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

Claire 2003

Louisiana State University,2003
dual hardcover/paperback


Out of print in both the hardcover and paperback versions.

Some poems from Claire may be found here under the heading, “Contemporary Poets.”
***

Comments from poets:

Readers of Marly Youmans know her supple, sensuous prose.  In Claire she shifts to the more nervous rhythms of poetry, exploring the dark, rich realms of childhood.  Claire’s universe is alive with activity, birds, beasts, and flowers, to use the Laurentian title.  But really it is Tennyson she reminds me of, the melody, the melancholy of ‘Lady in a Tower, 1870.’

--John Montague

 Youmans began her writing career as a poet, so I am glad to see her returning to her first love after years of writing fiction.  Claire, her first book of poems, shows her facility with language and formal structure, as well as her gift for weaving the personal and the mythic into an elegantly textured narrative.

--Kathryn Stripling Byer

 Rereading these fine poems has given me a sense of returning home to a place of good things:  wisdom, courage, goodness, and beauty preserved against so many brutal assaults.  It may be in the country, in the past, in dreams, or in art, but Claire finds always what another poet called ‘a place for the genuine.’  The reader is given convincing details—names, places, and flowers—with the stamp of authenticity in the sure handling of language and music.  Time and again, I hear what seems to be perfect wording and pacing.  Youmans’s poems address a world accurately registered and carefully kept—in gracious reminders of old meanings of ‘keep’:  care, attention, heed, notice.  I wish more poems were like these.

--William Harmon


  • Paperback rights:  Claire (Baton Rouge:  Louisiana State University Press, 2003)
  • Introduction and excerpt in The Raleigh News & Observer
  • Some poems from this book may be viewed at The Hyper Texts.
  • All the poems in this book saw prior publication, including many reprints.


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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.