Susan Elizabeth Howe: AML Lifetime Achievement Award

The Association for Mormon Letters presented Susan Elizabeth Howe with the AML Lifetime Achievement Award at the AML Conference on April 22, held at Utah Valley University. Susan attended both the award ceremony and a panel discussion about his career after the award ceremony.

Citation

It is hard to imagine anyone more deserving of AML’s Lifetime Achievement Award than Susan Elizabeth Howe.  After teaching for nearly 30 years, Susan recently retired from BYU.  Thus 2017 affords an excellent occasion for looking back and celebrating her many contributions: as an editor and literary citizen, as a university professor, and as an award-winning writer. Continue Reading →

Orson Scott Card: Smith-Pettit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters

The Association for Mormon Letters presented Orson Scott Card with the Smith-Pettit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters two lifetime achievement awards at the AML Conference on April 22, held at Utah Valley University. Orson Scott and Kristine Card attended both the award ceremony and a panel discussion about his career after the award ceremony.

Citation

In celebrating Orson Scott Card’s lifetime of achievement in Mormon letters, the Association for Mormon Letters recognizes what is self-evident truth. In both the range and the success of his work, both as a Mormon writer and as a writer who happens to be Mormon, Scott has few if any peers.

For more than forty years, Scott has explored the possibilities for Mormon-inspired literature across genres, modes, and literary types: from plays to short stories, graphic novels, novels, pageants, and poems; in contemporary realistic fiction and historical fiction as well as the science fiction and fantasy for which he is best known; in stories explicitly by, for, and about Mormons and others where only readers who are “in the know” would ever detect the Mormon elements. Scott has produced work that is thematically Mormon, exploring ideas such as the responsibilities that accompany the potential for human divinity and the necessity for pain, suffering, and evil. He has explored characters and settings from the Mormon past and imagined Mormon futures, from his historical novel Saints—winner of a previous AML award—to his Folk of the Fringe stories, describing what Mormons look like both to others and to ourselves. Continue Reading →

AML Fundraising Campgain

Founded in 1976, the Association for Mormon Letters is a nonprofit organization seeking to promote a rich tradition of creative writing “by, for, and about Mormons.” Each year AML holds an annual conference and awards ceremony to encourage scholarship in Mormon arts, literature, and culture and recognize excellence in the work of Mormon writers and scholars.

While smaller than other Mormon scholarly associations, AML fills a unique niche in Mormon studies with its attention to Mormonism’s long and often rich literary and artistic tradition. No other Mormon scholarly organization is as committed to fostering Mormon literary criticism and academic inquiry into Mormon literary arts. Without the Association for Mormon Letters, the work of many Mormon creative writers would go unrecognized, uninvestigated, and unrewarded.

Operating costs for the Association for Mormon Letters are typically low, but the organization currently has no formal practice for collecting membership dues or fundraising. To continue its support of Mormon letters, AML requires donations to maintain its website and blog and fund its annual conference and awards ceremony.

Please consider making a generous donation to support AML and its ongoing commitment to advancing Mormon arts and letters.

https://www.gofundme.com/mormon-letters-fundraiser

Children’s Lit Corner: The Inevitability of Change

As a young mother, I would sometimes read a little book to my children about a boy and a girl who planted a packet of seeds in some carefully prepared soil. They watered the ground and removed weeds and let the sun shine on the earth. The seeds sprouted and grew and bloomed into beautiful flowers. Eventually the plants produced seeds of their own that the children collected and saved to plant the next year. The book ended with the suggestion that if the reader wanted to know what happened the next year, just read the book again, substituting the seeds the children had collected for the packet they used the first year. The book said that the boy and the girl would have grown older and would eventually grow up. And, said the last sentence in the book, eventually so will you. Continue Reading →

Lifetime Achievement Awards: Orson Scott Card and Susan Elizabeth Howe

The Association for Mormon Letters will present two lifetime achievement awards at the AML Conference on April 22, held at Utah Valley University (CB101A) at 12:45-1:30pm. Orson Scott Card will be presented with the Smith-Pettit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters, and Susan Elizabeth Howe will be presented with the Association for Mormon Letters Lifetime Achievement Award. Both authors will be attending the conference in person. Panel discussion about both authors’ careers will also be held in the afternoon after the award ceremony.

Award citations will be read at the conference and published soon thereafter. For now, here are previously written biographies of the two authors. Card’s is adapted from his own Hatrack River website. Howe’s is adapted from a biography published on the Poetry Foundation website.

Orson Scott Card

Best known for his science fiction novels Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow, Orson Scott Card has written in many other forms and genres. Beginning with dozens of plays and musical comedies produced in the 1960s and 70s (including many Mormon and scriptural themed plays), Card’s first published fiction appeared in 1977 — the short story “Gert Fram” in the July issue of The Ensign, and the novelet version of “Ender’s Game” in the August issue of Analog. Continue Reading →

2017 Association for Mormon Letters Conference Program

Mark your calendars: the 2017 Association for Mormon Letters Conference will take place on April 21 and 22.

The conference will open in Provo with a keynote address at Writ & Vision from writer Phyllis Barber, the recipient of the 2016 Smith-Pettit Foundation Award for outstanding achievement in Mormon Letters. The conference will then reconvene the next morning at Utah Valley University for a day of scholarly presentations, panel discussions, and literary readings. The winners of the AML Awards will also be announced at a special ceremony at 12:45 pm MST. Among those honored will be two lifetime achievement awards. Orson Scott Card will be presented with the Smith-Pettit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters, and Susan Elizabeth Howe will be presented with the Association for Mormon Letters Lifetime Achievement Award.

The conference and awards ceremony are free and open to the public. We hope to see you there!

2017

Association for Mormon Letters Conference

April 21-22, 2017

Utah Valley University

Schedule
Friday 4/21 Writ & Vision-274 W Center St., Provo, UT
7:00-8:00 PM Keynote:

Phyllis Barber, “Reconciling Art with History”

Saturday 4/22 Utah Valley University-Orem, UT
9:30-10:00

AM

Registration

Room: CB 101A  (Classroom Building)

10:00-11:15

AM

Panel Discussion:

“Mormon Historical Drama”

Tom Rogers

Melissa Larson

Margaret Young

Eric Samuelson

Moderator: James Goldberg

Room: CB 113

Sarah Reed, “Postmemory and the Lost Generation: Midcentury Mormon Novels”

Jed Woodworth, “When MIA Fought Atheism through Poetry: Orson F. Whitney’s Love and the Light

Joseph Soderborg, “Robert Louis Stevenson: Mormons, Missionaries, and Friends in Utah and the South Pacific”

Room: CB 114

 

11:30 AM-12:30 PM Lunch
12:45-1:30

PM

AML Awards Ceremony

Room: CB 101A

1:45-3:00

PM

Harlow Clark, “The Philosophy of Consolation: A Dialogue Between Boethius and Joseph Smith”

Sherilyn Olsen, “From Active to Activist Mormon: How Writing About My Family’s Adoption Experiences Converted Me to Race Issue Advocacy”

Marilyn Brown, “Raiders, Readers, and Writers of the Last Art: Tackling Historical Fiction”

Room: CB 113

 

Panel Discussion:

“The Work of Orson Scott Card”

Eric James Stone

Mattathias Westwood

Scott Parkin

Christopher Smith

J. Scott Bronson

Moderator: Andrew Hall

Room: CB 114

3:15-4:30

PM

Panel Discussion:

“The Work of Susan Elizabeth Howe”

Lance Larsen

Darlene Young

Jeffrey Tucker

Michael Lavers

Moderator: Bert Fuller

Room: CB 113

 

Julie Nichols, Fiction Reading

Steven L. Peck, Fiction Reading

James Goldberg, Poetry Reading

Room: CB 114

 

4:45-6:00

PM

Chris Smith, “Prosperity in the Book of Mormon”

Jordan Shumway, “Abish: A Female Figure of Christ”

Kylie Nielson Turley, “Alma2’s Hell: Ammonihah and a Lake of Fire and Brimstone”

Room: CB 113

Laura Harris Hales, “Title: Creating Safe Literary Space in the 21st Century Mormon Community”

Bert Fuller, “Mormon Poetry in Review: Some Notes on the Last Five Years.”

Sheldon Lawrence, “Mormon Conversion Narratives and the Construction of Certainty”

Room: CB 114

 

Campus Map and Parking

On Saturday, the conference will be held in the Classroom Building on the northwest end of campus, right next to the Fulton Library on College Drive. On campus maps, the building is marked CB.

When you arrive, please register in room 101A. All sessions will take place either in room 113 or 114. These rooms are right inside the southwest entrance of the building, right next to parking lot L4.

Parking information can be found here and here.

Writ & Vision Map and Parking

On Friday evening, the conference will open at Writ & Vision in Provo with our keynote address from Phyllis Barber. The address is 274 West Center Street, Provo, UT 84601.

Parking is available along Center Street.

Restaurants near UVU

Conference attendees are responsible for their own meals. UVU has a few restaurants on Campus, although not all of them are open on Saturday. Several other restaurants are near campus.

After the conference there will be an informal reception and reading for award winners and conference attendees at the home of James and Nicole Goldberg in American Fork.

Continue Reading →

In Tents #76 The Rhetoric of Baptism Narratives

The Friday before I post I usually get a note from Jonathan Langford: “You’re up for Tuesday.” Instead, Friday after work I opened up my email and saw a whole bunch of letters with the ominous subject line “Jonathan Langford.” My phone shows the first few words of each letter below the subject line, so I saw the word heartbroken in Margaret Young’s letter, which confirmed the omen. (I wondered if anyone had told my brother Dennis, then found out from my sister that Dennis was in the hospital after back surgery.) So I’ve been thinking about Jonathan off and on all weekend. On the bus Monday morning I realized I’ve probably also been waiting for someone to say, “April Fools.”

This column was a gift from Jonathan. Continue Reading →

In Memoriam: Jonathan Langford

We are shocked and saddened to hear that our friend Jonathan D. Langford passed away on March 31 at the age of 55, apparently suffering a sudden heart attack. Jonathan has been the coordinator for this blog since 2010, soon after its founding. Jonathan was also an author, editor, and a key leader and participant for many years of the Life, the Universe, and Everything conference, The Leading Edge magazine, and the Association for Mormon Letters. The funeral will be held Saturday, April 8, at the LDS Church at 545 Stageline Rd in Hudson, WI. The viewing will be at 1 pm and the funeral at 2 pm.

Jonathan grew up in western Oregon. His first published work was a poem which appeared in The Children’s Friend when he was 8. He enrolled at Brigham Young University as a 16-year old in 1978, intending to study politics. During the Winter of 1980 he became involved in Quark, a science fiction club at BYU that was less than a year old. From 1981 to 1983 he served a mission in Italy for the LDS Church. “One of the many insights on my mission”, he wrote, “had been the realization that while in Italy, I’d had no problem setting aside my interest in politics—but that everything I saw made me think of art, literature, and culture in general. And so I decided I should follow my love, and go into literature.” Continue Reading →

in verse #75 : free verse, dear love

Turns out Walt Whitman had a greater influence on fin de siècle American poetics than I had supposed.  It was his plain diction that led Pound to largely forgo archaicisms,[i] and led to the plainspeak of the Cantos, insofar as that exists.  Before going into that, however, let me allow John Tytell to place Pound in the context of this time:

As a young man Pound frequently referred to himself as a genius and at this time saw himself as connected to a great chain of poets whose lessons he could master and who could speak through him in his poems.  Much of Pound’s most successful early work was imitative — he had the best ear among poets of his generation and could mimic to perfection.  Of course he had his own taste and his struggle during the early years of his apprenticeship, from 1908 through 1912, was to forge his own voice.[ii]

This period of apprenticeship, as Tytell dates it, stretches from Pound’s publication of A Lume Spento and A Quinzaine for this Yule in 1908 through The Sonnets and Ballate of Guido Cavalcanti and Ripostes in 1912, or about 245 pages of verse.[iii]    We saw the young Pound expressing the feelings Tytell reports in the poem “Histrion” in my December post.  I bring it back here for its value in illustrating Pound’s self-absorption:

No man hath dared to write this thing as yet, Continue Reading →

The Beginning of a Mormon literature in Spanish? Part 2, Mexico, Uruguay, and elsewhere

By Gabriel González Núñez

Part I of this article can be accessed here. In it, some introductory thoughts were presented, and Argentine authors were surveyed.

Besides Argentina, another country where Mormon authors are beginning to publish is Mexico. There are two Mormon authors that I know of in this country. The first goes by the pen name Elisabet Zapiæn, but she also publishes under her real name Elizabeth González Torres. She debuted with a novel in 2012 titled San Rafael (Ulterior Editorial). The novel is about a love triangle against the backdrop of a murder mystery in a town called San Rafael. It has no distinctive Mormon features. Zapiæn has also published three short stories in literary journals, none of which have any Mormon elements.

Another Mexican author is R. de la Lanza. In 2015 he self-published a short story titled “El jerarca” [which can be translated as The Leader], which is a detective story about the murder of a Church employee. In 2016 he published his debut novel Eleusis (published by a group of publishers-in-training under the name Intendencia de las Letras). It tells the story of several generations of Mexican Latter-day Saints, from Mexican-Revolution-era pioneers to modern young single adults in Mexico City. The work is unquestionably of a fine literary quality, and it is definitely a work of Mormon literature. The novel’s portrayal of modern Mexican Mormons as largely a group of hypocrites is likely to be off-putting to some among the more faithful Latter-day Saint readers. De la Lanza has so far written about Mormon topics because, in his own words: “It’s the world I know […] I don’t know anything about drug lords, about other worlds, like the world of labor unions, of large corporations, etc. What I am most familiar with is the world of my brothers and sisters in the Church.” Continue Reading →