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

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ferry Day

I have updated my A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage page, including links to and quotes from new reviews. Hop here for more like this: It is a stunning book; both cruel and tender, dark and light, but always shot through and stitched with a powerful beauty.

Yesterday was a ferry-the-youngest-to-one-of-many-of-his-summer-camps days, and I am grateful that I did not plant my husband's big black shiny Tundra in a ditch. Only two bookish things happened all day: I stopped at Old Saratoga Books (which is not in Saratoga) and bought a book about Arthurian history and mystery, one about American folklore from colonial times onward, a collection of African praise-poems, a Winterson novel (never tried her), and another translation of the Metamorphoses of Ovid.

All of which was ridiculous because the NBA-YPL books in their little towers are shrilling, shrilling my name! I ended the day with frivolity (Mike came home from a weekend in Boston and brought very un-Cooperstonian presents) and duty (a couple hundred pages of one of the young adult novels.)

I am sure poet Ted Hughes would have liked a copy of (or perhaps owned) Leaf and Bone: Africa Praise poems, an anthology with commentary by Judith Gleason. Here's a sample:

BABOON (Sotho animal praise)

Handsome fellow of the precipice
My foot soles shine on the mountain.
Ox of a baboon, dies in the milkwood tree
Not of its favorite fruit, but of something rotten.
Son of liquid urine
Greatest medicine for children.
Baboon who huddles up when it rains
So that not a drop touches eyes or stomach.
Son of the black hands
What is the secret of your penis?
Handsome fellow, shiner on the mountain,
"So long as I'm here in the milkwood tree
And the lions come down from the mountain
And strangle me, let me tumble
So I fall on a bed of my favorite fruits
Me, handsome fellow of the sheer precipice."

According to the notes, gorilla pee is thought to be good for children, and the gorilla penis is the source of mighty man meds, for guys only. I'm looking forward to reading more in this little book.

The doorbell... Hang on.

A frighteningly large box of books just landed on my porch bench. Surprised the thing didn't collapse under the weight. I certainly did.

5 comments:

  1. This is new to me. Interesting notes nevertheless.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Marja-Leena,

    I just got another box, a cube 3' x 3' x 3' x3'... More YPL books!

    Anil,

    She had a source for the info; I'm trying to figure out who he is--maybe a collector of folk materials... I need to read the introduction.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Marly, your blog posting today had the word 'penis' in it.
    I have to mention this - but I also have to mention that the whole posting is so full of life, fun, work and play!
    Thank you for this today. Just the ticket!

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a noticing sort of fellow you are!

    Yes, it is rather unusual for me to have a post with private parts. But such things can't be helped from time to time. Especially when talking about large virile animals who are ground up or stewed or sliced into gorilla-Viagra meds...

    Of course, I left out vacuuming and cooking dinner (Mike was out) and house-drudging!

    ReplyDelete

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.