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 is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Monday, November 28, 2005

Southern humor at full spate--

Illustration: a preliminary sketch for The Curse of the Raven Mocker showing Adanta and Tass racing across the mountains, a raven (mocker) overhead. Copyright Renato Alarcao.

* * *

Roy Herron (state senator and floor leader from Tennessee) has sent me a copy of his book, Tennessee Political Humor--subtitled "some of these jokes you voted for"--co-authored by L. H. "Cotton" Ivy. It is wonderfully funny to read aloud, almost as funny as listening to Roy himself.

The book is spilling over with colorful characters. Here's a figure of interest: "E. H. Crump was a legendary leader with few scruples about elections, but he had considerable creativity in crucifying a candidate he opposed."

I'll say.

Here's Boss Crump's venom in action--and I'm willing to bet that it has more verve and gusto and swing than most free verse poems of 2005 A. D.:

I have said before, and I repeat it now,
that in the art galleries of Paris there are 27 pictures
of Judas Iscariot.
None look alike but all resemble Gordon Browning;
that neither his head, heart nor hand can be trusted;
that he would milk his neighbor's cow through a crack in the fence;
that of 206 bones in his body there isn't one that is genuine;
that his heart has beaten over two billion times
without a single sincere beat.

Now there's some strong down-home rhetorical artfulness and flourish. Give me some of that rollicking Southern style, along with a plate of greens and rutabaga scratchbacks, willya?

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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.