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

Marly Youmans

Come in!


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...

Praise

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




Selected Fellowships and Awards
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 
Collaboration across the arts
  • 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: cover/jacket, Val/Orson; jacket, The Throne of Psyche (detail from an existing painting); cover and interior art, The Foliate Head; cover/jacket and interior art, Thaliad; jacket and interior art, Glimmerglass
  • 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

9 comments:

  1. Here is the bio from a previous website... rather different, perhaps more informative!

    Marly’s parents came from Georgia, and she was born over the state line in Aiken, South Carolina. Growing up, she lived in many places but favorites were the Carolinas, plus Gramercy and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In Gramercy she spoke Cajun French (which, alas, she has forgotten), fished, wore live green-and-pink lizard earrings, and grew a magical garden that grew into the trees--fed by sugar slag from the local refinery where her father was a chemist. When she lived up north, her teacher thought that she must be mentally defective, a drawl indicating some general torpor in thought processes! The place where she has had the longest ties is Cullowhee, North Carolina, where her mother and father retired from Western Carolina University as Head of Serials at Hunter Library and Professor of Analytical Chemistry; she still visits at least twice a year. Currently she lives in New York, a place that is a bit like the Snow Queen’s palace: too cold for mortals and, although still on the Appalachian spine, too far away from the Carolinas. Marly is married (of course--why else would she be living in a Yankee snow drift?) and the mother of two sons and a daughter; she writes when she is not ferrying children.

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  2. Trying to get in touch with you, Marly. Am an old (literally...gulp) college friend. So glad to hear of your successes. Remember Mr. Purdy? He'd be so proud (; Hope that I went on right fb page to friend you. Not sure. Anyway, my best wishes to you on your very successful writing career. Hugs! Shelly Hyatt-Blankman

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  3. Hi Shelly!

    Very pleased to hear from you--shall go look on fb right now--

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  4. Hmm, don't see it--or you! Here's my fb page: https://www.facebook.com/marly.youmans

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  5. Or email me at smaragdineknot (at) gmail (dot) com...

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  6. Ms Youmans

    So glad, but sad to find your blog post about Fae Malania's death several years ago. I just read her book (the original edition) this past weekend. I was not totally surprised that Malania had died, but was glad to learn that she had more success recently. It was serendipity that helped me find her book. I am glad that Malania had friends with her at the end. Thank you for what you have written.

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  7. Hi Patty Franz--

    As deaths go, she had a calm one. Many of us were fond of her, and she was not alone in her old age, even though her husband and stepson died before her.

    We had several lovely parties for her book, and I will always be grateful that the reprint happened before she died. Some day when I have a little more time, I mean to do a Fae-blog, as I was given some of her unpublished and out-of-print writings.

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  8. I just want to let you know that your short story, An Incident at Agate Beach, is really superb. It touched me when I first read it in ways I could not quite explain to myself.
    After a housefire, in which all my pets were killed and quite a bit was lost, it took a long time for me to feel like doing anything, even reading. One of the first things I did, as I worked my way back, was find a copy of the anthology (mine lost in the fire) and re-read this story. I don't know why it was so profoundly comforting, but I wanted to thank you.


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  9. Oh, Chrystal--

    That is so lovely; I am so glad that it meant something to you, and that it was consoling. I am sorry that you were wrenched from your nest by fire, and that your animals died. And I'm glad to have had a little healing place in your imagination. Thank you for telling me! Such things mean a lot.

    Good cheer,
    Marly

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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.