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Mormon literature and culture



Last Build Date: Mon, 03 Apr 2017 19:16:33 +0000

 



Comment on Paragraphs on three very different things by Lee Allred

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 19:16:33 +0000

Thanks, Theric! Now that I know it exists, I'll be making a beeline for James Goldberg's book.



Comment on Paragraphs on three very different things by William Morris

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 17:35:14 +0000

Let Me Drown with Moses is a delight to read, especially for those of us who are poetry-shy or poetry-skeptical. It's approachable but still complex and poetic. I really enjoyed it. I haven't read the other two books yet but both sound very interesting.



Comment on #MormonArtsSunday in Berkeley by Th.

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 17:20:20 +0000

. I've decided to fit it in when I can, since I'm the only one in the ward really thinking about it in those terms. I can still wear my beret in June!



Comment on #MormonArtsSunday in Berkeley by William Morris

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 16:53:10 +0000

Very cool (even if you jumped the gun [Mormon Arts Sunday is technically the second Sunday in June but really it's fine to celebrate it whenever you can fit it in]). Also: creativity as a way to deal with pain is something I need to think more about.



Comment on Artist Wives Support Group by JayAnne

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 02:43:48 +0000

Why could this support group not be a real thing!?!



Comment on Sundry Moldy Solecisms #4 Evening Eucalyptus and Other Enchanted Plays by Mahonri Stewart by Harlow Clark

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 19:59:10 +0000

P.S. That story I mentioned sending with my UW application, "Against the Dying of the Light," was published in BYU's literary magazine, Inscape, around 1983, possibly in the same issue as Joseph K. Nicholes' "Virtuous Visions: The Pre-Raphaelite Movement as a Victorian Phenomenon." (The Mormon Literature & Creative Arts database lists both, but without bibliographical information for either.) I have extra copies I could send you, but it may take a while as our great-niece and our son have piled many boxes in my office, making it difficult to get to my books. I think that essay was where I first saw John Everett Millais' painting of Ophelia floating down the river on her back, beautiful and haunting.



Comment on Sundry Moldy Solecisms #4 Evening Eucalyptus and Other Enchanted Plays by Mahonri Stewart by Harlow Clark

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 19:30:12 +0000

Thanks for your kind words, Mahonri. I suspect my approach to reviewing owes a lot to discovering Pauline Kael in high school. She had such an encyclopedic knowledge of film that she might reference a dozen other films in a review, trying to place actors, directors, writers, in social, historical, economic, and artistic contexts. I wonder if my lack of blurbability might be related to Kael's long think-piece in Reeling about the state of the industry, and the studios' cynicism in not promoting films they don't think will make much money, and how discouraging it is to include a nice blurb in a review and have the studio ignore it. (How about, "The Emperor Wolf has a very different post-apocalyptic landscape than Cormac McCarthy's The Road, but I kept thinking of The Road because the tenderness between parent and child is there, and the hope we see in the novel's closing scenes"?) I also took a religion class in fall 1980 from the father of some high school classmates, a fellow notorious for seeing parallels everywhere. I recently finished an essay, Tenting, Toll, and Taxing, so full of parallels that two-thirds of it is 202 footnotes. He parodied himself in a widely circulated essay called Bird Island. I would love to claim his mantle, but I don't know 16 languages. On a more serious note, Lois Johnson, the director of my thesis, once called me into her office to talk about a long story called "And" (later published in Dialogue, Summer 1990). She told me about a student whose writing was dense, subtle, and allusive. "I told her, 'I want you to rewrite this story so that everything is so obvious, so blatant it makes you want to puke. Then rewrite it, somewhere in between the two versions.' When she came back I said, 'Was it hard?' 'Yes.' 'Is it better?' 'Yes.' I'm going to give you the same assignment," she said. I did some rewrites that improved it a lot, and made some cuts for length for Dialogue, which improved it, but I never carried out the full exercise. I probably should. Other people have told me what Lois did. Leslie Norris urged simplicity in the story I sent with my application to the U of Washington--too much of the characters quoting T.S. Eliot to each other (partly, I think, the influence of all that poetry quoted back and forth in O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night). Benson Parkinson said an essay I was writing for Irreantum about Cathy Wilson's poetry was nearly as dense and allusive as the poetry and I rewrote it. More recently my niece, who asked me to write a novel with her about a homeless man she met in Portland, points out enigmatic passages needing some expansion and clarity. And there was my neighbor across the street whose son died of leukemia. I wrote a piece about him in Irreantum, using the image of a Moebius strip, noting that if you place your finger on the edge of the strip and trace it around the strip back to the place where you started you'll be on the opposite edge you started from. In just such a way life moves seamlessly into death which moves seamlessly back into life. "You're very smart, Harlow, but I can't follow this at all," she said, so what was meant to comfort her failed because I had compressed too much[...]



Comment on Sundry Moldy Solecisms #4 Evening Eucalyptus and Other Enchanted Plays by Mahonri Stewart by Harlow Clark

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 16:36:59 +0000

Just say whatever comes into your mind, Theric. That's what I do :) --which makes makes a lot of my writing thoroughly Marxist, in the same way so many sitcoms are thoroughly Marxist, though they descend from Harpo and I from Groucho. (Sitcoms may think they descend from I Love Lucy, but Lucille Ball knew better and acknowledged it in that wonderful mirror routine with Harpo.) My writing has a lot of the spirit of Groucho and his brothers, their playfulness and chaotic joy, but also their self-indulgence--which can make it difficult to think of myself as a serious, disciplined writer. I'm impressed by the breadth of Mahonri's work, history, scripture, fantasy, contemporary drama, social issues, children's theater and more.



Comment on Sundry Moldy Solecisms #4 Evening Eucalyptus and Other Enchanted Plays by Mahonri Stewart by Mahonri Stewart

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 07:04:34 +0000

P.S.- I can see why Opposing Wheel could be off putting if you weren't a regular reader of Arthurian tales like Morte de Arthur and Tennyson's poetry...plus it has a quirky Doctor Who vibe infused in it that may throw it off-kilter. But then again, I've also had some people point to it as one of their favorites of my plays. As for me, I haven't a fully formed opinion on the piece yet, as it is yet unfinished. Rings of the Tree and Opposing Wheel both have characters that will feed into another play (tentatively called The Fiery Sky) that will complete my trilogy about Immortality. I will have to reserve judgment on my own feelings on it until I feel like the story is done. Whether OW is any good or, you really should give the Lady of Shallott and her ilk a chance. I'm definitely a fan of the Pre-Raphaelite sensibility, so maybe I'm too decidedly Romantic that way.



Comment on Sundry Moldy Solecisms #4 Evening Eucalyptus and Other Enchanted Plays by Mahonri Stewart by Mahonri Stewart

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 06:50:36 +0000

Harlow, your reviews are such a strange delight. Discursive, brilliant, deeply read, playful, enigmatic. It's been so interesting to have my work reflected back at me through your reviews in such transformative ways that make my plays familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. Thank you for the time and thought put into these. I have really enjoyed reading them, probably much more than the stray reader who comes across them and may come off them bewildered, if they haven't read my plays or the other works you refer to, or even if they have. But that is part what I like about your reviews... they are not reviews in the traditional sense, but streams of consciousness essays, full of meaning and chaos both. Though definitely not easy to get blurbs off of (not quite the point of them in your mind, I imagine), it is a uniquely fascinating style that values the reaction to the work as much as the work itself. I love to see your reaction to my play and where they brought your mind. Awesome.