You likely remember Claire Åkebrand from your studious rerereading of Fire in the Pasture. I’m happy to say you can now add an all-Claire volume of poetry to your shelves.
What Was Left of the Stars came out earlier this year from Serpent Club Press. I’m not sure how aware the Mormon poetry-reading public is of her collection, but I fear the release of this volume has been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm for Mother’s Milk (which I am currently about a third through and will write about when finished).
Now, I’m not about to claim that this is a “Mormon” book in the way some books are—this may be by a Mormon, but it’s not exclusively for Mormons nor indeed is it even about Mormons unless you know The Code.
But with that in mind, I’m going to do a Mormon reading of the collection’s first section, which is heavily centered on the Garden of Eden.
The first time I read this first section, I was amazed by how every poem was a distinctly Mormon look at Eden—or, to be more specific, how the poems seemed to be about the Endowment. Not just the Endowment’s version of that tale, but the actual physical act of being in the temple and “doing” an Endowment.
Rereading those poems, I wonder if my first read wasn’t a tad overread, but certainly that reading is valid and it’s the angle I want to present now.
(Incidentally, scripture is one of Åkebrand’s go-tos in the collection, even beyond this first section—among others, expect startling appearances from Lazarus, Lot’s Wife, and the angels of Revelation.) Continue reading “Claire Åkebrand’s What Was Left of the Stars”
Today’s readings are:
“Wrestling with God: Invoking Scriptural Mythos and Language in LDS Literary Works” by James Goldberg
20 Poems from Fire in the Pasture edited by Tyler Chadwick
Please feel free to have your own seminar in the comments to this post.
Other posts in series:
Fiction (lit) — forthcoming
Fiction (sf/f) — forthcoming
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.
Continue reading “Field Notes on Language and Kinship”
Over at AMV’s companion blog Wilderness Interface Zone, the last of the 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff poems have posted and voting to decide which one wins the 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff’s Most Popular Poem Award is open and will run through Tuesday, June 5th. All participating poets, their friends and family, and all connoisseurs of poetry–particularly, of nature poetry–are invited to help choose the 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff’s Most Popular Poem Award winner.
The poll to determine the winner of the Spring Poetry Runoff Popular Poem Award will close 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5, but winners of both the popular vote and the Admin Award will be announced on or around Tuesday, June 6th. So keep an eye on WIZ to see how matters settle out. 31 poems qualified for the voting, so pop some popcorn, get out a pint of your favorite ice cream, or otherwise provision yourself for a long (but satisfying!) read. This part is important, folks: Each voter can (and should) vote for his or her three favorite poems! Instructions on how to access the poems are available in the post”“please read all instructions carefully.
To read the voting instructions and to vote, click here.
The winners of the Most Popular Poem and Admin Awards will receive their choices of Steven L. Peck’s The Scholar of Moab (Torrey House Press 2011), which recently received the AML Award for the Novel, or the stunning new anthology of Mormon poetry, Fire in the Pasture (Peculiar Pages 2011) edited by AMV’s Tyler Chadwick. Tyler also won an AML Award for his editing of this must-have collection.
So come over to WIZ and join the fun. Or at least set up a lawn chair and watch.
One-hundred eighty-two years ago today, Joseph Smith officially organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since then, as most of you know, it has grown exponentially. A flourishing culture of arts and letters has accompanied this growth.
As you may also know, April is National Poetry Month. Inaugurated in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, this month is intended—among other things—to raise the profile of poetry in American culture.
My intention with this post is to commemorate both of these events by announcing a new website—my newest online venture—that explores the intersection between Mormonism and poetry. The website: Fire in the Pasture: Mormon Poets / Poetries / Poetics. Here’s a little bit about the site (from the About page): Continue reading “Commemorating Mormonism and/through Poetry”
If you’ll be in or near the Salt Lake area this coming Saturday (February 25) come join me and a baker’s dozen or so of my fellow poets and Fire in the Pasture contributors at Ken Sanders Rare Books for a group reading and book signing.
Here’s how Scott Renshaw stoked the event’s flames in Salt Lake City Weekly‘s moreESSENTIALS section:
Fire in the Pasture Poetry Reading
It’s easy for gentiles to get goofy and smug about the kind of “art” that comes out of the LDS faith.
But visual artists, writers, filmmakers and others have found a depth and richness that gives the lie to easy stereotypes.
This weekend, Ken Sanders Rare Books hosts a group poetry reading and signing for the new collection Fire in the Pasture: 21st Century Mormon Poets. The book collects the work of 82 poets infusing their explorations of history, love and the natural world with an ever-present spirituality.
Editor Tyler Chadwick hosts the event, which features contributors Laura Baxter, Lisa Bickmore, Sarah Duffy, Alex Caldiero and Alan Mitchell, among more than a dozen participants. Come learn the truth contained in the lines by Neil Aitken in the Fire in the Pasture entry “Letter Fifty”: “Someone, I tell you, will remember us/ if only by what remains in these letters.”
So to recap: here’s the nitty-gritty:
What: Fire in the Pasture Poetry Reading
Where: Ken Sanders Rare Books, 268 S. 200 E., Salt Lake City, Utah (801.521.3819)
When: Feb. 25, 7pm
Who’s invited: Everyone
I hope to see you there.
This Saturday at Claremont Graduate University, Sunstone West, a small tidier Sunstone Symposium, will feature panels about two Peculiar Pages book. (Note that times and participants are subject to clarification.)
The first, Monsters & Mormons, accomplished with the help of A Motley Vision and the most fun currently available in print. Participating authors Erik Peterson (“Bichos”) and Brian Gibson (“The Eye Opener”) will be talking about their works as well as reading their own and others’ stories. Responding to their presentation will be Patrick Q. Mason, the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies and Associate Professor of North American Religion at Claremont, and the author of The Mormon Menace: Violence and Anti-Mormonism in the Postbellum South (Oxford University Press, 2011).
Also featured are several poets from Fire in the Pasture. Featuring editor, poet, and AMV-contributor Tyler Chadwick discussing a Javen Tanner poem, and, in a separate session, readings from Tyler, Neil Aitkin, Karen Kelsay, Elisa Pulido, Laura Stott, Holly Welker, and, we hope, more.
Sunstone West is always great fun and you’ll want to catch other panels and presentations while you’re there.
Come to L.A.!
I know, I know. I’ve already waxed hyperbolic about this book and recently even. It’s easy to do. Who can question that this book Tyler Chadwick has edited is of enormous cultural significance? It’s astonishing how many excellent poets he found and convinced to participate.
But here’s the thing. Even though I saw most of the emails he received during his marathon efforts, even though I even read some of the poems before the collection was compiled (but not many; I didn’t want to influence the editorial decisions unduly), even though the whole book was my idea, I had no idea how good the final product would be.
I have on my nightstand now a galley proof of Fire in the Pasture and I get lost in it every night. Hundreds and hundreds of pages of stellar poems from dozens of poets. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so enraptured with a poetry collection before — it’s not something that happens to me much.
But this collection is not just important. This collection is good to read.
I wish there were a way to show you. Soon we’ll have a free sample for you to download, but I just don’t know how it can compare the with overwhelming pleasures of holding this massive paper tome filled with the best Mormon poetry of the last decade.
I want to apologize for this self-promotional post, but I can’t. I don’t feel bad at all. Believe me when I say you need this book.