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.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"A Fire in Ice" from THE THRONE OF PSYCHE

Rebecca Beatrice Miller is learning to paint on her new
wacom intuos tablet. This one is cold enough to go with
 "A Fire in Ice"--and it has a little cauldron of sorts in the cup!
Think she has been a little chilly at Bard College in her first year?

Here's another poem from The Throne of Psyche, now shipping to stores and reviewers from the Mercer University warehouses.  This one is another for which Paul Digby has made a video, found here. It was originally published in print journal The Raintown Review.

Update, 4/18: Thanks (I think!) to Philip Lee Williams for sending me a link to an article in that wit-snapper, the Onion, that says only too truly what happens at some readings:  "Author Promoting Book Gives It Her All Whether It's Just 3 People Or A Crowd Of 9 People."  Nothing more nervous-making that too few bodies! I'd rather have 300 than 3. Twice in my life I have run reading series at universities, and I banged the gong for them like a maniac. At a small college I regularly had a turnout of 120, and that was usually as much as I got at a major university. But it is a lot of work to promote them and demands creativity, sweat, and constant reminders.

A FIRE IN ICE
          Riposte to Billy Collins, “Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes”

Don’t think because her words are wild
That Dickinson’s a sylphine child

For your undressings—don’t rend the haze
Of veils that shields you from her blaze.

Her hands are capable and know
The ways of burning—how sparks blow

When flames are jostled by a bold
Adept, her fingers tipped with cold.

And though in after-hours she threads
The dew she plucks from spiderwebs,

Or answers Who? to midnight’s owls,
Or strokes the cats, returned from prowls—

Or takes to skipping to and fro
With moonlit maidens made of snow,

She’ll freeze, inviolate and meek,
If you so much as try to speak.

Shove off—avoid those brazen wings:
She’s not for your unbuttonings.

The polished stone above her head
Declares her state among the dead:

Here waits that sphinx whose secret power
In riddles found her finest flower.


The Throne of Psyche jacket
"Touched" by Clive Hicks-Jenkins
Design by Burt & Burt Studio
for Mercer University Press


4 comments:

  1. I've seen this epitaph to Dickenson before, and it is lovely.

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  2. Thanks, Robbi.

    * * *

    David Rondinelli asked me about the signature on the picture--and other people may have the same question. I don't think it's part of the picture. Just the common anti-pilfering signature line such as the ones that stock photo sites lay over the pictures they sell.

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  3. re: your update, I just tried publicizing my first anthology publication; no luck. The manager said she'd order five copies and I could sign them, but HER boss nixed it. I'll try other stores, or perhaps wait till the other anthology I will have a piece in publishes and hawk them together. I have more faith in that one anyhow.

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  4. It might have been the signing idea that was a problem because once you sign, they are not returnable if they don't sell. Ideally they have motivation to sell, but bookstores can be risk-adverse because the business is so difficult...

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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.