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

Sunday, February 06, 2011

the 100th "The Book of the Red King" poem

Painting: Graham Ward, "King in Finisterre."
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Today I wrote the 100th poem of The Book of the Red King. In the fall, Graham Ward's paintings reminded me of a Red King story I had written a year or so before; Graham also likes fools, and I had fooled with fools before as well.

And somehow on October 17th of last year, I started writing madly about the Fool and the Red King and Precious Wentletrap and the blossom Queen and many another character. Some days I wrote three poems. One day I wrote five. It has been a delicious insanity.

100 is round. Perhaps I am done. Perhaps not. Only the Fool can know, and he can only know when he knows. And when he doesn't know, there might be more.

Some of the poems have appeared at Mezzo Cammin and qarrtsiluni (January 24), and some are forthcoming at The Flea, but I haven't sent many out yet. They are still new. So it will be a while before The Book of the Red King appears in the world.

But in the meantime, you can always slide down to the next post and take a gander at The Throne of Psyche. That book of poetry will be out soon.

And maybe it's appropriate here to remember once again (trala!) the immortal words of Kenneth Rexroth: "People who say they love poetry and never buy any are cheap sons-of-bitches!" Long ago, back in the mythical time of youth, that line was typed on a little strip of paper on end of the poetry section at the Bull's Head Bookshop at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It must have been effective because it stayed up for years! XD

6 comments:

  1. Marly, thanks so much for visiting my blog a few days ago! I've been here before a while ago but this weekend have spent much time poking about and catching up! What an inspiration you are with how much you are writing and publishing this year - congratulations! Wishing you continuing creative outpouring and much successes this year!

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  2. Ah, thank you, Marja-Leena!

    And the same to you.

    I'll have to come back and visit some time soon. I like all the variety in what you do and write about it...

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  3. Have put in my order for the book. Now no one can accuse me of cheap sob-ness! Of course, there are so many poets and so many books, so many worthy writers. But I can certainly afford to buy an occasional book by one I know so well and admire so much.

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  4. Rexroth would be proud of you and not wroth with you!

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  5. "Psyched up like a King for the Red Throne" said the Fool.
    100 in this series already?
    Just wait for the galleys : D

    I once ordered poetry books for my entire English Lit class. Robert Browning. I was 16. They arrived at my home the NEXT YEAR.
    Can you imagine how long it took me to find worthy homes for them? I was handing them out free for years, Marly!
    "But.... it's poetry?"
    My Last Duchess repeated on me somewhat.
    These days I order one at a time!

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  6. Rex Green this time, eh? The alchemical Green King of the Lions, perhaps. Or a King of Trees?

    You are cruel. If I thought about the galleys, I might stop!

    You were quite a boy to be enthused about Browning...

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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.