What Bad Mormon Literature Do We Need?

One day, early in my career at a children’s book publisher here in New York, I told my boss how bad the books of another, well-known and well-established, children’s book publisher were in my view. To my surprise, he disagreed, and told me that this publisher and these books had played, and continued to play, an important role in the industry. He was right. I now know that every part of the book publishing industry needs bad books! Continue reading “What Bad Mormon Literature Do We Need?”

The Importance of Being Ironic, Part Two

This is the second part of a two part series on irony.  The first part may be found here.  Irony is by nature a boundless subject, and while the temptation to go on and on about it is compelling (for a ironophile like myself), this will do for the blogging moment.  References for Part One and Part Two can be found at the end of this post. 

When we find ourselves to be irony’s dupes, we experience the sudden revelation the joke thrusts upon us: we are caught in the act, or the rug is pulled out from under us, or there is a box in a box in a box, all attractively wrapped but containing at the center nothing, or the center might not be in the middle of things. Somehow we made the wrong choice or invested wholly in an incomplete idea. Thus we gain the pleasure of experiencing subsequent, perhaps inevitable rewards for our wrongheadness. Continue reading “The Importance of Being Ironic, Part Two”

The Importance of Chapbooks

After my post a week ago on the launch of a poetry chapbook, William commented:

Considering what a large role chapbooks play in the larger poetry community, I’m a bit suprised that there haven’t been more published for the Mormon literary market (even as small as it is).[see comment]

In response, I promised this post on Chapbooks and what their role is and can be. Continue reading “The Importance of Chapbooks”

“Backslider” Turns 20

One of the more interesting events in Mormon Literature this year is the 20th anniversary of the publication of The Backslider, perhaps the finest LDS novel published to date. (The other novel widely considered for this designation is Maureen Whipple’s The Giant Joshua. Personally, I prefer The Backslider). Continue reading ““Backslider” Turns 20″

Mormon Lit: A Believing People

Take a self-guided tour of important works of Mormon literature. That has been my ambition for a little while now. Having come into some book money (picture a cobalt-blue lake in the Canadian Rockies, a little wager with my wife, and me taking a very cold swim), I have started a small collection. I plan to exploit AMV to post reports of what I find. With any luck, good stuff will get some well-deserved attention and worthwhile conversations will ensue. At a minimum, posting this up front should motivate me to read, reflect, remember, and so forth well enough not to embarrass myself too much. 

My first stop: A Believing People (Richard Cracroft and Neal Lambert, editors). Continue reading “Mormon Lit: A Believing People”

The West, Stegner, Mormon Lit

I live once again in the western United States. I have shortly lived elsewhere, two years in Brazil, two years in Maryland, but the west is home. I knew this for certain crossing the plains by car last fall. Around the same time, I read Wallace Stegner’s Big Rock Candy Mountain. Continue reading “The West, Stegner, Mormon Lit”

Mormon Lit: Mormon Scripture as Literature

The Mormon canon, our scriptures, are either the bedrock of the Mormon literary canon (assuming there is such a thing) or something else–texts that stand apart and serve as both sources and standards for the rest. We are commanded to read the scriptures. In doing so, there is a temptation (I know it well) to read the scriptures as if they were merely divine instruction manuals. To move from the knowledge that scriptures contain important information to reading scriptures as if mere information is all that they contain. Continue reading “Mormon Lit: Mormon Scripture as Literature”