As a poet, I write my way into what I don’t yet know, seeking to render or articulate thoughts, feelings, and nuances of perception in ways that have never before been rendered or articulated in exactly the way I’m doing. It’s like seeking revelation, and every poem is a reaching, a prayer, a quest for new light and knowledge. For me, writing poetry is an extension of my Mormon self and perspective. At their best, and for me when I’m at my best, Mormonism and poetry are both about seeking new truth and reaching forth to understand and experience the glory of creation, the whole of it. Since the advent of Modernism, this is a conception of poetry that isn’t entirely unexpected. And, while it’s a way of looking at Mormonism that may seem strange to many people both of and outside of the faith, I think it partakes of and is consistent with the spirit of Joseph Smith and the early Mormon church.
Poet and translator Steven J. Stewart is a faculty member in the English Department at Brigham Young University–Idaho. He has a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Florida State University. He was awarded a 2005 Literature Fellowship for Translation by the National Endowment for the Arts and a 2007 Idaho Humanities Council Research Fellowship. His book of translations of Spanish poet Rafael Pérez Estrada, Devoured by the Moon, which was published by Hanging Loose Press in 2004, was a finalist for the 2005 PEN-USA translation award. He has published translations of various significant Spanish and Latin American writers including Carlos Edmundo de Ory, Ángel Crespo, Rafael Ballesteros, and Ana María Shua. His book of the selected microfictions of Shua was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2009.
Posted November 2010