Inasmuch as the crowdsourcing of Mormon short stories available online (e.g. Short Story Friday) has been quite successful, the time has now come to extend the same efforts to poetry.
Here’s a list of possible sources to get things started — if you have additional sources, link to them in the comments section or e-mail me at my first name AT motleyvision DOT org and I’ll update the list. Individual authors and various and sundry publications may have isolated stories here and there — entries to the form don’t have to be from the list below.
Dialogue — A Journal of Mormon Thought (Archives of vol. 1-38)
BYU Library Digital Collections (I’m not going to break them all out, but there may be creative writing master’s theses, stories from the 19th and 20th century Mormon publications collections, etc.)
Here’s the link to the spreadsheet so you can see what’s already been submitted
Thanks, and I hope that all of you will participate. A few folks have been doing all the work for Short Story Friday. I know there are some AMV readers with a special interest in poetry by or about Mormons — point us to your favorites.
And now to kick things off:
In 1975 the LDS Church publication for teenagers — The New Era — published an article called Mormon Poets Talk about Their Craft featuring an thoughts from Arthur Henry King, Clinton Larson, Elouise Bell, Richard Cracroft, Emma Lou Thayne, Carol Lynn Pearson, John S. Harris and Elder S. Dilworth Young. Pretty impressive line up there. What do you think about what they have to say?
One thought on “Payday Poetry: The plan and LDS poets in the New Era”
Though I find Clinton Larson’s poetry largely inaccessible (and that’s kept me from going back for more, though I should probably try a bit harder), the first thing that strikes me here is his answer to the question, “What are you trying to achieve with your poetry?”: “I am trying to achieve valid and beautiful excursions into experience. A poet not only has the obligation to express himself, but to think and feel himself into another person’s position. A poet should never stop making excursions into experience.”
A few words/ideas stick out to me:
1) Valid because it points to poetry (as compressed language) being grounded in and justified by the varieties of human experience.
2) Beautiful because to be enjoyed literary excursions into experience should be beautiful and affective. This is especially true, I think, of poetry.
3) A poet has the obligation to think and feel him/herself into another person’s position. Sounds very Keatsian, very negative capability-ish in that Larson suggests that the poet should be open-minded about the varieties of life and experience, that they shouldn’t be averse to delving into the multiplicity of other people’s perceptions. This negative capability further suggests that the poet shouldn’t try to resolve the “uncertainties, mysteries, and doubts” arising from such engagement with the Other but that, instead, they should expand the ability to hold within their minds, language, and experience the ambiguities inherent in human reality to the end of developing into a deeper understanding of existence.
At least that’s how I read it right now.