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

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Readings for the 12 Days of Christmas: Graham Ward

Merry Christmas, one and all--light and birth to you in winter.

As it is no doubt a day of much-to-do for most people, I am simply giving two links to the world of marvelous Graham Ward. The image is his electronic Christmas card, which I have pilfered from my email to pay him homage.

I met Graham through painter Clive Hicks-Jenkins, and we're planning a collaboration in the new year. His paintings have great sensitivity and charm, as does he!

One of his images jogged my memory back in the latter half of October--I went back to the Red King, about whom I had written a story published in Postscripts (UK) and began writing poems about him and the figure of the Fool, who has a place in Graham's work. Every now and then I get--receive? am given?--a sluice of new poems, but never have I gotten one like this. As of 2:00 a.m. this morning, I have written 66 new poems about these and other figures, all set in a world of their own. Who knows how many I will keep, but it is a delicious run of new work. It was Graham who made my mind turn to these figures, and so I am grateful for that impetus!

You may look at Graham's paintings and other work here. And you may read his words here. His self-description: Graham Ward was born in Bradford, West Yorks, and grew up in Sussex. He studied Fine Art in Manchester and Stoke, and is a painter and illustrator. He has been an archivist, bookseller and librarian for the past thirty years, and his specialist field of interest is British art of the 20th century, He has twice walked the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain, and plans to undertake the Portugese route from Porto. He is currently operating a small cafe in Broadstairs after an abortive stint as archivist for the Dreamland Project in Margate.

He does not mention that he is working on a book about the walk to Santiago de Compostela, but you can find out about that and more via his blog.

Merry Christmas, one, and Merry Christmas, all! Light and birth to you in darkest winter.

5 comments:

  1. I am struck dumb by your incredible outpouring, all on a day when I am sure you were called on to fetch and carry, mother and cuddle, wash and dice, if not cook because of your gifted chef of a husband.
    I look forward to reading them! And now you've written book number 8, perhaps, for 2010.

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  2. Robbi--

    I cheated--wrote this on the 23rd because I knew that I wouldn't have time and so had it set to automatically go up at 2:oo a.m.... but for some reason it didn't this time. Up about sixteen hours later than intended, but up.

    So the 2:00 a.m. mentioned was really 2:00 a.m. of Christmas Eve Day.

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  3. MARLY! HOPE YOU HAD A SUPER CHRISTMAS AND HERE@S WISHING YOU A HAPPPPPY NEW YEAR!

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  4. Jan,

    I thought you went POOF! Glad you're still around. Happy 2nd day of Christmas!

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  5. I put Graham's card on my facebook page and there is a lot of batting around back and forth underneath it. I'm good at silly chatter! But I'm going to pick out some things that actually address the picture and paste them here so he can see them, since he's not on facebook.I'll erase the last names.
    *
    o Actually, I love this-- Mary
    Thursday at 8:55pm ·
    o
    Marly Youmans I shall tell Graham you said so! He is wonderful. (You are too.)
    Thursday at 10:05pm ·
    o

    o
    Pam I love this, Especially the town, especially the sprig and star in hand, especially the child's eyes.
    Yesterday at 6:57am · .
    o
    Marly Youmans Mmm, me too!
    22 hours ago ·

    o

    20 hours ago
    o
    Beth Hi Marly, Merry Christmas, happy Boxing Day! I love Graham's work and feel happy to see it here!
    2 hours ago · UnlikeLike · 1 personLoading...
    o
    Marly Youmans Yes, what an interesting fellow he is...

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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.