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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Palace Aphorisms: poetry, continued

New news posted below.

aphorism no. 45

When the poem is a star, a stone will burn.

9 October

aphorism no. 44

The poem is lock, key, door, and vista.

8 October

aphorism no. 43

On a table in the hall of tears, the poem says Eat Me, Drink Me, Be Whole.

7 October

aphorism no. 42

The key has slipped into the lock and turned, and now the long-desired door is about to open: that is the poem.

6 October

aphorism no. 41

The poet who writes in the rose room is waist deep in pollen.

6 October

Poetry aphorisms extend to the post below.


Received my two Firebird paperbacks of The Curse of the Raven Mocker and Ingledove yesterday, and Renato's covers look lovely. That's my first "little" paperback, and they are quite tidy and cute. From a new Locus review: "The newest original anthology from Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, Salon Fantastique, could well be their best so far. This may in part emanate from the absence of a central theme: the book is intended simply as a gathering of fine fantasists, a meeting of the minds like the literary salons of 17th and 18th century France, where intellectuals of all classes could confer freely, exchanging ideas and establishing standards. Liberated from any imposed agenda, the contributors have excelled themselves; but given the huge innate strength of the line-up, they might well have done so in any case. / "Three stories stand out especially. Marly Youmans’s 'Concealment Shoes' is a beautifully written evocation of adventurous childhood, in which a small boy and his elder sister find moving into a big new house a marvelous experience, tempered by the discovery that hostile spirits are trying to infiltrate the abode. The parents carelessly remove the mansion’s wards; nasty apparitions issue from the chimneys; the battle against them is startlingly vivid."

Since there will be 14 people running amuck in my earthly castle this weekend, I'm doing a little time travel and posting "ahead." Yes, you may feel sorry for me, pushing my little broom and mop.

The sketch of "Manju reading" is courtesy of Laura Murphy Frankstone and Laurelines,


  1. Marly, these aphorisms are exquisite. It must be that the best way to capture what poetry is, is in this oblique and lyrical way. Images to illustrate these are flooding my eyes and brain. Wow, such tiny jewels you're giving us.

  2. Laura-in-Paris--
    Now that would be fun to see! Three of those come, I suspect, from a childhood passion for Alice in Wonderland.

  3. I have been thinking about your A #40. This made me think back to when I was just out of high school. I was working at the movie theater in the ticket booth, and I had a lot of cage time. We weren't allowed to take books in, but I always slipped small poetry books in to memorize poems so I could have a repertoire prepared incase I needed to recite one (or if I ever wanted to impress Dr. Cross of-course, soooo embarrassing!) After I studied Edna St. Vincent Millay I privately would sit up in the ticket booth and write all these embarrassing sonnets of however I felt that day or the overflow of emotions.

    I stopped because they were so embarrassing! like high school notes or pretending you Jane lost on the moors! Just thinking about them makes me cringe, and I certainly don't talk about it, but if you really believe #40, maybe I shouldn't be so harsh on my young over dramatic self.

  4. Some day you will look back and find a lot of charm in the idea that you wanted to memorize poems to "impress Dr. Cross."

    To be young and silly (Yeats was silly, Auden said, "silly like us") and a dreamer is, from a distant prospect of time, a sweet and an endearing thing.

    And yes, I do believe that we shouldn't discourage children and young men and women from their dreams, poetry or otherwise. Many a person who was ignored or told that he or she "wouldn't amount to anything" has turned a dream into something solid. And many abandoned dreams have helped shape adults who are better for those lost but lovely dreams.

    When I was 20, I threw away all my poems. Much later I regretted it, because youth was in them.

  5. Phil,

    And you were right--anything was possible. You have twelve books that are admired for their art and crafty shaping. Would you have dreamed it at sixteen? Hurrah for long faithfulness and passion for the word!

    & all else who happen by,

    I have mentioned Phil's new book elsewhere here, but I might as well add this quote:

    The book is In the Morning: Reflections from First Light, and it has just been published by Mercer University Press. Already, seasoned writers are praising the book, calling it “wise, engaging and unfailingly profound” and written with “language that we want to read aloud for its sheer beauty.”

    If you go to Phil's website, you can also visit a blog written to accompany the book.

  6. Does someone have one of those Dustbusters? I've left pollen-dust footprints all over in here...

    And, of course, Marly, all wonderful -- thanks for keeping my tiny flame lit.

  7. Again, blogger does not love me.


    One more fling at it.


    Lori, I'm going to have 14 people plus an extra dog (and, of course, one dog, two cats, two Russian tortoises--luckily the guppies are at the office) in my abode this Columbus Day weekend. And you go and leave pollen everywhere!

    Witzel, n., meaning: 1. a wittily-constructed pretzel; 2. a morsel of wit; 3. a woman with red glasses and yellow feet.

    Can that be right?



    If I am not here, know that I am either c-l-e-a-n-i-n-g madly, or else having a small hysterical fit.

  8. I like number 44 followed by number 42. Yes, a good poem is just like a door being opened into someone's mind or maybe just one into your own.

    I like the idea of 41. Then when the poet departs the bees creep in, gather up the pollen on their legs and use it to pepper the honey.

    Congratulations on the great review and goos luck with the hoards this weekend.

  9. Hordes gone... Two or three with stomach bugs. Sigh. Doom is mine.

  10. sooooo sory to hear about the stomach bug.

    Thats terrible.


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.