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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Roasted Phoenix / December 2006

The Very Last Phoenix of 2006

Here are new poetry publications and one interesting book publication. And something or other that I'm forgetting but too lazy to root around and find, just now. Just got in from the airport...

P. S. Publishing (U. K.) requested a novella for a hardcover/softcover limited edition, and so Val/Orson will be coming out in 2008.

Notes on the Bird: The Phoenix is my on-going record of this year's acceptances. At various points, I have teetered along the boundary between so-called realism and so-called irrealism. And sometimes I have danced over the invisible (non-existent?) line and frolicked with abandon.

But I'm somebody who started out as a poet and has never really grasped why the world would bother being so obsessed with categories, once past the basic division between literature and the other stuff. Yet eventually it did occur to me--poor market-ignorant fish--that I might increase my readership by publishing some of my stranger stories outside the refined literary pond where I have floated for many years, having published four times with FSG and once each with Godine and LSU's poetry series.

This publication list is a record of my response to that idea. I knew almost zero about genre publications when I started sending out. Close to zero is probably still my stance, compared to a writer who was a tadpole, lost tail, and grew up in the genre pool. But I've very much enjoyed paddling about in alien waters and meeting new editors, writers, and readers. It's a big expanse, where you can stumble on the uncorrupted floating bodies of Calvino and Borges and meet an astonishing range of living writers.

I don't think I'll bother keeping a record (I hate keeping records) next year, but this year it has been interesting to see whether I could swim elsewhere--even if I looked strange there at times.

Monthly news, mid-November:
I'm not keeping up with reviews for the great reason that genre publications review stories incessantly. I didn't know this, and I like it. There are, though, new Locus reviews of "Concealment Shoes."
Stories -
"Drunk Bay" forthcoming in Postscripts (U.K.).
"Rain Flower Pebbles" forthcoming in Postscripts (U.K.).
"The Four Directions," requested for an anthology TBA.
Poems - "The Sea of Traherne" forthcoming in Books & Culture.
3 new poems at The Hypertexts.

If I want to have another book of poems, I need to send out some of those dreadful little white envelopes, I suppose. I've relied almost entirely on requests but need to publish five or six more poems before I send in the next manuscript. Fooh!

2006 publications / acceptances


"Power & Magic," set in the north Georgia mountains, is forthcoming in the 3rd Firebirds anthology (Firebird/Penguin), edited by Sharyn November.

"The Four Directions" commissioned for an anthology TBA.

"The Smaragdine Knot" (story) will be coming out in John Klima's anthology of stories based on the winning words from spelling bees. The book has now been titled: Logorrhea: Good Words Make Good Stories (Bantam Books, date tba.) Once more the weird Puritan minister and poet, Edward Taylor, has crept into my writings, along with a fair-faced demonic visitor.

A story called "Concealment Shoes" has been chosen by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling for Salon Fantastique (an anthology from Thunder's Mouth Press, 2006.) It's unusual for me--I made use of a real cat and three real children and a real house, all in the service of some rather strange and otherworldly happenings. Yet somehow I end up feeling that it's quite 'realistic,' simply because I used real-life models. But nobody else will think so, I suppose. Though not quite out yet, it has a review from Rich Horton in Locus though I can't seem to find it again. He noted that several of the stories could be classified as "young adult" (mine was headed for Sharyn November's fantasy series, but Ellen Datlow nabbed it first--and that was good, because it made me write another for Sharyn), but said that the telling of "Concealment Shoes" was "very engaging." From another 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."

And there's a second reprint for "An Incident at Agate Beach" (a novella originally published in Argosy 3.) It has been picked up by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant for the fantasy half of The Year's Best in Fantasy and Horror (St. Martin's, 2006). The first reprint was in Northwest Passages (Windstorm Creative, 2005); here's a clip from Tangent Online: "My favorite story in this collection is 'An Incident at Agate Beach' by Marly Youmans. Marsha and her husband, Jim, are spending their honeymoon on Agate Beach. While Jim is off searching for agates, Marsha meets a young boy who calls himself Bramble at first—and gives himself a new name each time they meet—who tells her that his brother is in love with her. . . " From a review by Aimee Poynter. Rich Horton's Market Summaries at Speculative Literature Foundation reviewed Argosy, 2005: "The best novelette was perhaps "An Incident at Agate Beach", by Marly Youmans, in which a honeymooning bride meets an odd child on the beach." Here's a clip from a review of Year's Best at The Little Professor: "Among the other strong entries, both Marly Youmans' 'An Incident at Agate Beach' and Elizabeth Bear's 'Follow Me Light' imagine the encounter between earthly and aquatic love. Youmans' tale is the more unsettling."


"Rain Flower Pebbles" is forthcoming in Postscripts (U.K.).

"Drunk Bay" is forthcoming in Postscripts (U. K.) in fall/winter 2007.

"Seven Crooked Tinies" (seven rather weird little stories) is forthcoming in Fantasy Magazine in Spring, 2007. That's a just-revised collection consisting of "The Dew Sweeper" (an artist of dew), "The First Death" (autobiographical, about moving from my magic Louisiana to the golden, hellish plains), "A Box of Time" (homage to my father and read at his funeral), "The Mummy's Eyes" (reading and metamorphosis), "The Seagrove Pot" (autobiography of a vessel), "The Wise Tooth" (death, loss, and renewal under the shadow of a wayward tooth), and "The Moss Herders" (the truth about moss).

"Matreshka" (short story) is forthcoming in Fantasy Magazine, probably in Winter 2006. Form and content depend on the idea of "nesting dolls." (Does that sound like fun? I also have a poem called "The Nesting Doll" at McSweeney’s.) The reviewers at Tangent seem to have been a little bemused about what I was doing in this one, though they said the ending was "completely satisfying." Well, it is a bit wacky, and there are many links to the idea of matreshkas and breakage mid-way and so on.

"The Comb" (short story) is forthcoming in Fantasy Magazine, Winter 2006 (or thereabouts). ". . .Whoever wanted a mystery to be unknotted and fully known was mad, and I am sane. Facing it is like stumbling on a grimy, tallow-flecked masterpiece, still alive with the spirit of the dead--the brushstrokes of a moving hand, the captured forms of mortals--evidence and riddle. Or perhaps it is like a story that will not give up its last secret but insists on strangeness."

"The Geode" (short story) is forthcoming in Electric Velocipede 11 (2006.) In which some grow up and others old, and a Monopoly token has a curious part to play.

"The Dawn Walker" (story) is forthcoming in Fantasy Magazine (Summer, issue 3.) That story's dedicated to Melanie Hook Rice, a friend of mine who died entirely too young--it's about her death, though the girl is not the same girl, and everything about it is different. But it feels right and about her all the same. "Marly Youmans has a knack for writing the sea so vividly that the reader can almost taste the salt air. In 'The Dawn Walker' this is certainly the case. . . . Youmans' gorgeous imagery is a nice counterpoint to the simplicity of the underlying message." From a Tangent short fiction review by Aimee Poynter.

"The Gate House" (novella) is forthcoming in the irregular but lovely slipcased volumes of Argosy Quarterly, issue 4, one of the three magazines from the creative hand of James A. Owen, illustrator-writer-bold projector. Currently he's posting lots of illustrations at Apocatastasis. With luck, 4 will be out in 2006. Cross your toes and fingers.


What's up in "Books" is paperback publication of two books marketed as "young adult" but often reviewed as "crossover" books that are hard to pigeonhole. They have both gotten stellar reviews--click on the titles on the "shelf" to see some.

Ingledove (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005) is forthcoming in paperback from Firebird (Penguin.) Pub date is November 6, 2006.

"In this exceptional novel Youmans skillfully mixes Celtic, Appalachian and Cherokee mythology and language to create Adantis, a fantastic world, half hidden in nature. Abandoned by their father and orphaned at their mother's death, Ingledove and her brother Lang know Adantis only as a fairy tale world from their mother's stories. Yet when Ingledove’s brother Lang is haunted by a beautiful serpent demon, the children must make the perilous journey to Adantis to free Lang from his deadly enchantment. There Ingledove discovers her mother’s legacy, the powerful beauty of Adantis, and her own inner strength. Youmans’ characters are compelling; the dialogue is unique, rich with invented vocabulary. Her prose, lush and evocative as fireflies, seems to lift from the pages. A simply beautiful novel." --novelist Midori Snyder, at The Endicott Studio

The Curse of the Raven Mocker (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003) will also appear in paperback from Firebird (Penguin) on November 6, 2006.

The Top Ten Books of 2003, John Wilson, editor, Books & Culture. Best Children's Book of 2003, Books Editor Greg Langley, The Baton Rouge Advocate. (Ingledove was the Advocate's Best Young Adult Novel for 2005.)

For more information and review clips, fly over to


I am terribly lazy about sending out poems, so all but one or two of these are requests. I am very happy to see requests, because the sending out of many little envelopes is boring and long and other miserable things.

"Childbirth or The Forest of Death," "The Kirkyard Deer," and "Hyfrydol" appeared in The Eclectic Muse (Vol. 12 2006).

The Hypertexts (see links below) picked up three more poems, two originals and one reprint (November). The editors have made me a permanently "featured" poet, as well as a November "Spotlight" poet, so this month I can be found under two kinds of features and in the anthology section as well.

"The Sea of Traherne" is forthcoming in Books & Culture.

"Dream of a Waltz with God" (poem) is forthcoming in Neovictorian / Cochlea.

Online in 2006: "In Extremis," "Southern to the Bone," "The Exile's Track," and "The Black Flower" (poems) are part of Special Feature: Six Southern Women Poets. This little anthology is selected, edited, and introduced by Tara Powell is at StorySouth.

"Prentiss Cottage" (blank verse), "Parable of Dust" (blank verse), and "A Dutch Burgher" (ballad stanza) are forthcoming in Raintown Review, 2006. Also, there's a third reprint of "Abandon," already published in: Rhino; my collection, Claire (LSU, 2003); and The Hypertexts.

Reprints of some of my current poems are at the Contemporary Poets section of The Hypertexts.


(Feb.) Makoto Fujimura asked me for an essay on the topic of 'an artist's ten commandments.' So I sat down to fool around with the idea and the thing transformed into a story called "The Pilgrim Soul" (title pilfered from a phrase of that wonderful Yeats lyric that begins, "When you are old and gray and nodding by the fire.") Now he's fantasizing about some small paintings in his Nihongan mode to accompany it, and a little hardcover book with color plates. I don't know what will become of the idea, if anything, but it's lovely for someone to imagine such a thing! If any of this happens, it will come together a year from now, in a gallery at Yale Divinity School.

Image: royalty free photograph,
"Rainbow Waters Abstract" by xymonau at



  1. and now I am going to have to get ready to search out all these delicious new Marly stories and events...
    the potential book with your artist friend sounds really lovely.

  2. Well, I'm impressed. Just how will I access all these Marly wonders? Oh, you know Mokoto Fujimura!! I was introduced to his work by an artist friend about three years ago. Not only is his art esquisite, but also his mission of spiritual renewel and reconcilion through art places him in an unusual category of artists--those who look beyond self aggradizement to a higher calling. Please keep us posted as to the collaboration.

    Thank you for appearing on TEN THOUSAND COLORS. My kids are the best; don't you think? We're having fun with the blog--trying to squeeze it in amongst all the required "fun". Currently we're preparing for the Sate Writing Test. Since they're focussed while in training mode, I've promised we'll let 'er rip with creativity after "the big game".

  3. Visits from Ms. Jarvenpa & Connie: how lovely.

    Makoto Fujimura is a very interesting and valuable person. I think he also has an ideal of collaboration that is both cross-border and international and also particular--like the idea for this project. In fact, collaboration ties into his ideas about renewal and reconciliation...

    I'll pop in on the kid-blog again some time. It's fun to see them at work.

    As for how to find uncollected stories, I guess they'll all arrive at libraries and book stores in due course. I'll stick a note up when they do.

  4. Megan, I was thinking about your note again--received a letter from your teacher this morning in my email box, and that jogged my thoughts. And I just imagine that you are a big reader and dreamer and writer.

    I have a daughter who is just a year ahead of you in school, and she's that sort! She has been a great starter of stories, and only just now is beginning to keep going with them.

    You have, I think, a special teacher in Ms. L., so be sure and be bold in your writing and show her your work. Even a little bit of writing each day adds up... Ms. L has a heart for beautiful and ideal things and will encourage you. I had a special teacher who encouraged me that way; my second book is dedicated to her.

    Happy dreaming to you--

  5. Mrs. Youmans,
    You are correct on all matters- Mrs. L is a fantastic teacher as well as a special and unique person.

    I'm not sure how you guessed so much about me, but I am a reader and dreamer. I like to view myself as a writer too, although I can't seem to continue anything past two or three paragraphs!

    Wishing a lazy afternoon suited to joyful musings for all dreamers like me...

  6. Hi there, Megan--

    No worry about the 2-3 paragraphs. More will percolate along eventually, I'd say, judging by my own in-house young writers. Though I do think there is a lot you can learn from forcing yourself to develop a story and finish something--plus it will let you know that you can finish something.

    Oh, my writing name is not my husband's name, so you're stuck with either "Marly" or "Ms. Youmans"!

    Thank you for the good wishes for the afternoon, and please take some in return. I'm working on a story about a glass blower right now, when I'm not doing those mundane things that need to be done...

    As for the feeling that I've "guessed," I think that girls about your age who love to read have certain very pleasant things in common.

  7. Yikes! I just reread my comment. This teacher does know correct spelling and the benefits of editing---so why all the errors? Perhaps I'll blame rushing, overwork, or old age. In truth, there are no excuses. It's a good thing I'm not taking the state writing test.

    But isn't my student special?

    Thanks for your encouraging words.

  8. Connie, all things that are verbal and wayward are forgiven--especially when they happen early in the morning!

    Yes, special... I love that dreamy age. Actually, I like all the stages of childhood, but I think that one's especially nice in a reader and thinker.

  9. Oops! Sorry about the name, Ms. Youmans. I feel bad about that... my last name, with its many y's, is commonly mispronounced, misspelled or thoroghly scrambled by others, so goofing up someone els's makes me bit my lip. I'd love to write more, but the aroma of buttery cornbread is drawing me away.

  10. No problem, Megan--and now I'm imagining you saddled with a Houynyhynm or Yiyiyikikiyay sort of name.

  11. Thank goodness my name isn’t Yiyiyikikiyay!! You’d probably never guess it, or if you saw it, know how to pronounce it, but it grows on you! :D

  12. Yes, I'm rather glad as well, Megan. And all right--no guessing from me!

  13. As of June 15, all book promotion checks & sundry have been received EXCEPT one from Donna the Blog Queen. (Maybe she didn't mail it in the excitement of upcoming new babydom?)

    All books have gone out from the post office and should have been received...

  14. Wow, you! I had only time to skim over the forthcoming multitudinous Marly Youmans incarnations (giving a party for soon to be married friend tonight) but will come back later and read more carefully. Love to see all of this going on!

  15. Marly,

    Did you get my message? I tried to post, but don't see it here. Am mailing payment out this evening.

    Also are you coming South with NCCAT this summer?

    Blog Queen

  16. Marly,

    If it is too late to send payment, that is okay too. I WILL pick up book when it is out in paperback.

    Much love,
    Blog Queen

  17. P.P.S.

    I bought a new system for the Mac and can now upload pics. There is a pic. of baby Lucas born last Sunday.

    I am also going to post some pics of some of my artwork.


  18. B. Q.,

    Fire away! I'll check the box, I promise...

    And I'll wander over to see the pictures of all sorts, once I get my campers launched.

  19. Congrats on things hatching out now.

    Which ones are out this month???

    Also, on the subject of the "a day" series, I found in one of my art magazines an article about Duane Keiser, who did a painting a day for a year, and taught school. He posteed them on his blog and sold them there for a time as well. He now sells them on E-bay. For a look go to They are mostly small paintings 4x5 or 4x6, but really neat considering they are oils.

    I would like to do a pastel a day soon, but have been having trouble finding any time now that I am back in school making lesson plans, mission statements, behavior plans, taking workshops, setting up an art room, inventoring supplies, setting up bulletin boards, etc. You get the picture. It is stuff that is not too bad to do, but time consuming. I best like the lesson plans as I have had to do examples of each thing for my kids to see. If I can ever get blogger to cooperate I would post some of that sort of thing.

    So someday in the future look for a "pastel painting" a day.


  20. Oh, I dunno. I ignore them until they arrive. But Year's Best is out on the 22nd; I know that much.

    I find some of the art blogs to be very interesting--it's fun to see somebody trying out new materials and techniques.

    On the other hand, the internet is often a great big fat sinful waste of time!

  21. The only I am looking forward to in September is your blog starting back up.

    I find your commentary on life encouraging, and I am just really struggling to finish a miserable paper.There is just this class and one other between me and graduation, and I just feel like I can't rally my spirits enough to get myself out of panic or deer in university head lights.

  22. Miss Susanna, that is either very sweet or very crazy.

    Just remember what Doctorow says about writing (a story, but it'll work for a paper): it may be dark and foggy and miserable, but all you have to be able to see is what's just in front of your headlights. You can go all the way home just like that.

    See you in September!

  23. Hi,

    I certainly was not in the least bothered that some of the stories in Salon Fantastique (including yours) had a young adult feel -- and I didn't intend for my review to give that impression. (I can't see it myself in what I wrote, but I suppose it might not read the way I meant it to.) I quite enjoy YA stories.

    It was simply an observation. I had wondered if the more YA-ish pieces might have originally been aimed for a planned anthology more in the mode of Ellen and Terri's The Green Man or something, which then morphed into a more adult-aimed book. I hadn't thought of Sharyn November's Firebirds books (which have been quite good), but it makes sense that "Concealment Shoes" (a very fine story which stays with me quite nicely) might have been aimed at one of her books, too.

    All best,
    Rich Horton

  24. Rich Horton,

    What fun--I'm glad you dropped in! Did I sound thin-skinned about the "y.a." issue? I hope not; I try for rhino skin, or at least naugahyde. And you were certainly right--it was written with Sharyn at the back of my mind.

    She just picked up a story yesterday for Firebirds 3, by the by... It's set in north Georgia.

    Thanks for coming by--truly, I'm not bothered about the "y.a." remark. I tend to feel that other people see those distinctions more clearly than I do, so I am interested in how people categorize my stories. As a kid, I certainly mixed "children's" and "adult" stories, and there weren't so many gradations in between.

    Thanks again...

  25. My dear Marly, I am probably thickheaded from eating too many oysters, but I find it hard to follow the phoenix's latest incarnations, so may I just congratulate you on what is surely more recognition and exposure and then wander off in search of Alka-Seltzer?
    Your friend,
    The Walrus, or maybe it's the Carpenter

  26. Oops. Sorry!

    Think it was just getting too monstrous. The bird has been plucked, trimmed, wings tied for roasting.

  27. youve had 2006 by the balls!

    "Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash."

    Leonard Cohen

  28. Why thank you, Miss Susanna of the Alabamian Hat Society!


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.