AMV’s about page is very upfront about the inbred nature of the current Mormon-arts community, but this post seems to require a direct reminder of the fact.
The new online miniseries Adam & Eve is written and directed by Davey and Bianca Morrison Dillard. They were both early joiners of New Play Project, which began life as “mere” student works, yet gained acclaim, gathering words like renaissance and breakthrough and baby-this-is-the-future. It didn’t hurt that established playwrights like Eric Samuelsen and Melissa Leilani Larsen, and Mahonri Stewart were seduced by all this young blood and provided additional work for them to produce. No doubt, NPP, while it lasted, was a marvelous thing, and everyone involved deserves fond memories of their own and long memories of ourn.
My intimacy with NPP began with Davey approached me about publishing a collection of NPP work. I had a couple stipulations but was largely hands off, and the thing came out almost six years ago now, if you can believe it. Among the short plays included in the collections was Davey’s “Adam & Eve.” It was his first attempt at playwriting. One of his better NPP plays. And, apparently, has not unclutched him ever since as it appears now in serial film form as “Adam & Eve.”
[keep reading] Continue reading “Adam & Eve in 2016”
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
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.
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.
News from the Reading Until Dawn front:
A couple of weeks ago, I read a paper at the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association (RMMLA) Convention at Snowbird, Utah (a rundown of my experience at the AML session will come in a later post that I’ve got halfway worked up; yes, I’ve been lazy—so sue me) and over the weekend I did some revising to incorporate some of the feedback I received and posted it on Reading Until Dawn. “Toward a Mormon Gothic: Stephenie Meyer’s Vampires and a Theology of the Uncanny” takes its place in the blossoming field of Twilight studies beside RUD’s inaugural essay, Theric Jepson’s “Saturday’s Werewolf: Vestiges of the Premortal Romance in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Novels.” Link over and have a read. That’s what all the cool kids are doing (or so they tell me).
While you’re there, you might also notice that I’ve made some subtle changes to the site design (I’ve tweaked the header) and that I’ve updated the articles. The inconsistent layout was bugging me, so I took down the HTMLs until I can get them to look how I want them to look, reworked my document template slightly, and incorporated the new MLA citation standards into the notes. Hopefully this gives the collection a more consistent and professional feel.
Also: though I’ve published “Toward a Mormon Gothic” on RUD, I’m still open to feedback. So if, while you’re reading, you notice a typo or some such faux pas or notice that I’ve missed something you deem vitally important to the conversation, either email me or comment here. That or work up your own essay and submit it for publication. I promise I won’t complain.
Tyler beat me to the punch, but I’d like to note that the Summer 2009 issue of Dialogue features fiction by AMVers S.P. Bailey and Theric Jepson and a review by Tyler Chadwick. This comes on the heels of the Spring 2009 issue, which features a review by P.G. Karamesines, and will be followed by a little something by me in the Fall 2009 issue.
Add in work by Tyler and me in the Fall 2007/Spring 2008 Irreantum and a fantastic essay by Eric Thompson in the Spring 2007 Irreantum, and the past year has been fairly fruitful for AMV’s bloggers. And there may be more that I have forgotten (pipe up in the comments). Oh, yeah, Theric presented at Sunstone — a paper that was jumpstarted by Tyler and Laura’s Reading Until Dawn project.
This is not to mention that three current or former Times & Seasons bloggers are represented in the Summer 2009 issue of Dialogue, plus Dallas Robbins and Juvenile Instructor’s Heidi Harris. I think it’s becoming more and more clear that for many of the new(ish) voices in Mormon Studies blogging is not the end itself, but rather a way to develop ideas, connections and communities. And today’s best Mormon Studies scholars may just need to be fluent in a wide variety of genres/platforms of expressing their thinking.
So here’s the deal, AMVers. In celebration of National Poetry Month and in conjunction with AMV’s plan to do the same (I’ll try not to step on my co-bloggers toes here; if I do, especially you Wm., sorry in advance), I’m undertaking a month long exploration of Mormon verse. To chase these poets with me (or even to suggest a Mormon poet who deserves some attention, even in the lowly way I can give it on my personal blog), link to Chasing the Long White Cloud’s Mormon Poetry Project where I’ll be highlighting a poet and a poem per day for the month (at least that’s my hope). Yesterday, I took center stage myself with a spring-y haiku (*how narcissistic of you, Tyler*) and today I’ve put the spotlight on Darlene Young.
So come, if you will, spend a few minutes chasing clouds with me. Who knows: we might even find an elephant or two stampeding across the sky.
This is the final post in a five part series that explores the ethics of Latter-day Saint literature and criticism. In part four, “Maintaining Rhetorical Balance”, I cite Karl Keller’s suggestion that Mormonism’s lack or denial of a serious literary heritage stems from three delusions: 1) our Puritanism, 2) our paranoia, and 3) our apocalypticism. Adding these delusions to the Mormon culture industry’s commodification of Latter-day Saint culture and theology, I suggest that these positions are symptomatic of a general failure to engage the world (which is ultimately our means to exaltation) and Mormon theology and thus to bear what Eugene England calls the “difficult burden” of “describ[ing] a unique set of revealed truths and historical and continually vital religious experiences and to do so both truly and artistically.” I conclude by asserting that only by seeing language as experience and by moving to capture the truths of human experience in language can writers strike a spiritually real rhetorical stance, maintaining integrity of character and experience even as they move beyond the familiar, the convenient, and the comfortable to engage readers in lives and universes beyond the limits of their own.
Since the underlying concern of this series has been with the ways in which Mormons–especially Mormon critics–read or misread Latter-day Saint literature, culture, and theology, I turn now to the “or” of my tragically long title, “An Ethics of Latter-day Saint Reading” and attempt to infer some conclusions about where I think the Mormon reader/critic stands in relation to our letters. (After reading William’s series on the distinction between the terms Mormon and LDS, I’m not sure what my usage here says about me and my particular terminological inclinations. But I sure am self-conscious about them now. Thanks for that, Wm”¦)
V. Assuming Responsibility
The ethical implications and textu(r)ally redemptive possibilities of the rhetorics people use to explore human experience and to communicate with and to persuade others center in the acts of reading, a series of unique performances that exist only in the intersection between writer, reader, and text and that flow from the ethos of each transactional party. This ethos, as Booth has it, emerges not only in a person’s moral integrity, but it’s further expressed in the patterns or “habits of choice” we fall into in every domain of our lives.1 The way we read, then, as the way we habitually choose to live is a complex extension and expression of our character. Continue reading “The Tragic Tell of Mormon Morality, Part V”
This is the fourth post in a five or six part series that explores the ethics of Latter-day Saint literature and criticism. In part three, “The (In)Convenience of Mormon Letters”, I briefly examine a New Testament narrative–Satan’s temptations of Christ–first of all, to underscore the dangers a consumer-based outlook on Mormon theology poses to Mormon culture and on the essential relationship between self and other, individual and community, and, second, to suggest a way to transcend this paradox, namely by inconveniently pushing at the boundaries of established or misinterpreted cultural conventions (of action, knowledge, language, etc.) and thus expanding the limits of personal and communal understanding and potential.
As I conclude, “This vision of doctrinal expansion and spiritual cooperation as acts of theological creativity ties very closely to Mormonism’s cultural and artistic development because the depth and breadth of our theological and experiential perspective and the vigor with which we explore, express, and develop it in our lives, our writing, and our reading (often an unconscious act) determines the vitality and the efficacy of our community’s literary testimony. Because of my belief in this vision, I sense that Mormon literature and criticism haven’t yet grown past the awkwardness of adolescence into a full and necessary articulation of their essential greatness, a mature literary and critical character founded in Mormonism’s theological complexity and prophesied, promised, and hoped for by LDS prophets, seers, writers, and critics alike.”
IV. Maintaining Rhetorical Balance
Karl Keller insists that Mormon culture’s literary immaturity arises from three distinct delusions, conventions we cling to that keep us from fully experiencing words and with which we have historically “denied ourselves a literature.”1 Continue reading “The Tragic Tell of Mormon Morality, Part IV”