Sunday Lit Crit Sermon: J. H. Paul on status of Mormon Poetry, 1931

Joshua H Paul

Today those of us who are at least somewhat invested in Mormon Literature might be excused if we are defensive when Mormon Literature is attacked as not worthy of attention. I know that I, personally, would say something like “well, its not all that bad” or “I don’t think you’ve read enough of the better works of Mormon Literature to judge…” It turns out, we’re in good company.

Sometime before the following excerpt was written, Utah was attacked for its failure to produce worthy artists, and not just from any readers. Both H. L. Mencken and Bernard DeVoto, the latter a Utah native whose mother was Mormon, criticized the state, saying that it is a land devoid of literature, music, art–not having produced even “a critic, or educator, or editor, or publicist.”

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