Poetry in Print — April 2011

After four years of preparing this bibliography of poetry by Mormons in print for National Poetry Month, I thought I might have discovered most of the poets and books out there. However, this year I’ve discovered several more that I missed, and began the process of looking back through the Mormon journals to see who I may have missed.

The problem with searching through the Mormon journals is that at times it isn’t clear that the author is actually Mormon. Both Dialogue and Sunstone have included poets who I’m not sure are Mormon or of Mormon heritage, and without knowing their editorial policy on this point, I don’t want to just assume that poets published in these periodicals, like Lizzie Skurnick, Rebecca Lilly and R. S. Carlson, are, in fact, Mormon.

At Theric’s suggestion last year, I’ve separated out the titles that were published since the last compilation. I’ve also added an asterisk (*) before titles that I’ve discovered or was told about this year, but that weren’t published this past year.

2010 was another good year for Mormon poetry, with 14 new titles. Eight of those are by Michael Collings, all short works made possible by producing electronic works. Even without Collings’ works, there were still 7 new titles, which is in line with the increase last year.

Again this year I tried to be thorough. I’ve compared the authors on this list to those in the Mormon Literature and Culture database, to Andrew Hall’s superb review of what was published in the last year, and last year’s posts and comments about poetry here on A Motley Vision. Of course, it is possible, if not likely, that I have missed something. Please let me know.

Poetry in Print:

New this year:

Available Previously:

Out of Print:

20 thoughts on “Poetry in Print — April 2011”

  1. This is great, Kent! I was unaware of a couple of these names.

    Here are a number of other in-print books that I’ve come across in my reading:

    Bushman-Carlton, Marilyn. On Keeping Things Small. (Full-text online.) (1995)

    Caldiero, Alex. Various Atmospheres. (Full-text online.) (1998)

    Eliason, Kristen. Treatise on Drowning. (2008) (Not sure if you’d count this as in-print, but this is Kristen’s MFA thesis; full-text online.)

    Hardy, Nicole. Mud Flap Girl’s XX Guide to Facial Profiling. (2006)

    Hardy, Nicole. This Blonde. (2009)

    Snell, N. Colwell. Hand Me My Shadow. (2007)

  2. Great, Tyler. I wasn’t aware of the last three authors (Eliason, Hardy and Snell) — Is Kristen Eliason related to Eric Eliason?

    I’ll add these to next year’s list.

    I’m not quite sure about those that are only available online and not for sale. While I hadn’t really set a policy, I’ve kind of limited the list to those items that are currently for sale as a separate product (i.e., not in a periodical).

    This is, I think, especially important when you consider the Bushman-Carlton title, which was in print on paper, and only after it sold out did Signature move it to its Signature Library website. The problem I have is if we include this, then do I have to include every Mormon poetry title available on Google Books or the Internet Archive? And what about individual poetry websites or blogs? While I could be persuaded otherwise with the right argument (if it exists), at this point I don’t think they should be included as “in print.”

  3. Not that I’m disputing the standards you’ve been holding yourself to, because I think this is a great service you provide every year, but perhaps the changes in publishing technologies should prompt a reconsideration and an expansion of what it means for something to be “in print.” While I see what you mean when you say you’ve “limited the list to those items that are currently available for sale as a separate product,” my question is: why does the item have to be for sale? Why can’t it be open-access, like the ones I’ve listed that are freely available online? As long as they’re freely available as and intended to be a stand-alone collection and, perhaps, hosted by a reliable source (as Signature Books or, in the case of Kristen’s thesis, Notre Dame’s digital archives or even Google Books and Project Gutenberg, etc.), in my mind they’re still “in print”—meaning that as long as the pages they’re included on remain active, they’re still in circulation. Why limit ourselves to paper-only publications?

  4. “Why can’t it be open-access, like the ones I’ve listed that are freely available online?”

    Perhaps its just my own personal bias. I prefer to see self-sustaining distribution systems. Personal blogs and websites aren’t self-sustaining. There may be some middle ground, but I’ll have to think about it.

    Why limit ourselves to paper-only publications?

    Hmmm. That isn’t one of my qualifications. It merely has to be for sale, NOT on paper. Most of the new Collings titles are all Kindle editions.

  5. It ought to be possible to put in place some kind of criterion for online publication at a site that functions as an external institutional publisher without charging for access, that would still exclude things like personal websites and blogs.

    By the way, the link above to “City of Roses” by R.A. Christmas doesn’t go to a specific product, but rather to a Lulu search (which doesn’t include the title in question).

  6. I’m not saying personal websites and blogs should be included. I am saying, as Jonathan suggests, that perhaps stand-alone collections whose full-text is sponsored and made accessible online for free by an “institutional publisher” ought to be included in the yearly recap. I just don’t understand why books that were first published on paper then placed online by the publisher when the book went out-of-print (like Bushman-Carlton’s and Caldiero’s) couldn’t be included, especially if you’re trying to connect people to these texts (as I assume you are). How would including those be any different than including a text like Kelsay’s Buttercup Garden, which was published by Karen’s press and is freely available for download on the page you link to above?

    (I’m not trying to be contrary; I’m just honestly curious.)

  7. Tyler, I get your point. I’ll consider it for next year.

    “proud daughter of eve”, I’m afraid that “Looking For The Blue Rose” is out of print.

  8. Both “Matrix: Echoes of Growing Up West: Autobiographical Poems” and “Som Certaine Sonets, Revised and Enlarged Edition” are print editions available through Wildside, not e-books. And a third collection, “Tales through Time” (which includes much of my LDS poetry) is also available in a print edition.

    The e-books listed above, including the limericks, haiku, shorts, and others, will be collected in “BlueRose and Other Selected Chapbooks,” a print edition now in press at Wildside.

  9. Michael, there hasn’t been any attempt to distinguish between e-books and print editions.

    The only issue in my mind is if the books are for sale or not. I’ll address that next year.

    Somehow, I didn’t find “Tales through Time” — is it also Wildside?

  10. “Tales through Time” came out from Wildside in October 2010.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “for sale or not.” My older hand-crafted books were for sale but had no distributors. The Wildside books are all available through Amazon.com (or Kindle or other e-book outlets).

    It’s puzzling–but rather exciting–time to be involved with publishing right now. So many things have changed, even in the last couple of years, that many previous assumptions are no longer valid. Big book companies are going under; e-book authors are making six figures. And lost somewhere in it all is poetry, which has always (at least for the past century) lived a rather fragile existence.

    Thanks for taking the time to keep up with this all. Quite a lot of good stuff happening out there.

  11. “for sale or not” — the discussion with Tyler (comments 3-6 & 8) wasn’t about what format the books were in, but about whether or not the book could be purchased. Tyler suggested that I include a couple of books on Signature Books’ online library — which can be read for free — while I only included on the list works that can be purchased somewhere, following the definition that if it can’t be purchased, then the work is out-of-print. As I indicated above, I’ll revisit that next year.

    Because in your comment (12) you mentioned whether the works I listed were e-books or print books, it sounded like you thought the discussion was about whether to include e-books or not, or that my qualification was about whether the book was in print on paper or not.

    I’ve never worried about whether the book was printed on paper or available electronically. The list above is limited to books that can be purchased, whether in electronic form or on paper.

  12. It was quite an unexpected pleasure to discover your website. The fluidity and uncertainty of publication these days would make it quite challenging to adhere to a consistent approach to the task you have set yourself.

    I haven’t been active in the Church for a long time, but occasionally (as in the poems in this winter’s “Dialogue”) write poems that reflect my upbringing. Some of my recent poems have been (somewhat surprisingly to me) explicitly religious, possibly presaging an change in life.

  13. JS, I’m glad you stopped by.

    While interesting to know, the activity issue isn’t something we focus on, and does not exclude anyone from being included in any bibliography of Mormon authors (although I’m sure at least some of us would welcome you back in Church).

    Please keep us apprised of your future work.

  14. I’ll stay in touch. “Sunstone” just accepted a poem, but I don’t expect it will appear for several months. Ars longa, vita brevis, and all that, but I do hope to have a full-length poetry book book out in the next year or so.

  15. I revised “City of Roses” a couple of years back and retitled it “When It Snowed in Pasadena.” My new book–just out–is “One Foot in the Grave.” All my books–poetry, fiction, and song-writing–can be found on my Lulu storefront–. Thanks for this great list of current LDS poets and their recently published work. I am–warts and all–unashamedly Mormon. My wife Carol and I are about to head out on our fourth senior full-time LDS mission. Regards to all, RAC

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