Mortal Refrains cover
Mortal Refrains
The Complete Collected Poetry, Prose, and Songs of Julia A. Moore, The Sweet Singer of Michigan

In the late 1870s, this gifted writer of hilarious, bad verse had a national following. Mark Twain even wrote that he always carried with him a copy of Julia’s first book of poems, The Sentimental Song Book (1876). "I find in them the same grace and melody that attracted me when they were first published twenty years ago, and have held me in happy bonds ever since," he explained. Twain attributed the "deep charm" of Julia’s poems to her innocent habit of making "an intentionally humorous episode pathetic and an intentionally pathetic one funny." Twain immortalized Julia’s style in the writings of Emmeline Grangerford, a character in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
     She also influenced the writing—in fact, the career—of the doggerel poet Ogden Nash, who reportedly said that her example convinced him to try to become "a great bad poet" rather than "a bad good poet." The late Walter Blair, a highly respected professor of American literature at the University of Chicago, put it like this in his introduction to the last published collection of Julia’s poems in 1928:

If these songs [as Julia called her poems] were only a little closer to the conventional modes of meter, rhyme, thought, and expression they would not impress us at all. Touched, however, by the magic wand of genius, the novel works of this great poet cause readers to slump down in their chairs, hold their agitated and aching sides, wipe tears from brimming eyes, and fill the air with the sound of distinctly raucous laughter.

     Mortal Refrains is the first complete, published collection of Julia Moore’s work—poetry, short stories, songs (including sheet music), and newspaper interviews—compiled from the earliest published versions found in various public libraries, rare book collections, museums, and archives.

Subjects: Poetry | Literary Studies
Publication Date: May 31st, 1998
257 pages| 6 in x 9 in
Thomas J. Riedlinger is a writer and lecturer based in Olympia, Washington.

$27.95 USD
ISBN: 9780870134494

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