The Poet Joseph Smith

The Poet Joseph Smith (recording: poor quality) Brigham Young said “Joseph Smith was a poet, and poets are not like other men. . . . They catch the swift thought of God and reveal it to us.” This proposal presents two close examinations of Joseph Smith as poet: the psalm of anguish recoverable in his letter from Liberty Jail (published as part of D&C 121 and 122); and the oral rhythms and lyric nature of Smith’s 27 November 1832 letter to William W. Phelps. Since Smith dictated both letters, the rhythms recoverable are the rhythms of his speech and represent a voice as distinctly American as Walt Whitman’s.

Colin Douglas and Dennis Clark