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

Thursday, January 09, 2014

A proper thanks to Dale Favier, and an introduction to his writing-

Thank you to poet Dale Favier, way off on the other side of the continent, for this lovely facebook post... I'm a fan of his as well, so it's very sweet to have him comment on a book of mine this way. (And I should say that I'm grateful to the people on twitter and Facebook who have shared an enthusiasm for my books; I hope that I always remember to thank them, but if anyone has slipped by without my commenting back, I hereby thank them!)
  • It feels very, very strange to read novels again. I read Marly Youmans' marvelous A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage last year, and all the time there was a surreal throb at the back of my mind: it said, yes, people still write novels. People walking the earth today, they write novels, just like Charles Dickens and Leo Tolstoy did. Because to me, you see, present-day people -- by which I mean people I know online -- they write *poems*, not novels. Marly of course writes poems too, and she's eccentric, so that's all right. But now I'm reading Elizabeth Eslami's no less wonderful novel, Bone Worship, which makes me laugh and laugh. And now I'm thinking, maybe real present-day people write *novels*, too. And I read so slow now! But God, with my strangely slowed, poetry-trained senses, I read much better, and I taste before I swallow. I'm so grateful to the writers I know for hauling me into the 21st Century. It's really a beautiful, beautiful place. I used to think the beauty all died sometime at the beginning of the 20th Century. But it didn't really. Thank you, all of you. xoxoxo
What does he mean, eccentric? Dale, aka Mole, what do you mean, eccentric? I am going to assume he means for doing that odd thing, writing both poetry and fiction, and nothing else, unless he says otherwise.

If you would like to read a poem by Dale Favier, you might go here, where you can also buy his Opening the World from Pindrop Press. I did, and I recommend it! He also has a collaborative book called Not Coming Back with photographer Nina Tovish, and you can read and see samples of poems and images here. I still need to get that one. You can also read poems and musing on his website. Here's a sample post; in this one he reminds me of Thoreau (one of his "like-minded people," surely), especially in the opening declaration:
I regret nothing except my occasional half-hearted gestures towards making myself acceptable. There was a time when I thought might find a home among like-minded people: I'm grateful to them for making clear that it will never happen, and so keeping me from wasting my time. There is so little time. My awareness of that deepens every day. No: you can take me as you find me, and that will usually be gazing at the sky, while points of rain or starlight patter on my threadbare scalp. The riddle is written up there, and I stop and puzzle out a few phrases, and wait for the lightning or the sunrise. And still the sphere turns, and turns, and turns in its faint wash of darkness. There is nothing else, not really. We are traveling at immense speed, even in simple terms of the earthbound physics Newton propounded: we are falling toward the sun at somewhat more than 67,000 miles per hour. Once you actually absorb that fact, the speeds at which we creep around our falling home take on a comic aspect. In the time it takes us to walk to the store we have also traveled ten thousand miles through space: yet the quarter mile's incidental movement on this blue-and-white marble's surface is the movement that impresses us. Well. Not so clever, for all our airs. No. Stars and rain are real, the silky hair threading between my fingers is real, the pulsing heart that lifts my fingertips is real. The rest? Toiling from speck to adjacent speck on a marble that's been thrown off a cliff? No: not so real. Not so real at all.
There you go. You may find him surprisingly like-minded at times--or you may find him fascinating because he is not. Meet the man, the Mole, the poet... And thank you, Dale! 

5 comments:

  1. So, even though the recommendation comes from an eccentric (?) novelist, poet, and all around interesting person -- I will seek out The Mole's work and give it a try.

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  2. I know you admire critic David Myers, and he just tweeted about the post--maybe this will be a Favier Frolic Week! I hope so.

    The Mole is a fascinating fellow, burrowing into many things.

    And here's hoping you and D. G. Myers both find new venues for your talents...

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  3. Having read Dale's interesting musings on your blog and others' blogs as well as on FB posts, I thank you for making me more familiar with his work, which I have read only a little before.

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  4. I remember when you first introduced yourselves, since I was really proud that you mentioned seeing him at mine, and he said you'd both been going to the same county balls for years, you'd just never been formally introduced! I loved that, as I love the both of you.

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  5. Robbi,

    You will like it, I am sure! And there's a lot online if you hunt.

    Lucy,

    Ah, that's like him--clever, amusing, and kind. And I can say the very same of you. It's good to find kindred kicking up their heels at the dance!

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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.