Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, ed., Books and Culture. / New at patreon.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fried squirrel: new online poems

UPDATE 2/8/08: I am the premier Q-looney for today at qarrtsiluni with a poem called "Self-portrait as Dryad, no. 5." Thank you to the editors! UPDATE 2/2/08: "Stones in the Wilderness" and "Snow White in Wildwood" forthcoming in the next issue of Mezzo Cammin, an online site for women poets interested in form. I've published there before and like it. With all this luck going around, I'd better send out some more poems. I've been working on my current poetry manuscript and thinking that I ought to be energetic and send out more little white envelopes--somehow I've managed to place eighteen poems in the past ten days, even though I am lazy about such things. Here are a few new online poems: "The Fall," "The Starflower," and "Spell for Raine" (a poem written in memory of Kathleen Raine) are in the just-out "Loss and Restoration" issue of Mythic Passages at the Mythic Imagination site. In addition, there's a poem I wrote in memory of my elderly friend Fae Malania (writer of spiritual essays) in the January/February print issue of Books & Culture. It has now popped up on line as well. The editor, John Wilson, helped us along the path to getting a reprint of Fae's long out-of-print Knopf book, The Quantity of a Hazelnut (Seabury, 2005), so this is perfect placement of a poem. Upcoming: A poem in my Self-portrait as Dryad series will turn up on qarrtsiluni some day soon. It feels luxurious to be giving them a poem rather than editing an issue. Illustration: the hardcover jacket / paperback cover to my first book of poems, Claire (Louisiana State University, 2003.) Unfortunately I will not be publishing my second book of poems with LSU because Claire has not sold a sufficient number of copies.

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Family Frolic

N is discussing Obama. Being devoted to the unconventional, he declares that he will have to be for McCain because everybody in his elementary school is for Obama.

Mike: McCain was a war hero.

N, age 10: Didn't he fry a squirrel in a microwave and eat it?

B, age 18, from under his headphones: I ate what?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hiatus, hibernation

I am taking a wee break from blogging in order to help with college applications, do taxes, clean the hovel, and perform other jolly duties. I'll see you when it's warmer... If you miss the snows of Cooperstown, you can always read native daughter Lauren Groff's The Monsters of Templeton when it comes out. Oddly enough, I've been writing and publishing Templeton stories for years, so I suppose we had the same Fenimore-Cooperish idea. She seems to be getting a nice solid push from the publisher. Last, a Marly album: here.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Marly, the dervish of NYC

Photography credit: by Ellen Datlow, editor extraordinaire. As I have always been a great maker of weird faces (and even somehow managed to be in a picture at KGB where I appear to have a bust of double-dirigible proportions--how?--bizarre posture? is that my next insult to photographers?), I present a nigh-insuperable challenge to the candid photographer, and I congratulate Ellen for catching me without one of my especially peculiar faces now and then. Most people can't manage it! She has many more on her site, but here are a couple of me (one with Paul Guran of Prime Books) and one of Dan Braum, my co-reader, and his fellow Clarion South grad, Ben Francisco.

My mighty whirl through New York is finished. I took the 8:30 puddle-hopper bus to the city, immediately fell into an on-going interview with Jim Freund of "Hour of the Wolf" at WBAI and John Klima (editor of the anthology Logorrhea and zine Electric Velocipede, recorded "The Girl in the Fabrilon" with Jim, did an interview with Jim, taped a few poems for other shows, did a reading of "Prolegomenon to the Adventures of Childe Phoenix" at KGB Bar (hosted by Gavin Grant and Ellen Datlow and also captured by Jim, though I felt that my reading was a bit ragged-and-rugged by then), went to dinner at a Chinese place with part of the KGB mob, ran around with Dan and Ben, slept for a few hours at the blessedly quiet HoJo Express on East Houston, went to breakfast with writer Maggie Paley at the Noho Star (we met at Yaddo last year--she's the author of Bad Manners and, yes, The Book of the Penis), met up with my friends Jack and Anne for a Turkish elevensies (like hobbits, I was doing an extra meal), bought presents at Pearl River, caught the subway to the Port Authority, hopped on a bus, got delayed by an unfortunate tractor-trailer accident, and finally arrived back in the peaceful little village of Cooperstown (where it is always snowing and so was) around midnight.

Did that sentence seem rushed? Now you know what my trip was like.

But I think it was fruitful; the prose and interviews will be on three shows, and the poems will be tossed in elsewhere on other shows. The next step is that Jim Freund will call and wake me up at 3:00 a.m. when he runs a story so that I can answer questions. I think this will be comical because I am not at my best at 3:00 a.m. We all know that 2:00 a.m. is my proper hour...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Post-Epiphany Resolutions


Marly’s 2008 resolutions (the bookish ones)

1.
Continue writing about Long Grass Books on the blog.

2.
Cease to pay attention to things that fritter and are devoid of meaning. Live the larger and more radiant life of art; give up what shrinks and darkens the spirit.

3.
Clean up the dratted post-earthquake writing room.

4.
Preserve your humility in the face of art.

Zephyr has floated by and asked that I amplify number 4. What does that mean to me, humility in the face of art?

Here goes, at the risk of sounding like an utter ninny...

It means this: despite our civilization’s current turn away from words and away from beauty, the vocation of artist still exists; that it is a vocation of rightness, a calling that matters; that a vocation is not a thing to rest easy in; that making the beautiful is tied to labor and readiness and willingness to explore beyond what has become comfortable. Most of all, humility before art means acknowledging the great mysteries of life and death and striving with no thought of self—in fact, with loss of self in the striving—to make a thing that radiates life and beauty.

Of course, thousands of artists of all sorts have devoted their lives to this work and have passed away as though they had never been. Yet the striving itself was an assault on death and meaninglessness that affirmed that life can have meaning and that people can live brighter, bigger lives.


5.
Bother to send out some poems—don’t sit around waiting for requests.

6.
Post more pieces about younger or beginning writers.

7.
Apply some ingenuity: think about filling all fiction requests, even if they’re “wrong” for you; that is, bend the request into a bow that fits the arrows in your sheaf.

8.
Don’t waste so much time. Listen. That’s time’s winged chariot you hear…

9.
Don’t expect other people to do anything for you, but be sure and thank them if they do.

10.
Grow more chitininous armor, yet grow more tender within.

11.
Don’t wait for someone, something...

12.
And don't fret.



***

Fantasy Magazine has been conducting a poll for best stories of the year, but unfortunately "The Comb" was left off. It's now up, third from the bottom; if you're a reader, feel free to go read and vote. "Seven Crooked Tinies" is also on the list. New Year's Day marked the anthology reprint of "The Comb" in Rich Horton's Fantasy: Best of the Year (Prime Books, 2008).

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Photograph credit, "Winter 1": I'd be tempted to call this one after the poem, "The Road Not Taken," and say that this is Frost's "yellow wood" when winter comes, as it always must. This trace through a winter forest is courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu/ and Peter Hellebrand of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. "I shall be telling this with a sigh / Somewhere ages and ages hence / Two roads diverged in a wood / And I took the one less traveled by / And that has made all the difference"

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The New Year's Feast at the Palace at 2:00 a.m.


New Year’s Eve, 2007


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Persimmon slivers wrapped in proscuitto
&
Tapenade with french bread
Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne

*
Fennel & potato soup
garnished with smoked salmon & fennel feathers
Pouilly-Fuissé Louis Jadon 2003

*
Shrimp toast with red pepper rouille
Monterey Valley chardonnay 2003

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Butter lettuce with roquefort, candied walnuts, & blackberries
Glimmerglass water 2007!

*
Beef daube (Montana mule deer)
& spatzel & green beans cooked with bouquet garni
Château Lafon-Rochet Saint-Estèphe 1993

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Apple & goat cheese tartlets
Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne

*
Fireworks on snow


Hope I got that right...
*
As we had six sleepy children on premises, we ended up skipping the final drinks and tea after the fireworks, but it was a grand six hours of eating and drinking in the new year. May you have a good 2008 with a sufficient scattering of joys and the pleasantest of surprises!
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For a few more menus (wish I'd kept track of these for the past decade), click on the "New Year's Eve" label.
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Michael’s Sour Blackberry & Sweet Walnut Salad


½ sour cream
1½ cup walnuts
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
Mix sour cream and sugars together in heavy-bottomed pan and boil at 240 degrees (soft-ball stage). Mix nuts in and stir around until coated. Take out and spread on wax paper and separate with two forks. Sprinkle with cayenne.

Wash and separate a head of butter lettuce. Divide lettuce among six salad plates. Top with: four sour blackberries; about an ounce of roquefort; a half dozen candied walnuts.

Dressing: cup of olive oil to ¼ cup lemon juice, one clove of garlic, salt and pepper.

* * *
Upcoming Event: Dan Braum and I'll be reading at KGB Bar in NYC on January 16 at 7:00. p.m. I may read narrative poems and a small story. Hop here to find out who we are and more!
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Photo credit: The photograph of fireworks is courtesy of www.sxc.hu/ and Peter Hall of Valencia, Spain.