Marly Youmans writes in a number of forms, small and large. She writes poems. She once was mad enough to write an epic poem (forthcoming.) She writes novels, though people say (sometimes disapprovingly!) that she never does the same thing twice. And she writes Southern fantasy novels for children veering toward adulthood; she hadn't planned on that one, but unexpected things happen after children are born.
Her collaborations with artists include work with painters Makoto Fujimura, Clive Hicks-Jenkins (Wales), Graham Ward (England), Lynn Digby (Ohio, US), and composer Paul Digby (UK-born but now an Ohioan!)
|Her writing room--where has the laptop gone?|
She is a Carolinian who now lives in James Fenimore Cooper's wintry Cooperstown with her husband and three children. It is a good place for the Southern-born writer, because it is so cold; winter is her best time for work...
Youmans (pronounced like "yeoman" with an "s" added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. She writes like an angel--an angel who has learned what it is to be human." John Wilson, Books and Culture
When I think of Marly Youmans’ work, the word that comes to mind is “magic.” By this, I mean not only her language, but her evocation of mystery. Youmans’ poems always seem utterly new and startlingly familiar. Moreover, she has admirable range in terms of subject matter and tone. While I tend to favor her poems about the mythological, Youmans shows astonishing skill, whatever the subject. She is a poet working at the height of her powers.
Kim Bridgford, poet, editor, Mezzo Cammin, and Director, West Chester University Poetry Conference
My friend Marly Youmans is one of America's finest writers. Anyone who knows her work even slightly would have little trouble reaching that conclusion. From the very beginning of my awareness of her work, I realized that her voice was unique, her grasp of technique in poetry and fiction stunning, and her imagination boundless. She seems to combine two impossible-to-resolve things simultaneously: traditional forms and an edgy, almost avant-garde sensibility. Philip Lee Williams, novelist, poet, essayist
|Books and books and a red dragon|
from novelist Clare Dudman
When a person reads a Marly Youmans poem, all the spaces ‘round about fall silent. The busy world is hushed, and her words, each one perfect and pinned in its perfect place, rise into the silence and burst into light. I, a poor mortal, can explain her work in no other terms. Howard Bahr, novelist
Youmans is a writer of rare ability whose works will one day be studied by serious students of poetry. Greg Langley, The Baton Rouge Advocate
See individual book pages for more
- Theodore Hoepfner awards (2) for the best short story of the year in The Southern Humanities Review
- Capital Magazine (Albany) “New Writers” award
- The Michael Shaara Award of The United States Civil War Center (Louisiana State University) for The Wolf Pit, 2001
- Short list (along with Barry Hannah), The 2002 Southern Book Award of The Southern Book Critics Circle
- The Ferrol Sams Award for A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage, 2012
- The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts
- Writer-in-Residence, Hollins University, 2010
- Yaddo, 2007
- The New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, 1991
- Makoto Fujimura, "The Pilgrim Soul" (story and paintings presented at a Yale Divinity School conference.) We plan a book based on these.
- Clive Hicks-Jenkins, various--Clive has made illustrations for The Foliate Head, and Andrew Wakelin is designing the book (UK: Stanza Press.) Currently he is completing work on Thaliad. See also covers for Val/Orson and The Throne of Psyche.
- Graham Ward, poems-for-paintings project for Graham's upcoming show
- Paul Digby, videos of some of my poems available on youtube
- Requiem with composer Paul Digby and painter Lynn Digby; multi-media project based on the traditional requiem mass