Is the Demand for Mormon Literature Classes Increasing?

I’ve been following Margaret Young’s plans to teach the “Literature of the Latter-day Saints” class at BYU this coming semester, and I was pleased to see that she has posted her reading list for the course on her blog, and plans to post “parts of the class” on her blog also. I even suggested to my BYU student daughter that she take the class.

Nope. That won’t work. In addition to the students who have grabbed one of the 30 seats for the class, there is a waiting list of 63 (as of this morning).

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Field Notes on Language and Kinship

I’m indulging in some shameless self-promotion, but only because what I’m promoting is a fruit of my work on Fire in the Pasture and speaks to the publication of Mormon literature (especially via collaborative effort) and my continued promotion of Mormon poets, poetries, and poetics.

Yesterday morning via his Mormon Artists Group e-newsletter, Glimpses, Glen Nelson announced the publication of my single-author book. Here’s what he said:

Mormon Artists Group is pleased to announce the publication of
Field Notes on Language and Kinshipby Tyler Chadwick
artworks by Susan Krueger-Barber

A landmark publication appeared in 2011, an anthology of contemporary Mormon poetry. It was an ambitious undertaking that, it can be argued, is among the most important books on Mormonism to appear in the first years of the century. Unknown to many, even inside the Church, Mormon poets have recently become regular contributors to the leading poetry publications in the country. Their poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, Poetry, The Iowa Review, The New Republic, Slate, The Southern Review, among many, many others. The award-winning anthology, Fire in the Pasture: Twenty-first Century Mormon Poets, presented 82 poets’ new works in its 522 pages.

The editor for Fire in the Pasture was Tyler Chadwick, a young scholar and poet from Idaho. After the publication of the anthology, Mormon Artists Group approached Chadwick to write a book to answer a simple question: Why does poetry matter to you? He responded with Field Notes on Language and Kinship. It is Mormon Artists Group’s 24th project.

The book is a direct response to the works in Fire in the Pasture. Chadwick reacts to them in several ways, as a scholar, memoirist, essayist, and poet. Field Notes on Language and Kinship is published as a two-volume edition. The anthology, Fire in the Pasture: Twenty-first Century Mormon Poets, is rebound in hardcover; and Chadwick’s original volume is bound as a companion work, covered with hand-pounded amate barkskin papers from Mexico’s Otomi Indians and brown Japanese Asahi silk. The two are presented in a slipcase. A commercial paperback is also available from Amazon.com.

One of Chadwick’s sources of inspiration is visual art, and Field Notes on Language and Kinship includes eight artworks created especially for this project by Susan Krueger-Barber. Just as Chadwick’s text brings multiple disciplines of literature to bear, Krueger-Barber’s works are multi-disciplinary, mixed media works. Each of them combines photography, painting, and collage (using fragments torn from a copy of Fire in the Pasture). The publication is limited to 25 copies, signed by the artists and numbered.

To read excerpts from Field Notes on Language and Kinship, to explore the original artworks, and to acquire the book and/or the artworks, visit our website.

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Is this the first bestseller by a Mormon not written in English?

desperte o milionário que há em voceÌ‚ carlos martins wizard multi holding livro2A few weeks ago a book by the Brazilian language entrepreneur and LDS Church member Carlos “Wizard” Martins, who started the massive Wizard Language Schools chain (similar to Berlitz), reached the bestseller lists in Brazil. I’m fairly sure that the book Desperte o milionário que há em você (Awake the Millionaire Inside of You) is, I believe, the first by a Brazilian Mormon to reach the bestseller list.

I first heard of his book just before it was launched in April, and I didn’t give it much thought then–I’m not really in the book’s the target audience of those seeking a financial fortune and I suspect I could just as easily get a copy of the book that started this genre, Napoleon Hill’s 1937 self-help classic Think and Grow Rich, to say nothing of the various similar books penned by Mormons here in the U.S. But now that Martins has achieved a Mormon milestone in Brazil, I have to wonder if he is the first Mormon to reach the best seller list with a book not originally written in English?

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Occupy Books & Things

B&TContestPerhaps I’ve been too influenced by politics, but I think its time to Occupy Books & Things.

The LDS mailing catalog Books & Things has announced a May “LDS Author/Artist Contest” in which visitors to their Facebook page can “vote” for their favorite author. The favorite author will then win a 1/4 page ad in the Fall issue of their catalog.

What would happen if the winner was someone that they don’t normally carry in their catalog? Someone that they don’t think is “right” for their audience?

Anyone want to play a little mischief?

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Sunstone’s Gift to Me and You

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Sunstone, quietly and without any fanfare that I’m aware of, has made it’s archives (save the few most recent issues) available for free online.

! ! !

Including the comics issue I edited! Which is primo content, I assure you.

! ! !

Sunstone has just provided an incredible resource which I encourage you to check out.

For free!

Although, speaking of money, Sunstone could use yours even if they’re being coy about it. Considering thanking them for the pdf bonanza with some lucre.

Mormon Artist shutting down after next issue

In a post on his personal blog last week, Ben Crowder has announced that Mormon Artist will be shut down after the next issue, #16. Mormon Artist began just three years ago as an online magazine covering the arts by and for Mormons. Crowder says that the publication’s goal was to show that “there’s a lot more going on in the Latter-day Saint arts world than many of us realized.”

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Cracroft to stop writing Book Nook

Richard H. CracroftAfter 20 years of writing about books written by “BYU faculty, staff, alumni, and members of BYU’s Board of Trustees,” emeritus BYU professor Richard H. Cracroft will stop writing his Book Nook column with the Summer issue of BYU Magazine.

This move ends one of the more consistent and long-term sources of information about Mormon literature, which makes up a significant portion of Cracroft’s coverage. The columns mention as many as a dozen titles, meaning that over 20 years Cracroft has covered something approaching a thousand books. His column was especially valuable for the first decade of its existence, before the AML review archive was started and reviews of LDS books became much more common.

Most of the columns are available online in the BYU Magazine archives, which go back to 1996. For the first 5 years of Cracroft’s Book Nook column, you’ll have to find them in a library or private collection.

If I get a chance, I’ll call BYU Magazine later today and ask if the column will be continued by someone else. [I called — see comment #11 below.]