Poetry and the Private Lives

Newspaper Verse on the Mormon Frontier



The Exponent published for forty-two years, from 1872 until 1914 when it was replaced by the Relief Society Magazine, official publication of the women’s organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Amidst a variety of feature and news articles—some local, some lifted, some polemic, and many feminist—there was from the outset poetry. In the tradition of the newspaper in the eastern United States—from which area most of the leading lights among Mormon women came—it contained always a poetry corner, not labeled such, but invariably positioned in the upper left-hand corner of the front page. Why was there always such a prominent place for verse?

In speaking poetically of the ideal, the higher good, the heavenly vision, the women were reminding themselves of the better life they were promised as children of the covenant. Let prose speak the sordid truths; poetry would sing, albeit by the waters of Babylon, the songs of Zion.


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Print ISSN: 2837-0031
Online ISSN: 2837-004X