. She organized a poetry group at West Side High School, and assisted the members with their writing of poems, gave contests etc.
Though in constant pain (arthritis, neuritis etc.) she works at her writing each day, and by her smile and words conveys that "Life is beautiful and earth can be Heaven."
(Written in 1956--There is a fifth little grandson now, born Aug. 4, 1957.)