Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.

--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Mezzo Cammin

I have some new poems up at that lovely site, Mezzo Cammin, the online journal of formalist poems by women:

Here We Go Round (strange matters around the mulberry bush); "

Self-portrait as Dryad, no. 4 (I frolic as a birch dragon in an applewood cave);

and Self-portrait as Dryad, no. 2 (I am a silvery-gray snarl of branches.)

The door is via, and you can find me by looking under either contributors or poetry.

Credit: Birch tree by Collette Fitz of Phoenix, Arizona. Courtesy of the photographer and

If you missed the latest Long Grass Book, please go chutes-and-ladders down to the next post.



  1. Those are three fine poems, Marly. I especially liked the second self-portrait as dryad (no surprise there, I suppose, given my treeish interests).

  2. "one vertigo of endless fall"


    (& I like the tough and beautiful dryad poems too)

  3. Cant wait to read your poems. How wonderful. Thats awesome that you get your stuff out there. You go girl.

    I love birch trees. I think it would be cool to see a birch forest or woods. I have one on my screen savor.

  4. Yes, as Dave says - three fine poems. Can't decide which I like the best: the first for its playfulness, the second for the moon 'hurled angrily at night', and the third because that 'hollow applewood stump' is now a place I know - part of the topography of my mind - and where I can go an hide any time I want.

  5. dave,

    Yes, I can see you living in a tree, tiny fungal creatures and snails living happily in your enormous beard of Spanish moss.


    Had forgotten that line entirely and went to look. And immediately saw something I wished to change. Poems are never done.

    galiquan hat-girl,

    A path through birch is a marvelous thing. Ditto stumbling onto a little grove by a pool, particularly at the hour of the wolf!


    Let's have tea there, among the glittering, broken crockery. I'll meet you at 2:00 a.m.

  6. oh yes
    zephyr loves Marly's tree poems...
    reading, rereading and carrying around in one's pocket

    (i wish i could figure out the html to italicize words...)

  7. So zephyrs have pockets!


    I have been laboring in my little Eden all morning--now I ferry to piano--and then back to digging. I'm moving giant ferns at the moment... They will be happier under lilacs, as many things are.

    Italics: just use those little diamond-shaped brackets and put an "i" inside to start. At the end of your italics, use the "<" and ">" again--with a "/i" inside. No quote marks, of course!

  8. oh yes
    i'm sure you have seen it:
    bits of leaf sometimes paper
    rising upward, winding round and round
    until left for someone else to find.
    most often
    in the case of paper
    the important inked message
    has been worn away.
    rubbed away in all that zephyring about

  9. in all my excitement i forgot to add
    digging is wonderful poet-art-work
    makes spaces--i find--for things (wanted, needed things) to grow pretty much everywhere

  10. Will investigate as soon as stable Internet comes...with a departure from Italy. Sigh. Yes. I will read you to cheer myself on the lonely eastern coast of another country.

  11. zephyr,

    It's 9:05, and I'm about to eat dinner by torchlight in my little secret garden. It now has an ancient lilac, much bamboo with big heart-shaped leaves (a popular variety from the last century that is still with us) through which I've cut a winding tunnel for N, a wall of rosa rugosa with archway, eighteen giant ferns, and violets at their feet. A good day's work. Meanwhile my black and Siberian iris are almost gone, but the foxgloves are going gangbusters...

    I like your zephyring! And I agree about the gardening and space and growth. Gardening is also good for the lousy back that comes from too much writing.


    What is happening? A young sculptor and Italy go so well together.

    I shall look for news!

  12. I found a quiet moment while everybody was napping today to read your poems and I think they are charming and lovely.

    very nice

  13. AND she finds time for gardening, you can go off people you know...
    Like to hear you teasing Dave about his snaily beard!
    I'm off to read the poems now.

  14. As someone who can get lost in old treestumps, I especially love the last one, the birch dragon.
    It's a pretty site too, isn't it?

  15. Ain't that the truth!! (digging being a tonic for writer's back)

    your secret garden has me conjuring up all sorts of wonderful visions...'tis a magic garden Marly digs and grows. i finally have a cozy alcove amidst our ancient lilacs that i can slip into as needed...with my cup of tea or glass of cold elderflower nectar.

    heart-shaped bamboo you know its name?

    what foxgloves do you have? i have not been mindful to keep adding more of the purpureas, but the "wild" yellow ones keep coming back on their own (gratefully) and the teeny luteas absolutely love it here.
    oh yes...the lovely pale pink, so-called Spanish foxglove is perennial, too. But i miss the tall, elegant apricoty pink ones i grew from seed years back.

  16. galiquan Susanna,

    Thank you, and I'm glad you found that peaceful time in the maelstrom of your days!


    I'm nothing if not obsessive, though I wish the days were longer. I just have a desire for a heavenly wilderness in my back yard, but my husband has a beloved chocolate lab who is against the idea.

    Ah yes, I dimly remember being impertinent about a fungal, snaily beard. It's easy to imagine a Bonta Green Man, isn't it?

    Thanks. Glad you liked them. And I can imagine you getting lost in a tree stump, growing small and having a canyon adventure and recording it all in tiny pictures.


    No, I don't know the name. They are very limber--invasive but easily chopped down and tossed away--they are rather flimsy by autumn. I see them by old farms in the country, so they must've been very popular. They have foamy white flowers in the spring. I'm going to put little lanterns along the winding path we cut for N, and I think it will be quite charming.

    My mother is a genuine gardener and raiser of native plants, but I am a mere enthusiast who dreams of Eden. Double-digging and ph sampling are not my style. If it dies, so be it.

    But I need to fix up my rotten old greenhouse, invaded by wild animals last year. I grew oodles of foxgloves from seed seven years ago, but they have all vanished. I also have the yellow, dug from a friend's wildish garden in the country, as well as something I bought unnamed but recognize as one I've grown from seed--can't think of the name right now but it comes in creams and pink and a pale magenta. Oh, I think it's Digitalis Purpurea 'Excelsior.' I also like the 'Apricot' and 'Apricot Blush.'

  17. I love the poems. I actually like the second one best, but to each his own. I love the site as well, very pretty, it seems to mirror you and your personality.

    Thanks for stopping by my site. I'll post again after I wake up from surgery tomorrow.

  18. Best wishes for sharp scalpels and quick recovery! Good cheer--

    (Donna was a summer seminar student of mine, and she is an elementary school art teacher--having switched from teaching English. Once in a blue moon I teach a summer class. But no more than that.)

  19. Oh yes! lanterns in the tunnel will truly add to the magic garden.

    i think you...we...have spurred me to order foxglove seed. 'Sutton's apricot' is one of my favorites...and they do come back a couple of years before giving up the ghost.

  20. I laid down a winding pebble path yesterday, sprinkled it with glass moons and moon-drops, made stone thresholds, and then added the lanterns. And we've all corkscrewed through the jungle more than once, and lit the Chinese lanterns.

    The bamboo slashed for the path became greenswords and saw good battle--the best kind, with much laughter.

    zephyr, what's your favorite place for seeds? I like "Pine Tree Nursery" (great value) and "Thompson & Morgan." My mother gives me lots of seeds from her wildflowers, too.

  21. We just put down some very nice pebbles harvested from the dredging of the Delaware River...and i'm mulling over plans for a pebble mosaic in the garden...and am going out looking for lanterns today.

    Seeds: yes, Pine Tree is truly a bargain and an interesting list...and T&M is someplace i also look for uncommon things. A few years ago i came across a wonderful catalog for heirloom flowers: Select Seeds. i've spoken with the owner a few times and Marilyn really knows her stuff...she is the actual gardener/grower and her gardens are in Connecticut so it feels like her advice fits where you and i garden. Also, the plants i've ordered from her have been wonderful specimens. i love reading her catalog...and when i let her advice sink in (sow poppies so they get plenty of exposure to cold, for example) i've had good success.

    i also love Renee's Garden. She is Renee Shepherd of the original Shepherd's seed catalog. i confess i buy loads of her seed because of the gorgeous seed packets which i collect. Her catalog is online only now at i have also spoken with her...and her advice on which sweet peas to grow in my NJ garden was spot-on. Renee's list is heavy on the veggies...she is to kitchen gardeners what Alice Waters has been to home cooks...Renee is the one who started bringing European and Asian farmer's market varieties to us...truly changed American kitchen gardens for the better.

    i should post about this in my garden, i suppose

  22. I've seen the Select Seeds in my mother's (the real gardener's) heap of catalogues. I have used Shepherd's but didn't know about Renee's Garden, and will go look.

    Yes, do write about these useful things!

    I need poppies. They do really well here. My front is zone 4, but I think the back (thanks to un-zephyrous winds off the lake) is more dicey, maybe 3.

  23. How silly!

    I realize that I have Renee's Garden seed packets in my garden sink. My mother sent me some, and I recognized the Love-lies-bleeding painting immediately...

  24. OOOffffff Zone 3...!
    makes my teeth chatter just to think about it.
    i just consulted a map and did not realize Cooperstown was so far north

    Mercy... now i appreaciate your Southern Soul yearnings even more.

  25. We're officially 4, though my neighbors--splendid gardeners--suggested treating the back as zone 3. And they're had a semi-formal garden with cottage leanings for decades here, so I have taken their advice.

    We're having a highly unusual summer, very pleasant. Enough said. No jinxing it!

  26. WHAT an imagination you have, Marly.
    When did it start?
    Did you always make up stuff?
    You really take folk to amazing wonderful places..

  27. Oh, that is a very cheering burst of compliment!

    Thank you, Jan--

    When I was little, I remember lying on my bed, daydreaming intensely. And I was always verbal--talked in little paragraphs before I turned one. That was a year of trials in our family, so maybe I was trying to get somebody's attention! And I was a great reader as a child. A bathtub reader. An under-the-covers reader. An under-the-desk-at-school reader.

    But now I'm one in the great unwashed midlist, and I suppose I'll just keep making poems and stories without worrying too much about whether I have somebody's attention. That way lies madness, I note, and I am too busy for madness. But being "a midlist writer" is rather like being a silver needle in a stack of yellow straw...

    I'll have to wander your way and see what you have been up to--just as soon as we're done with Regents exams. Three more days.

  28. this snippet of your story mixes emotions...

    "too busy for madness"
    oh my
    ah yes
    just live and do the work

  29. "an archive is a dangerous place to be for a girl who can wear so many hats."

    I have gone completely over the top hat. check out my hat slide show.

    you must allow the pot boy out to go to the show.

  30. "just live and do the work"

    Very pithy, zephyr!

    The Pot Boy is uncontrollable. I'm sure he will show up, Susanna...

  31. Just remarked over at Zephyr's Long grass page, what happened to Mack the Sinister Footman?

  32. Oh, he'll be back. (Did you see somebody who needed to be kicked out?)

    So will the book-reviewing attorney, now recovering from his last volume.

    There are lots of useful people about, although I can't get them to clean my house...

  33. Sinister Mack...oh...i've not run into him yet, thank goodness.

    looking back, it seems i was on the brink of madness far too often, worrying about others opinions and influence. Oh such drama i created for myself and others! (shuddering, she goes back to re-read your poems, take a breath, then slip out to the garden before the phone rings)

  34. zephyr,

    I, too, have picked "garden" after "drama" and saved the "drama" for books. Gardens I like in books, too.

    You will never be escorted out by Mack! I doubt than he can even see a zephyr.


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.