AML Awards 1977 – 1979

YEAR RECIPIENT TITLE AWARD CITATION
1979 Cindy Lesser Larsen “Whoever Heard of a Utah Poet?: An Overview of Poetry in the Early Church” Criticism The awards committee felt that Larsen’s essay “embodies the important virtues of our discipline: solid scholarship, an excellent grasp of subject matter, and the careful workings of a keen analytical mind.” “This critically perceptive survey of early Mormon poets makes an important contribution to Mormon literary history and is especially noteworthy as a model of undergraduate scholarsh”.”
1979 Edward L. Hart To Utah Poetry According to the awards committee, “To Utah is a bringing together of forty years of poetic exploration. Hart’s ‘tribute and gift to those he loves becomes a tribute to his understanding of and devotion to the elements of his existence. Out of To Utah and his portrayal of the destruction caused by human frailty rises his sympathy for the pain of living and his faith in our ultimate success.’ His ‘reverence for the Word’ resounds throughout To Utah, a book that ‘spans his years and illuminates ours.’”
1979 Marden J. Clark Moods: Of Late Poetry The judges stated that this collection of poems “impresses as a reflective exploration of the most Mormon of topics, the relationship of family and religious experience. The energy of the poems lies in their gentle co-mingling of dark profundity and engagingly informed naivete. Through them Clark has taught us that form indeed liberates, and that sonship may bristle at times with anger and cry out in pain, yet resolve in awe and celebration.”
1979 Bela Petsco Nothing Very Important and Other Stories Short Fiction The judges stated, “At a time when Wasatch-front Mormons find themselves an ever-smaller minority in the expanding Church, the work of Bela Petsco is a sign of the future among us.” This collection, a series of linked stories featuring a central character, Mih’ly Agyar, an ethnic Hungarian from New York, is significant “not only because it is refreshing and insightful in its own right, but also because it is the first of its kind—an important modern fictional work by and about a Latter-day Saint reared outside of the Wasatch-front cultural tradition.”
1978 Steven P. Sondrup “Literary Dimensions of Mormon Autobiography” Criticism The judges awarded the prize for the essay’s contribution, among other things, “for probing the relationship of autobiography and history” and “for analyzing some literary possibilities offered by the genre.”
1978 Marilyn McMeen Miller Brown “Grandmother” Poetry (“Grandmother” also published in her book The Grandmother Tree, Provo: Art Publishers [1978].) In their evaluation of “Grandmother,” the judges noted its “lean and austere grace” and singled it out as “witnessing one way the sources of Mormon tradition can nourish contemporary Mormon poetry.”
1978 Marden J. Clark “God’s Plenty” Poetry (“God’s Plenty” also published in his compilation Moods: Of Late, Provo: BYU Press [1979].) “God’s Plenty” was cited as “an example of humane and disciplined Mormon imagination searching and shaping the hard element of personal experience.”
1978 Clinton F. Larson The Western World Poetry Judges called this collection “the present and doubtless temporary culmination of Clinton Larson’s poetic effort; a case of vintage Larson, with all the traits that baffle, irritate, delight, and enlarge his readers.” The award also acknowledged his “long and gigantically productive” writing career “which has made him a huge, potent paternal presence on the imaginative horizons of younger Mormon writers.”
1978 Karen Rosenbaum “Hit the Frolicking, Rippling Brooks” Short Fiction The committee cited “Hit the Frolicking, Rippling Brooks” as “a rich, witty, and sophisticated story of contemporary Mormon life, an appreciation of the ordinary which avoids easy affirmations and easy negations alike” with “technical maturity and control.”
1978 Levi S. Peterson “The Confessions of Augustine” Short Fiction Noting that “either story alone would qualify for the prize,” the prize committee commented that “both stories achieve added dimensions of meaning from the submerged yet constantly present conversion patterns alluded to in the titles, the recurring tension between wilderness and the disciplines of Mormon community, and the movingly realized ambiguities of loss and gain.”
1977 Clifton Holt Jolley “The Martyrdom of Joseph Smith: An Archetypal Study” Criticism
1977 Arthur Henry King The Field Behind Holly House Poetry
1977 Linda Sillitoe The Old Philosopher, Letter to a Four-Year-Old Daughter Poetry
1977 Donald Marshall Frost in the Orchard Short Fiction
1977 Douglas H. Thayer Under the Cottonwoods Short Fiction

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