Category Archives: Mormon LitCrit

in verse #43 : hero’s journey

When Leonard Cohen said “Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash,”[i] he probably didn’t have Joseph Smith in mind. Joseph Smith burned brightly in a world lit only by … Continue reading

Posted in In Verse, Literary Views of Scripture, Mormon LitCrit, Thoughts on Language | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Notes on Field Notes

. The release of Tyler Chadwick’s Field Notes on Language and Kinship was, in my mind, cause for celebration for several reasons. Here are a few:

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Mormon Tragedy Revisited

Last November, in the wake of Mark Oppenheimer’s New York Times article on Mormon literature, Mahonri wrote a post on Mormon tragedy that sought to make a case for Mormonism’s capacity for tragedy. His argument, if I followed it correctly, … Continue reading

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in verse #40 : owed to Keats

Have you ever wanted to correct a classic of literature? One that makes an egregious error, but that can be easily corrected? Like, say, this: On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold, … Continue reading

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Heather B. Moore’s Ruby’s Secret

. I’ve long wanted to read Moore’s Book of Mormon-themed fiction, but she’s written them faster than I could get around to reading them, which I find paralyzing (I’m a terrible consumer of series). Which is a great thing about reading for … Continue reading

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Moving Culture

At this year’s Association for Mormon Letters conference I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion on teaching Mormon literature with Margaret Blair Young, Shelah Miner, and Boyd Petersen. Among the items we discussed at length was the … Continue reading

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Guest Post: An Illustrated Definition of Mormon Literature

I’ve been busy these past few days, so I decided to pass my monthly post on to someone with a little more time. You might recognize her as Enid Gardner, the star MIA Maniac of the webcomic The Garden of Enid. Aside … Continue reading

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The Reluctant Blogger: a quick metareview and my own look at its many positive attributes

. Ryan Rapier’s The Reluctant Blogger was one of the more widely reviewed Mormon novels of 2013 and although one review notoriously complained that protagonist Todd Landry “spends a lot of time [too much] exploring his feelings” (for a man), … Continue reading

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Mormon Enough? I’m Relieved to Discover…

I believe the tendency to reduce and exclude, to narrow definitions to simple, direct memes has its uses. In criticizing literature by Mormons or for Mormon audiences, Mormon critics must necessarily categorize and differentiate which shelves should carry which stories. Readers deserve to know.

But I think we do ourselves a disservice if we dismiss as irrelevant those works by self-described Mormon authors that are not told in culturally Mormon forms and terms. Because it is precisely these subconsciously Mormon tales that can reveal deep Mormonism to those audiences most capable of understanding those themes. Not better than more overt tales, but just as deserving of our thoughtful criticism. It would be a shame to institutionally dismiss what could be some of our most deeply Mormon works because that Mormonness was not obvious enough. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, General, Mormon LitCrit, SF&F corner, The Populist's Soapbox | 4 Comments

Orson Scott Card: Mormon Literary Pioneer

Quick: What author has arguably done more than any other to explore multiple ways of being Mormon, across multiple genres and audiences? Answer: Orson Scott Card. Which you already knew, because you read the title of this column. It’s a … Continue reading

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