Leviathan with a Hook
The Association for Mormon Letters presents its Award in Poetry for 2002 to
Kimberly Johnson for Leviathan With a Hook.
Though in her poems "The Land Desolation" and "The Land Bountiful"
Johnson gives exquisite renderings of desert landscapes well known in
Mormon tradition, it is within a broader spiritual geography that her
voice resonates, one that sometimes borders the formalities of Latin
prayers (paternoster and te deum), and sometimes makes allusive forays
to the Christian epic voice of Milton. Johnson's paradise is not lost
upon her, but finds itself (and those who read her) waking in the gyre
and thrum of rhythmic, concrete diction. She is unafraid to name her
world in terms both fresh and old, updating without loss the
metaphysical devotions of another age when language could still awe us
with its Christian mystery. This is a Mormon voice attuned to latent
powers in the worth of words, and we are grateful for the stirring.