Now Published

Mortal Refrains: The Complete Collected Poetry, Prose, and Songs of Julia A. Moore, The Sweet Singer of Michigan,
edited and with an introduction by Thomas J. Riedlinger

Published (June 1998) by Michigan State University Press.

This impressive volume has authoritative texts from the first editions, together with much new material and commentary. Highly recommended!



Subject: Publication update and some special news
Date: Wed, 05 Nov 1997 00:49:09 -0500 (EST)
From: TJRiedling@aol.com
To: seamus.cooney@wmich.edu
CC: TJRiedling@aol.com

Dear Seamus:

I just learned that your governor is going to proclaim the first week in
December "Julia A. Moore Week" in Michigan, to honor the Sweet Singer's
sesquicentennial birthday on December 1, 1997.  This seems to me worth
announcing on your website.  Until now, Julia has been pretty much a prophet
without honor in her own land, except for isolated stalwarts like yourself
and Tom Powers at the Flint Public Library (sponsor of the annual Julia A.
Moore Poetry Contest).  The proclamation will be issued on November 25, 1997.

Here is an update on my forthcoming book MORTAL REFRAINS: THE COMPLETE
COLLECTED POETRY, PROSE AND SONGS OF JULIA A. MOORE, THE SWEET SINGER OF
MICHIGAN (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1998).  It is now in
production and scheduled for release in February or March.  Included are 73
poems--14 more than appeared in Blair's 1928 THE SWEET SINGER OF
MICHIGAN--plus lyrics to three songs (with sheet music to two of the songs)
and the text of Julia's two short stories, which are long enough to qualify
as novellas.  It also includes the full text of two newspaper interviews with
Julia that were published during her lifetime and parodies of her genre
(obituary poetry) by two contemporary humorists, Max Adeler and Mark Twain.


I would like to acknowledge with deep appreciation the continuing importance
of your website devoted to Julia.  I began the long quest to compile my book
in the early 1980s, after spending two years unsuccessfully trying to locate
a published collection of Julia's poems.  After phone calls to quite a few
book dealers in various parts of the country and a formal book search proved
fruitless, I happened to stumble across a copy of Walter Blair's book in a
bookstore in Kalamazoo.  Soon after that I arranged to meet Walter himself in
Chicago, and he endorsed my nascent plan to compile a new, complete
collection of Julia's works.  He said that he had never seen either of
Julia's short stories, and over the years he had come across two or three
poems by her not included in his book which he considered among her best
(worst?) work.  One that he mentioned by name is "Brigham Young's Wives."  It
begins:

     'Tis said that Brigham Young is dead,
       The man with nineteen wives;
     The greatest Mormon of the West
       Is dead, no more to rise;
     He left behind his nineteen wives
       Forsaken and forlorn;
     The papers state his death was caused
       By eating too much green corn.

                    *     *     *

     Oh! death, it came, he had to go,
       And leave his weeping wives
     To mourn the loss of one dear friend,
       The partner of their lives.
     They stood around his dying bed,
       To see his life depart,
     But few of them, I do believe,
       Wept with a broken heart.

     Some, perhaps, did weep for grief,
       And some, perhaps, in woe;
     And some, perhaps, were glad to see
       The old Mormonite go.
     It left them free once more to roam,
       A husband to choose once more;
     But some of them will never choose
       To live the same life o'er.

Another difference between my book and Blair's is that he used a later
edition of Julia's published poems as his source, whereas I sought out the
earliest editions in various libraries, rare book archives, museums, etc.
 This doesn't make MORTAL REFRAINS more correct.  In a sense, Blair's edition
(and therefore the poems you've posted on your website) redacted her poetry,
establishing a standard version likely to endure as such.  However, as noted
by Julia's bibliographer, Albert Greenly, the "poems which she considered
good enough to republish in later editions, she constantly revised,
attempting to improve them, but the unfortunate result was usually the
reverse."  That is why I thought it worthwhile to lead readers back to the
primordial mists of Julia's creative process.

Once ordering information is avalaible I'll pass it along to you.  Until
then, visitors to your website might want to have their names put on the
mailing list for MSU Press's spring catalog.  For this they should contact:
http://web.msu.edu/unit/msupress 
or call (517) 355-9543.

With best wishes,
Tom Riedlinger