I was pleased to receive a copy of Best of Mormonism 2009 (edited by Stephen Carter) by virtue of my Irreantum subscription. That was a nice bonus. I mostly endorse Theric’s review and recommendations. But to be brief and positive:
My Favorite Work: Neil Aitken’s poem “Traveling through the Prairies, I think of My Father’s Voice”
The One I’ve Been Thinking About: Lisa Torcasso Downing’s short story “Clothing Esther”
Prose I Most Admire: there’s some very good writers here, but the one that really got me in the flow of the language is Joshua Foster’s essay “God Damned the Land But Lifted the People; Or, A Redemption in Three Levitations”
Best Use Of Humor: To be honest a bit disappointing overall, but this sentence from Lynda Mackey Wilson’s essay “We Who Owe Everything to a Name” cracked me up — (talking about a book about she received from her agnostic parents called The Origins of Life) “There were dramatic pictures of lightning flashing over moody ammonia seas.” (152)
Favorite Sentences/Lines: I’m going to pick two. From Aitken’s poem — “…Here, the wind sounds the same/ blown from any direction, full of dust, pollen, the deep toll of church bells/ rung for mass, weddings, deaths. …” (1)
And from Lance Larsen’s essay “A Feeling in Your Head” (which is about him as a young boy with an uncle fighting in Vietnam and the fragile hope for his return) — “On winter Sundays, we entered the church for sacrament and sermons in afternoon light, then exited in darkness, as if our praying brought on the gloom, our singing caused it to lick at the chapel windows, our amens led it to press down on the station wagon my father maneuvered through the streets like an elegant hearse.” (115)
3 thoughts on “Best of Mormonism 2009 (in brief)”
I agree that “Clothing Esther” is a must-read.
Kudos to Stephen Carter and Sunstone for finding these great selections and publishing them in an anthology. This volume and the current Irreantum showcase some impressive Mormon writers.
Interesting. Wilson’s personal essay is also in Adventures in the Soul: The Best Creative Nonfiction from BYU Studies. (And I did enjoy it.)
No opinions yet on the anthology as a whole. It’s on my to-read list, but I haven’t gotten very far yet.