Emma Lou Thayne

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Emma Lou Warner Thayne (October 22, 1924 – December 6, 2014) was a Mormon poet and novelist, counted as one of the 75 most significant.[1]

Thayne graduated from the University of Utah in 1945. She would later return there to coach tennis and teach English. In the late 1960s, she completed a master's degree at the University of Utah. She was on the faculty over 30 years.[2] In 1949, she married Mel Thayne; they became the parents of five daughters.

Although Thayne worked primarily as a poet, she also wrote novels. Her first novel was Never Past the Gate, which was inspired by her summers growing up in Mount Aire Canyon.[3] Thayne also served on the board directors for Deseret News.[3] She was also a contributor to such magazines as Network, a woman's magazine based in Salt Lake City, Exponent II and Utah Holiday. At age 90, she died in Salt Lake City on December 6, 2014.[4][5]

Thayne wrote the words to the hymn "Where Can I Turn for Peace".[6]


  • Distinguished Alumna, University of Utah
  • David O. McKay Humanities Award, Brigham Young University
  • Chamber of Commerce Honors in the Arts Award[7]
  • Gandhi Peace Award, 2013 [8]

Salt Lake Community college named the Emma Lou Thayne Center for Service Learning after Thayne to honor her.[7]


  • Spaces in the Sage (1971) — poetry collection
  • On Slim Unaccountable Bones: Poems (1974) — novel
  • Never Past the Gate (1975) — novel
  • With Love, Mother (1975) — poetry collection
  • A Woman's Place (1977) — novel
  • Until Another Day for Butterflies (1978) — poetry collection
  • Once In Israel (1980) — poetry collection
  • How Much for the Earth? A Suite of Poems: About Time for Considering (1983) — poetry collection
  • "Where Can I Turn For Peace?" (1985) hymn
  • Things Happen: Poems of Survival (1991) — poetry collection
  • Hope and Recovery: A Mother-Daughter Story About Anorexis Nervosa, Bulimia, and Manic Depression (1992)[9]
  • Clarice Short: Earthy Academic (1994) — biography/memoir
  • All God's Critters Got A Place in the Choir (1995) — personal essay collection with Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
  • "The Place of Knowing" (2011) — personal memoir/autobiography


  1. ^ 75 Significant Mormon Poets by Sarah Jenkins and Gideon Burton, BYU Literature & Creative Arts
  2. ^ "Poet Emma Lou Thayne handles success with grace and adversity with calm determination" by Nettie Pendley, A Woman of Gentle Strength. Continuum Magazine, Vol. 12. No. 3, Winter 2002
  3. ^ a b Kimball, James; Miles, Kent (2009). Mormon Women. Salt Lake City, Utah: Handcart Books. pp. 213–225. ISBN 978-0-9801406-1-3. 
  4. ^ Jacobsen, Morgan (December 7, 2014). "Noted LDS poet, author Emma Lou Thayne dies at 90". Deseret News. Archived from the original on 2014-12-07. 
  5. ^ Stack, Peggy Fletcher (December 6, 2014). "Emma Lou Thayne, renowned Mormon poet, dies at 90". The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on 2014-12-07. 
  6. ^ "Emma Lou Thayne". www.huffingtonpost.com. Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Pendley, Nettie (Winter 2002). "A Woman of Gentle Strength". Continuum Magazine. 12 (3). Retrieved 14 October 2016. 
  8. ^ Meyer, Casulene. "Emma Lou Thayne and the Art of Peace". byustudies.byu.edu. BYU Studies. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 
  9. ^ "Hope and Recovery: A Mother-Daughter Story About Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia, and Manic Depression" by Emma Lou & Becky Thayne Markosian Thayne". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 


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