Mortal Refrains: The Complete Collected Poetry, Prose, and Songs of Julia A. Moore, The Sweet Singer of Michigan,Published (June 1998) by Michigan State University Press.
edited and with an introduction by Thomas J. Riedlinger
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: email@example.com 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