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

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Red King poems at length at AT LENGTH

Here's "King of Finisterre" by my correspondent Graham Ward,
who I hoped to meet in Wales and did not, alas.
Find more of him here:
grahamward.blogspot.com
grahamward.co.uk

Poetry editor Jonathan Farmer has picked thirteen Red King poems for At Length.

Here's what the conspirators say about the magazine:

At Length is a venue for ambitious, in-depth writing, music, photography, and art that are open to possibilities shorter forms preclude. As a print-friendly online magazine, we create ways for readers, listeners, and viewers to interact with noteworthy long work, and other publications have noticed. Among those who have recommended our writing and interviews are Harpers.org, NPR online, The Awl, VillageVoice.com and Longform.org, which called “The Decisive Ones” one of the year’s 20 best essays. Best American Poetry 2011 will feature our selection of poems from Major Jackson’s Holding Company.

And here are the first three lines of each poem to entice the passer-by to leap to At Length:


DEFINITION OF FOOL

What does it mean to be a fool?

Is it to reel about the world
Like stars made out of icicles,


A STAR IN A BOX
In a green seed
Hidden in a shell
From the first walnut tree,


SELF-PORTRAIT AS DRYAD, NO. 8

Riven, scorched to the root,
I offered my palm, sprout-pale,
And caught one bloody drop.


THE FOREST FOOL

The forest Fool, all geared in green,
A slough of blackened leaves his bed,
His rags as tattered as the leaves.

THE TAROT WITCH

On the Fool’s long walk to the King’s city,
He met a gypsy in a rowan grove
Who told him how he rooted in the woods


THE BLACK FOOL
(Black letters, through and through, were wound:
The names of sins, the years, the crime:
The thorns that pinned the words to flesh.


THE KING IN THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING

The little cottages
And churches huddle close
Around the castle-flanks.


HORTUS CONCLUSUS

Dashing along the pebble paths,
Sending up sprays of white: the Fool
Is chasing the Red King’s shadow.


SONG OF THE FISHER-FOLK, no. 2
The Fooloon Song

The minnows in the sea
And brittlestars that bite
All laugh with the Fool’s glee:


THE WHITE FOOL

The wind came rustling in the leaves.
The rustles sounded like a fire.
The Fool was burning in the sound.


RED KING AND THE STARS

The Red King goes with magnifying glass
And kneels so long he whitens in the snow:
The winter wind is tossing the big firs


THE CHRISTMAS BONFIRE

Bewitched, the Fool is watching acanthus
And oak–the bristling leaves of Christmas flame–
When the Royal Alchemist empties salts


RIDDLES OF THE KING
Made by the Fool

The Mirror King
Just the same: contrariwise.

11 comments:

  1. Marly,
    I am glad that you have as usual found the proper venue for this amazing work you've been doing.

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  2. I'm really not all that expert at knowing where to send these days--so many new places.

    But this is one I like.

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  3. You are such an innovator of poetry and the arts Marly. way to go!

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  4. Any rooting from Susannah is always good--Lacey's Spring is behind me! Wear a good hat for me.

    Robbi, "At Length" only publishes "at length"--series or long pieces.

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  5. Be frolicsome and gay in the old-fashioned way, for the all-powerful Poetry Foundation has tweeted the Red King poems at "At Length"...

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  6. How come I'm not in "The Book of the Red King?

    And nobody sends me mail anymore, either...

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  7. Oh... my kingdom for a Fool!

    These are astonishing. They will be your mark, Marly.
    One of them, but wildly so.

    We are all the Fool and we are all the Red King.
    Stop complaining, guys!

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  8. Thank you, Paul--

    I'm happy that you like them so much!

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  9. Great work as usual, Marly. Graham Ward's work is excellent.

    ". . . stars made out of icicles" is Beautiful.

    Congratulations on the AT LENGTH publication, I see they have an essay on Remedios Varo, one of my favorites.

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  10. Hi Rick--

    Glad you liked it/them!

    I like Remedios Varos as well.

    And Graham! I wish he had more time to paint, though.

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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.