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

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day gallimaufry--

A late addition to the medley here: Critic D. G. Myers with a list of 25 historical novels, including Catherwood.

It's the Veterans Day holiday, and I'm remembering with thanks the generation of my father, Hubert Lafay Youmans, who left life as an impoverished sharecropper's boy at 17 in order to join the Army Air Corps and ended up flying tailgunner in a B-17 in World War II. Lucky for me that he survived and came home to ride the G. I. Bill through Emory, where he met my mother, and LSU. His brother Dafford (bit of Welsh naming?) also served in Europe.

Meanwhile my mother's brothers were sprinkled around the world during the war: Louis, Martin, Leonard, James, and Hugh Morris. The last of them died recently, tucked into eternity. I'm also recalling their mother, Lila Eugenia Arnold Morris. People in the little town of Collins, Georgia said that she prayed all five of them home, on her knees every night, talking (wrestling, pleading, arguing?) to God. Miss Lila was quite the matriarch in her town, mother of nine children, eight of whom survived to adulthood.

My youngest played for the village parade and wreath-laying yesterday... That's a lovely thing for our children to do.

Tomorrow I am off to New York City with Rebecca, pleased to be meeting my fellow NBA judges for lunch on Wednesday. Then: the banquet and awards. It should be a day of great interest! Today I am getting ready and trying to boot the cold far away from me. If I have time, I'll do some tweaking in The Book of the Red King, as I've promised to send it on to Clive so he can be mulling art.

Upcoming: Thaliad appears to be on schedule for the tail of November or nose of December. Forthcoming poems in Mezzo Cammin and Books & Culture. And after that: two novels, both a bit unusual.

NBA glam? Luisa Igloria posted this link on facebook...

Quote for the day: I worry about a culture that bit by bit trades off the challenging pleasures of art for the easy comforts of entertainment. --Dana Gioia

About that quote: I know quite well that inside the mass culture is a band of people dedicated to making art of beauty and power--artists who attempt to work free of the reductive trends, fashion, and demands of the marketplace. The question is what happens when those people become invisible and no longer infuse the culture with their life. What does it do to them; what does it do to our culture?

2 comments:

  1. Have a great time at the awards! What an exciting trip for you and Rebecca. You did an inhuman amount of work to get through all that reading this year, and now it's PLAYTIME!!!

    Don't worry about the manuscript. When you've time. I've lots of other things on at the moment!

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  2. Just got a helpful warning that it's hard to get gas in the city right now...

    I shall try--am going to let Rebecca drive a good ways, and then take over before it gets too rugged. Then: play!

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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.