Category Archives: Elsewhere

“Woman of Another World, I Am with You”:
Reading the Divine Feminine in Mormonism

5.5.15 | | 2 comments

(Cross-posted here.)

It’s May, which means it’s time to celebrate (among other things) loyalty, Star Wars, nurses, Sally Ride, the end of the Middle Ages, and, of course, Mom.

“A Mother’s Love” by Lynde Mott
First Place, A Mother Here Art and Poetry Contest

To that latter end, I’ve put myself to the task of reading and commenting on the poems featured in 2014’s A Mother Here Contest. You can read more about the contest via that link, but here’s how I see my project working: as an attempt (alongside and in conversation with the contest artworks) to “express the nearness of our Heavenly Mother” and to witness her presence in the cosmos (as coeval with Father) and in the intimate details of our lives.

As I mention, the project (which I’m hosting on FireinthePasture.org) will be two-fold:

1. I’ll post a recording of me reading one of the featured contest poems.

2. Alongside that reading, I’ll post a short audio comment (likely no more than four minutes long) in which I respond to the poem and explore what it says about the Mormon Divine Feminine.

My hope in taking this on is to expand the rich discourse that’s emerging re: Mother in Heaven and, in the process, to explore my own relationship with her. I’ve posted elsewhere about my experience talking about the Eternal Mother in a short sacrament meeting sermon. What I didn’t mention was how nervous I was when I stood to speak. I knew there was no silence officially mandated on the topic, but the cultural silence hung heavy in my ears and on my mind. As a result, just before I began speaking about her, my heart rapped hard on my sternum. When I introduced the idea that Mother stands beside Father as they carry out the work of eternity, though, I felt her presence and peace in a way I’ve never felt them before.

I’ve sensed that again as I’ve spent time the past week or so with the contest poems.

So: here goes—my first reading/commentary combo. A caveat, though: since May has 31 days and the contest only features 30 poems, what to do with the extra day? Rather than cut the month short, I found another poem to highlight: Emma Lou Thayne’s “Woman of Another World, I Am with You.” I think it provides a fruitful beginning to this month-long engagement with the “A Mother Here” poems.


Emma Lou Thayne’s “Woman of Another World, I Am with You”

Post 1/31 in my A Mother Here reading series. (I’m four days into the project now. Check out all posts in the series via the link embedded in the previous sentence.)

(Click/tap here to read the poem.)

Poem:


(Direct link to audio file.)

Commentary:


(Direct link to audio file.)


Let the 2nd Annual #MormonPoetrySlam Voting Begin!

12.29.14 | | no comments

Now that the busyness of Christmas has passed and the final performance in the 2nd Annual #MormonPoetrySlam has posted (see the event archive here), it’s time to determine the winner of the Audience Choice Award. For your consideration and reviewing pleasure, here are the eighteen entries, listed in order of appearance (you may need to hit “Read next page” at the bottom of the Storify to review all of eighteen).

To get straight to voting, click here. more

Love of Nature Nature of Love Month on Wilderness Interface Zone

2.3.14 | | one comment

WIZ Valentine6During February, Wilderness Interface Zone is launching its traditional month-long celebration of love and the natural world, Love of Nature Nature of Love Month.

To that end, we’re issuing an open call for nature-themed, love-laced writing and visual arts: original poetry, essays, blocks of fiction, art, music (mp3s), videos or other media that address the subject of love while referencing nature, even if lightly. By the same token, we’re interested in nature writing raveled up with themes of love.

If you’ve written artsy Valentine wishes to someone beloved—or perhaps created a video Valentine or made a live reading of a sonnet or lyric poem that’s original to you—or if you’ve written a short essay avowing your love for people, critters, or spaces that make you feel alive, please consider sending it to WIZ. Click here for submissions guidelines.

We hope you’ll join our month-long celebration combining two of the most potent natural forces on the face of the planet: love and language.

 

Utah’s Favorite Scrooge: Richard Wilkins Passes Into God’s Glory

11.28.12 | | 2 comments

Photo by Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700209340/Despite-living-in-Qatar-Richard-Wilkins-committed-to-role-as-Scrooge.html?pg=all

Richard Wilkins, who played Scrooge for 29 years at the Hale Centre Theatre in Utah, and a dedicated member of not only the theatre community in the state, but also a valiant member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has passed away. The details are reported in the Salt Lake Tribune: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/entertainment2/55356433-223/wilkins-family-law-legal.html.csp?page=2

I was friends with Richard Wilkins, as well as most of the members of his family. His daughter Claire and I were especially good friends (we went to Senior Dinner Dance together and she was a great, supportive friend to me). I met his family because Richard and his wife Melany cast me in a play at the Hale Center Theater when I was in Jr. High and I can look back at that moment as a great source continual blessings since then.

I will write a more personal tribute later, but I just wanted to take a moment now to recognize this tremendous figure in the Utah Theatre Community. Richard was a beautiful human being who I loved. My heart and prayers go with his family, who I also love.

Inappropriate book club questions

5.17.12 | | 10 comments

Jonathan Langford emailed me the link to recently. It reads: “If you were a cannibal and were eating the protagonist from your novel, which side dishes would be appropriate? Explain.”

He suggested that it might be fun to a Mormon literary version. Here are mine — feel free to add your own via the comment box:

“The parents of the protagonist in Margaret Young’s Salvador drive her in a white van with a big red stripe and navy blue hubcaps to El Salvador. The mother calls it the Yankee Doodle Dan Van. Is that an appropriate use of our nation’s flag?”

“Explain why even though Kit in Coke Newell’s On the Road to Heaven joins the Church and serves a mission, his past as a mountain hippy makes him unfit to marry your niece and/or granddaughter.”

“Why does Doug Thayer hate rich people?”

“Is Josi S. Kilpack’s culinary mystery series against the Word of Wisdom? Shouldn’t it be more like Carob Brownie or Banana?”

“What do you think the ‘B’ stands for in Linda Hoffman Kimball’s The Marketing of Sister B?”

Mormons and the story of the West

4.24.12 | | 9 comments

“The strange thing is that aside from these displays the rest of the museum could almost be an account of the settling of the American West.” — Edward Rothstein in the NY Times.

Why, yes. That is very, very strange.

(Although to be fair to Rothstein, his contextualization of the museum in relation to identity is fairly solid. And he use the term “hyphenated American”.)

WIZ’s 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff Competition and Celebration is underway

3.28.12 | | no comments

RodneyLoughWaterfalls

Wilderness Interface Zone’s 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff Competition and Celebration opened its post pages for spring-themed poetry on March 26.  Please come join the fun, either by submitting your best vernal verse in competition or non-competition categories or by reading and voting for your favorite poems.  Prizes will be awarded for the Most Popular Poem and for an Admin Award.  WIZ will also have other activities for fun and enjoyment, including its customary haiku chain and a WIZ Retro Review giveaway to interested participants of an old-timey movie, Come Next Spring–an intelligent flick about second chances.

If you’d like to add your poetry to the flow, please go here and read the rules.