Hella Mormon books (and matt fraction, for leaven)


006) The Marriage of the Moon and the Field by Sunni Brown Wilkinson, finished January 25

It took me several poems to find my way inside Wilkinson's poetry, but once I did, I started finding powerful images and elegant structures.

From there, the book just opened up to me, and what a marvel it is. Highly recommended.

one evening


007) My Parents Married on a Dare by Carlfred Broderick, finished January 26
I would never have heard of this out-of-print essay collection on my own, so thank goodness for twitter! Because it is a solid collection. Witty but unironic. Sincere and (largely) Ensign-friendly (published by Deseret Book).

A scientist and therapist, a world-recognized expert on the family, Broderick was also a bishop and stake president. Sort of the Clayton Christensen of his day, you might say. And a big enough deal that not only did I not have to start his Wikipedia page, but it's been live since 2007.

His essay on the family relationships of Jesus has already made an appearance in seminary, and his final essay, "The Uses of Adversity," almost made me sob on a couple occasions.

The essays are a mix of autobiography, practical advice, spiritual insight, and just plain kindliness. I feel I know him, having read the book, and I like and admire him.

It's a solid collection and I recommend it.
about a year


008) The Garden of Enid: Adventures of a Weird Mormon Girl (volume one) by Scott Hales, finished January 26
009) The Garden of Enid: Adventures of a Weird Mormon Girl (volume two) by Scott Hales, finished January 27

The first time I read these, it was in a prerelease pdf and the non-narrative stuff was left out. The intros (one of which I wrote) and the notes and the outtakes and such. It's the notes that add the most reading time, if you're taking on every word. For volume one, I didn't know about the notes so I read them after reading the narrative. Volume two, I switched back and forth between them. That's probably less effective and might get in the way of the narrative's power, but I still choked up on several occasions near the end, starting with Kyle's visit to the hospital.

The notes are not created equal, volume to volume. Nearly all the comics have notes in volume two, less so volume one, and volume two goes much further in explaining Enid's tshirts and other visual references. I think I would have noticed this anyway, but the two references to *me* are in volume one and so unexplained. (A third reference to me is in a comic rightfully exiled to the "compost pile."

Anyway. Enid was very much of its moment. I still think it has aged well, but it's hard to say if, five years on, one should base a fifth-Sunday lesson around her.

The real test, of course, is will we still be reading her a hundred years from now. But there is utterly no way to answer that question today.

(Related to that last paragraph, read today.)

In short, Enid is good fiction. And its meta elements attract readers to the larger world of Mormon literature. She is a gift and we all ought to be grateful to have her.
one day then the same day and another day


010) Solid State by Coulton / Fraction / Monteys, finished February 9

A comic based on an album! That's new. I just put it on as I started working on this writeup and the first song is now just finishing. It was pretty good.

So: Coulton made the album. Fraction wrote the book. Monteys drew it. The intersections of collaboration and laid out in the aftermatter, which is Coulton's original notes to Fraction with commentary by Fraction.

Fraction is daring and taking some chances. We've seen him do this before.

Reading the notes at the end helped me put together what I had read---not because the book didn't make sense otherwise but because it made more sense otherwise. Which is, sure, nice.

two days, one for the aftermatter


011) Into the Sun: Poems Revised, Rearranged, and New by Colin B. Douglas, finished February 16

I was not aware of Colin B. Douglas before I came across this book. Likely, I had heard of him, but nothing had stuck. He's in his seventies and has been publishing poems (incl. Mormon poems) for at least forty years, and has published three previous collections, but this valedictory work is my introduction to him. I'm not sure how many of these poems may have been collected in previous collections, but I'm assuming at least a few.

Before we go on, let's look at these two covers:

I believe the first is the final version, but some copies of the second are out there in circulation. I don't like the second as well, although I think neither quite captures Douglas's work. He's much weirder. And, although in his Author's Note, he says, "I am not a Surrealist (Neo-Romanticist influenced by Surrealism is closer to the mark," he does admit to writing "oneiric poems" (271–2) and if that's not surrealist, I don't know what is. He spends time in that note discussing how he let his subconscious do much of the driving, and I think that's why certain repetitions occur.

Which leads to why, if this collection has a primary flaw, it is its length, resulting in an effect much like that once so eloquently described by Daniel Handler:

That aside, I loved this collection. I would have been better to take three years to read it rather than not even two weeks, but even so, I loved it. My eyes did glaze over at times, I think his longer poems make good evidence of Poe's maxim that anything over 100 lines is no longer a poem, but when the poetry (and strange short fictions) flew, they touched the sky.

That said, I want to list some of the words that I noticed repeating, and how many poems they occur in:
33 1/3 [2 poems]
alder [8 poems]
alphabets / letters / glyphs [~31 poems]
aureole [3 poems]
breast [~21 poems]
chair [~15 poems]
clown [4 poems]
crow [~4 poems]
*crystal [~10] / sphere [~10] / crystal sphere [~5, including at least two that grow inside someone's breast]
deer [19 poems]
drawer / door (the drawers especially often opening from bodies) [~44 poems]
[blue] dress [[5] ~23 poems]
etch [~7 poems]
eye [~47 poems]
giraffe [~5 poems]
Logos [2 poems]
map [~13 poems]
mask (most often white or yellow) [~6 poems]
nipple [6 poems]
patina [~4 poems]
piano [~ 8 poems, including one that ends with piano keys and the next that has piano keys in the title]
(especially white) rabbits [~10 poems]
red tricycle [2 poems]
rib (and related words) [~10 poems]
sandstone [~10] / cliffs [~13] / sandstone cliffs [5]
skeins (especially of yellow silk) [3 poems]
skins and/or snakes [~39 poems]
spider's web [~6 poems]
*stones [~14]
stumps (or other amputative language) [~8 poems]
tamarisk [2 poems]
thigh [~16 poems]
urinal [3 poems---in two of which the urinals are difficult to distinguish from the sinks]

*(often with urim-and-thummim undertones)
I could go on. And, if you were watching closely, I could write a decent LDS Eros post about some of the poems in the book, particularly some of the earlier ones where the poems are more connected to discernible (and Mormon) reality. But that'll have to wait for another day. It is late and I am tired.
over ten days


books from the recent and distant past

books one through five
001) Titiana in Yellow by Dayna Patterson, finished January 1
002) The Tree at the Center by Kathryn Knight Sonntag, finished January 5
003) After Earth by Michael Lavers, finished January 12
004) Monstress, Volume One: Awakening by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, finished January 15
005) The Last Hot Time by John M. Ford, finished January 17

No comments:

Post a Comment