Gadianton the Nobler, Reflections on Changes in the Book of Mormon

Part III: Poetry, Style and Literary Craft in the Book of Mormon

Often in Family Home Evening we would read from different translations of the Bible. Someone would have the KJV, someone else The Jerusalem Bible, another The Revised Standard or New English Version. We would take turns reading and the others would follow along in their translations, and sometimes comment on what we read. Shortly after my brother Kevin returned from his mission he read The Book of Mormon in Finnish and we followed along in English.

When we read Nephi’s lament at the death of Lehi in 2 Nephi 4 my father told us this was a psalm, and the only psalm in The Book of Mormon. I had begun noticing a lot of poetry in the Bible, partly because The Jerusalem Bible and others format the poetry as poetry, but thought there was not much in The Book of Mormon, except Alma’s “Oh, that I were an angel.” I know now there is a great deal more poetry in the Book of Mormon than Nephi’s psalm. Indeed, every time a writer says “Oh,” it is likely the start of a poem. Even without looking at chiasmus there is a lot of lyric poetry, including the Zoramites’ prayer on the Rameumptom and Nephi’s prayer on the garden tower. Continue reading “Gadianton the Nobler, Reflections on Changes in the Book of Mormon”

AMV welcomes Harlow, Katherine, Laura and Tyler

I’m pleased to announce that Tyler Chadwick, Harlow Clark, Laura Craner and Katherine Morris are joining A Motley Vision. I can’t think of a better way to cap off what has been a great summer for AMV, filled with great posts, excellent discussion and an increase in readers and active commenters. Thanks, everybody. I personally have felt a renewed sense of energy and commitment to the blog, and it’s all your fault.

We’ll have full bio pages up on our Contributors page soon. But in brief:

Tyler is a poet and blogger at Chasing the Long White Cloud and a doctoral student at Idaho State (or will be in just a week or two).

Laura has guest posted at AMV and blogs at LDS Readers and at Depressed (but not unhappy) Mormon Mommy.

Katherine is the founder of the student chapter of the AML and was one of the more active bloggers at Mormon Rennaissance. She recently graduated from BYU and has a particular interest in Mormon culture and linguistics. She is also my sister.

Harlow is one of the gems of the Mormon literature scene. He’s been publishing on the AML list and presenting at the AML annual meeting for a long time. His work often mixes literary criticism, personal essay and storytelling and is filled with word play (including many puns), allusions and quotations.

The AMV team is delighted by these additions. It’s a little hard for me to believe it, but what started out as a solo blog back in June 2004 has grown to 11 co-bloggers (and 1 emeritus blogger).

If you are a friend or family member or frequent commenter or AML Lister or Mormon arts colleague of any of us and are wondering why you weren’t invited to blog at AMV, it’s not because we don’t love and value you. It could be that we didn’t want to distract you from what you were already doing. Or thought you wouldn’t be interested. Or we are already well stocked up in your area of expertise. If you really, really want to join us or would be interested in guest posting, e-mail admin AT motleyvision DOT org.

Other Changes

Along with adding to our team, we’re making a few changes to AMV itself. Key navigation has been moved to the top nav bar. Our Contributors page has been reorganized to include links to both bios and posts for each blogger. The Comments Policy page has been updated. And the Contact Us page now has more information about submitting works for review, guests posts and story/event pitches. I’ve also switched to URLs that include keywords from the post title to make them more search engine (and people) friendly. However, all previous post URLs will automatically redirect to the proper post so if you’ve linked to us in the past — thank you, and you don’t need to update those links.

In addition, I have ditched the recent links section. I’m not happy with its functionality and am looking for other solutions to highlight interesting and valuable work elsewhere — especially a solution that will make it very easy for all of us co-bloggers to post links. Suggestions are welcome.

Finally, although this is mainly an internal thing, I’ve broken the bloggers up in to teams by art form. All of us will still be able to post on anything we want that falls under the heading of Mormon arts and culture, but I’m hoping that the teams approach will distribute the administrative tasks a bit, and more importantly will indicate where we need to grow further. Literature — fiction, poetry, personal essay — will probably always dominate here at AMV (and indeed is by far our largest team right now), but I think that we need to become better at covering Cinema, Theater and Visual Arts. In addition, to those four art forms, Kent and I will continue to cover the Publishing (and Marketing) of Mormon cultural products. If you are curious about who has been assigned to what team, see the Contributors page.

For those who have a specific interest in any of those categories, I’ve created special pages that list the latest blog posts on those topics. See the top section of the right nav bar.

I hope these additions and changes will give you all the more reason to drop by AMV. Or subscribe to our RSS feed. Or our Twitter feed. Or our posts by e-mail service.

And all of this is just phase one. Stay tuned.