Sunday Lit Crit Sermon: Brigham Young on The Serious Family

SeriousFamilyI must be honest. This quotation, although delivered in the tabernacle, isn’t so much literary criticism as drawing a lesson from contemporary literature. But the work involved is available, and the idea that Brigham Young both saw the play and commented on it. Perhaps more surprisingly, his comment fits well with the theme of the play itself.

The comments below were made in early February, 1853, just months (and perhaps just weeks) after the Social Hall, the first entertainment venue in the Salt Lake Valley, had been completed. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, drama has traditionally been an important part of Mormon culture, and support for drama can trace its history to Nauvoo, where even Brigham Young played at being an actor. In Salt Lake, his support led to not only the construction of the Social Hall, but to the Salt Lake Theater, the principal home for drama in Utah for 40 years.

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Another Early Mormon Drama

As I’ve looked at 19th century newspapers and other documents, I’ve come across literary works or references to literary works that I didn’t know about, and that, apparently, are unknown among those of us interested in Mormon literature. Yesterday, I discovered another.

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Mormon Literature’s Once and Future King?

If you look at Mormon Literature in terms of how many church members interacted with it–i.e., how many members were involved either in its production or its consumption–one literary form was likely the King of Mormon Literature from the 1930s through perhaps 1970: Drama.

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Spring poetry, Writers for Young Readers venue change, Flickering, Bali and more

Cleaning out the mailbox/list of stuff I’ve been saving for a links post…

Spring Poetry Runoff

If you haven’t yet made it over to Wilderness Interface Zone for the second annual Spring Poetry Runoff, you should check it out. At last count, Patricia has 23 poems from 13 different poets lined up. The runoff is going to go well in to late April this year.

Looking for the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference?

It’s not being held at BYU this year — but it will be held. Check out the For Young Readers website for details. In brief, it’s going to be June 14-18 at the Waterford School in Sandy, Utah. The high number of active Utah-based writers and illustrators who focus on work for young readers means that you are going to get great panels and good networking opportunities so if you have an interest in the field, check it out.

Flickering hits the stage

Melissa Larson’s next play “A Flickering.” will have performances April 8-19 in the Provo Theatre. Here’s how Mel describes the play: “The play is set in New York in 1916. Max is a young woman trying to break into the infant movie industry while her best friend Samantha is on her way to a successful theatrical acting career. But controversy fuels the success of Max’s first film, at the risk of Samantha’s reputation — and their friendship.” Ticket info and show times at ProvoStage.org.

Island of Bali is Littered with Prayers paperback

Remember the excellent interview and awesome excerpt AMV ran a few months back about BYU musicologist Jeremy Grimshaw’s The Island of Bali is Littered with Prayers? Well Mormon Artists Group has sold out of the limited collector’s edition of the book and so has now brought it out in paperback.

BYU Studies reviews Thayer’s latest

Philip A. Snyder has posted an in-depth look at Douglas Thayer’s latest novel The Treehouse over at the BYU Studies website. Snyder does an excellent job of situating the novel in the context of Thayer’s body of work. He also notes that Zarahemla Books (which has published Thayer’s last two works) will be coming out with a collection of new short stories later this year. And Snyder ends the review with a sentiment I very much agree with: “With Thayer in his eightieth year and contemplating retirement from BYU, now would be a perfect time to reissue his work so general readers, as well as scholars, could review the very fine career of a pioneering writer of Mormon and other western fiction. Thayer and his writing deserve no less than that.” The Treehouse is available from the Zarahemla Books website.

Segullah on the Whitney finalists

Emily M. and Shelah discuss their favorite finalists in each of the Whitney Awards categories over at Segullah. Although I don’t agree with all of their picks (more on that later), on the whole, I think their sensibilities are well in line with those of most AMV readers and am in awe of their ability to read every single finalist. If you are looking to dip your toe in to LDS fiction, Emily and Shelah’s picks are a good place to start.

And that’s all for now. I will continue to post a links roundup from time-to-time, but the best way to receive timely info on the cool stuff that crosses my transom is to follow AMV on Twitter.