Mr. Mustard Plaster and Other Mormon Essays


By Mary Lythgoe Bradford

“An incredible opportunity for a new generation of Mormon readers to get to know one of our faith’s wise women elders. Don’t miss it.” — Joanna Brooks

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Book Description:

Where do Mormon letters come from? How from within what has been perceived as a rigid, highly practical culture do we continually produce those faithful enough to wrestle the angels for Truth in its fully sticky and tumultuous relationship to mortality? To claim from our tradition both those practical truths which guide our daily choices, as well as those metaphorical truths—perhaps more shallow, perhaps more deep—which breath into our Mormon practices the very spirit of Life?

Poet, editor, biographer, and author Mary Lythgoe Bradford has had one of the longest and most consistent careers of anyone working in contemporary Mormon letters. This new collection, Mr. Mustard Plaster and Other Mormon Essays, conveniently provides under one cover a picaresque memoir of her impressive cultural contributions—from her graduate days, during the late century, at the University of Utah where she received her Master’s degree in English literature; through her becoming the first “Sister” to have edited Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought; well, now, to her later-life career as poet and author of the collection Purple: Poems by Mary Lythgoe Bradford, published during the present century. Many more writers and readers with a love of Mormon subjects will know her from her lively personal interactions, or her regular participation in symposia, conferences and workshops—all drawing upon and her inexhaustible energy, interest, and tolerance for mentoring younger writers.

Praise for Mr. Mustard Plaster and Other Mormon Essays:

“Mary Bradford is the original literary ‘Mormon Girl.’ Long before anyone even imagined the bloggernacle, she believed that writing about everyday Mormon life—especially women’s lives—could be beautiful and powerful. In her own essays, she brings unparalleled power of perception, generous humanity, and quiet humor to bear on even challenging Mormon subjects. This book is an incredible opportunity for a new generation of Mormon readers to get to know one of our faith’s wise women elders. Don’t miss it.” — Joanna Brooks, author of The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith
“I love Mary Bradford’s essays. They are a delicious combination of personal reflections and family history! Everything I read of hers makes me hungry for more.” — Lavina Fielding Anderson, editor of Lucy's Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith's Family Memoir
“Mary Bradford believes that the distinctive nature of the personal essay originates from what she calls the three “I’s” (“I’s,” eyes, ayes)—the authors’ first-person perspective, their clear and rich vision, and their honest and affirming testimonies of life. Mary’s own essays are true to form: her essays are vibrant portraits of a kind and loving soul, a rich and unique perspective, and a life well-lived and deeply loved.” — Boyd Jay Petersen, author of Dead Wood and Rushing Water: Essays on Mormon Faith, Culture, and Family
“For nearly half a century Mary Bradford has perfected the personal essay, that most under-appreciated of literary genres. In revelation after revelation, she has used her life as a prism through which she has looked inward and outward, illuminating the world from the perspective Thoreau referred to ironically as ‘the narrowness of my experience.’ From such ‘narrowness’ Bradford has expanded our vision through the unique perspective of her poetic, feminine, and Mormon voice—a voice of grace, beauty, and deep meaning.” — Robert A. Rees, author of The Cost of Discipleship: The Dimensions of a Mature Mormon Faith
“Mary Lythgoe Bradford offers her autobiography in personal essayrevealing a lifetime that bridged generations and pioneered the power of essay in Mormon literature. Since the first issue of Dialogue in 1966, Mary's wisdom and presence as an editor, writer, poet and biographer have linked us together, reaching back to women like Virginia Sorensen and moving us forward into feminism. Today at 84, Mary is still helping ‘Mormon women speak.’” — Maxine Hanks, editor of Women and Authority: Re-emerging Mormon Feminism
Mr. Mustard Plaster and Other Mormon Essays reminds me of what draws me to the personal essay as a form, how rich it is with possibilities and connections. Besides bringing a lot of joyful reading, I hope this book will inspire you to write your own essay chains so the people who come after you will know and love and celebrate your humanity, even if you didn’t have to walk from Nauvoo to Salt Lake through five-foot snow drifts uphill both ways.” — Harlow Clark, Association for Mormon Letters
“She writes with [T. S.] Eliot’s 'historical sense' of the Mormon tradition, and the result is a profoundly authentic portrait of a Mormon life. . . . Mormon culture needs Bradford-like writers now more than ever.” — Joey Franklin, Dialogue Journal

About the Author:

Mary Lythgoe Bradford is past editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought and author of Lowell Bennion: Counselor, Humanitarian. A prominent LDS poet as well as essayist, Bradford's poetry was recently collected in Purple: Poems by Mary Lythgoe Bradford. She lives in Leesburg, Virginia.

More Information:

207 Pages
Paperback ISBN 978-1-58958-742-7

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