Mormon Poetry Now!

Something Old, Something New, Something . . . Stolen

Since April 2009, as part of my (meager) commitment to raise the profile of Mormon poetry, I’ve been investing off and on in what I’ve called my Mormon Poetry Project, offering short readings of poems by Mormon poets on my personal blog. My ground rules: 1) the poets should be Latter-day Saints (of whatever stripe) and 2) the poems should be accessible online to provide my (meager) audience the chance to read for themselves and talk back with my interpretations, to the end—says the idealist in me—of sparking greater awareness of, interest in, and conversations about poetry by poets who are also Mormon.

Because I think these poets deserve exposure and because the traffic at my blog is a trickle—okay, maybe a slow drip—I’m giving those readings a new beginning (and in most cases, expansion and revisions) here at AMV under the series title “Mormon Poetry Now!” I’ll also be posting additional readings of poems (not included in the original list) and poetry reviews as I see fit. This introductory post will also serve as the new home of the Poets Roll: the list of poets, poems, and reviews I’ve posted so far.

Before I dive in, though, a note about the title: Twenty-five years ago, Dennis Clark, then poetry editor for Sunstone, began a four-part series for the magazine called “Mormon Poetry Now!” In his column published in four installments between June 1985 and August 1989 (1985, 1986, 1987, 1989), he set out, according to his purpose stated in the series opener, to survey “the state of the art of Mormon poetry,” to examine “the best of what Mormon poets [were] trying to publish” at the time. I’ve deliberately tied myself to these efforts to highlight the new Mormon poetry by stealing Clark’s title for my own and by following his example of close reading (though his readings are likely far more astute than mine promise to be). My hope is that migrating this ongoing project to AMV’s more fertile blogging grounds will reveal something of the varieties of Mormon poetic experience and open the way for our continued harvest of the field.

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Mormon Poets Roll

Marie Brian: “Spindrift”

Linda Sillitoe: “Encounter”