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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Guest-editing "qarrtsiluni" with poet Ivy Alvarez

Call for Submissions:
Insecta at qarrtsiluni.

We live in a kingdom of insects. Glancing from the infinitesimally small fairyfly to the giant stick insect, we find that this is a weird and various world. The catalogue of nocturnal moths, thrips, butterflies, caddisflies, angel insects, snow fleas, bristletails, mayflies, silverfish, and bugs is endless and the names evocative.

For this issue of qarrtsiluni, we are interested in art — poem, painting, story, nonfiction, photograph — inspired by insects. We are equally interested in writing about insects, being just as enamored by Thoreau’s ant battle in Walden as Frost’s butterflies, “Tossed, tangled, whirled and whirled above, / Like a limp rose-wreath in a fairy dance.”

We expect a wild variety of explorations on this subject, with work undergoing that mysterious metamorphosis of revision, to be finally shined up to a high beetle-like polish. In insects, the final step in transformations leads to the fully-formed imago — Latin plural, imagines.

Go to for more information about my fellow editor. For more information about qarrtsiluni, jump to Dave Bonta and Beth Adams (editors and founders) have added some new general information about submissions.

For a little reminder of how wild, wacky, and wonderful the insect kingdom is, try hopping here. Here's a paragraph cut from the description above that suggests some of the insect world's variety: "Consider the form and nature of insects and how that might relate to the shape and colour of a poem, story, nonfiction sketch, or image: insectus, or 'cut into sections'; Goliath, a beetle; the framework of exoskeleton; coevolution with flowers; the grasshopper and the cricket; refined organs for perception; the mysteries of flight; the ability to walk on water; emission of light or sound or scents to communicate; compound eyes; a nymph; incomplete metamorphosis and complete metamorphosis and hyper-metamorphosis; egg; larva; pupa; cocoon."

If I know you, know that I will refrain from making the very final decision on anything you might send, though I'll vouch that you're a good egg! As I'm especially busy this month--the usual maniacal pace plus company, two of my children in "Beauty and the Beast," a husband going off to Montana for a jolly wilderness adventure, my birthday on Thanksgiving Day, etc.--I may not be quite as speedy as I would like. But please send, whether I know you in the web or in the world, or whether you are a stranger.

Photo credit: I'm usually scrupulous about attributions and using public domain work, but I couldn't resist posting the glasswings that I received in my email on November 2. Their arrival seemed all luck and serendipity, as I hadn't mentioned qarrtsiluni to the sender. If anybody knows how and to whom I can credit these pictures, please tell me.


  1. Sounds good, Marly! I'm thinking a lot about insects at the moment by coincidence so I shall have a go if I can...

  2. This sort of topic is made for you, I suppose: uniting scientific understanding with first-rate writing.

    I've had a couple of other e-friends write to say they're going to stick a pin in the butterfly... So it will be interesting to see what turns up in the box. Come one, come all!

  3. What a rich topic! And what a full month you have, but don't you always! And happy birthday, early, since I'll be in the throes of jetlag on the day itself. I hope I can find the time for some insect-inspired drawing and painting, because it would be such fun to participate again. Good luck with Beauty and the Beast and all the rest of the creatures in your Cooperstown/hearthside repertory company.

  4. Younger daughter has just pulled a leg off a type of grasshopper which is unmoved and attached to our ceiling. This upset her a lot until I pointed out that is was already dead and if she hadn't touched it would have fallen off eventually. It is actually rather a pretty one, bright green and more like an overgrown aphid. It was last seen alive in the bathroom and made a very successful escape.

    Our weather has been very unusual this year. The Frenchmen didn't come because the buddleia flowered too early. See last years here;

    Loved your last post too Marly.

  5. Yes, do, Laura!

    I'm looking forward to hearing about your travel books in France. And seeing what you see vicariously.


    I'm glad she's kind to dead grasshoppers...

    "The Frenchmen didn't come because the buddleia flowered too early." What does that mean? Do they come to see buddleia? I shall have to pay a visit and find out.

  6. I love the comparing of shapes of creatures with poetry...
    Thanks for the thought on a Monday morning..

  7. Nice bugs! No, really. This link is to a wonderful site I bumped into a couple years ago concerning dragonflies; these guys are pros.

    See the Dragonfly catalog section (and enlargements)

    Frank M

  8. Hi Jan--

    Now maybe you can tell us what it means! That seemed to be the most daunting part of the description I wrote, so I tossed it out. But I'm glad you like it.

    Hello, dear cuz--

    Will do. You are an expert bug photographer yourself, but I didn't issue an invitation because: a. I didn't issue any except this; and b., you are my cousin, and I didn't want to commit nepotism!

    Although I suppose the great thing about co-editors is that one can get out of the way and let the other one manage some things.

  9. Hey Marly,

    I just posted on my blog about the DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS celebration we had at our local arts council. Coincidentaly my mask has a dragon fly on it.

    I may try to submit something later as well.

  10. Come one, come all!

    That was an interesting-sounding set of workshops.

  11. I thought I had commented on this post. Now I am going to have to reread it to see what I was going to say.

  12. Hey Susanna--
    Always glad to see you passing through... We're going to put up an image today at qarrtsiluni. And have some acceptances piled up awaiting final letters. So there will be more to look at soon.

  13. Gee, would you like a horror story about a bug i never felt or saw but nonetheless laid me low and scared me for life? Actually, it's quite boring: i simply "got bit", on my wee little toe by--everyone assumes it was a spider even though they tested me for all kinds of other things like Lyme's--and i ended up flat on my back for a month with my swollen foot in the air, sporting ugly little Vienna sausages poking out where toes should have been.

    One would think i'd have become prejudiced, but no...the only time i get nervous about spiders these days is when one appears in the car while i'm driving and i've got sandals on...which happens quite often since i transport dozens of pots of plants all spring, summer and fall.

    Anyway...long way 'round to asking:
    i've a photo with a cute crawly in it (from this summer)...can it be sent by itself or do the editors require that it come with prose, too?

  14. Arachnids aren't insects, don't forget!

    My family has a 3-generation spider war going. My mother was bitten by a brown recluse, and the doctors thought her years of allergy shots saved her arm--black to the shoulder. Then I had a sneaky one crawl inside my nightgown and bite me, and the bite metamorphosed into a big cyst, my personal grade-a Large egg. And my daughter was bitten 14 times while she was sleeping at summer camp.

    Another thing I really detest is being stung by saddle-back caterpillars in the garden. Never happen up here, but it did down South.

    We are all no doubt in a large weird club of the bitten.

    Yes, send a picture, although the rules say I must defer to my co-editor when it comes to e-friends. However, I shall put in a word for zephyr's garden. Be sure and include a link to site/blog, as qarrtsiluni is an outgrowth of the blog world.

  15. Yikes...what a group blog that would make...The Club of the Bitten. Your family's saga is somethin'!! Bugs...and their remarkable sizes...are one of the things my sister liked least about living in Florida.

    Yeah, spiders aren't bugs...but since i never saw what it was that bit, i keep wondering: bug or spider?...whatever it was, it had to be tiny not to be felt in that very tight place between those toes.

    OK, i'll send the pic of the bug.

  16. There are many weird tiny things in the grass...

    Yes, do, zephyr.

    And for all you thinking about it but not leaving a message to say so (and for those who did), Dave Bonta has an essay about qarrtsiluni up here:

  17. I have dedicated a "Happy Memories" poem to you Marly. The memories are of standing in front of a thousand people reciting that poem at a rather tender age!

    The best moment was the relief when it was over!!!

  18. I have dedicated a "Happy Memories" poem to you Marly. The memories are of standing in front of a thousand people reciting that poem at a rather tender age!

    The best moment was the relief when it was over!!!

    So when your poems are recited you will now know the moment when it is most appreciated!

    I tease, I am looking forward to buying one of your books in London later in the month when I am in London twiddling my thumbs waiting for someone to come into the gallery and buy something!

  19. Well, good luck finding one!

    Here books that are called "literary" (which mine have the fortune, good or ill, to be called) don't stay on the bookstore shelves very long--it used to be a 3-month window before returns and sales were considered at an end. I suppose the online bookstore is good for the "midlist" writer...

    Thank you for the dedication. I shall go peek, despite the horrible busy-ness of my week. The musical has started its run in a blaze of high school glory. B and R are elated and having fun, inlaws and a new freezer are both set to arrive at 2:00, and my husband's packed to leave for Montana. Complicated.

  20. I'll do an internet purchase then before I go!

    But how awful to have got it wrong- November- I mean. It was the insects and Novemeber that sparked it in the first place.

    No butterflies--no bees etc.

    I have righted it for you though with the full version!!!

  21. Yes, it's good to get poems just right, as they're perishable creatures. Thank you for that flourish of Hood-no-ing!

  22. Speaking of insects, have you seen the movie "Bug" with Ashley Judd? It's a thriller with a twist ending. Makes you think of the little critters in a whole new way...

  23. Enjoying reading Marly, including Earl of Huntingdon in flouncy bloomers, I've never satisfactorily established what those things were called, there's doublet and hose but what about the nether garments between?
    Am resisting commenting about q. editorship as I've submitted already, and have the impression it is exceptionally inundated owing to the astonishing popularity of both its editors who, I have to say are a dream team and would say so even if I wasn't putting anything up for it!
    Insects do seem oddly popular don't they?

  24. Hi b. q.,

    Nope, haven't. Should I?


    Thanks for the compliments; I like working with Ivy. And it's good working with somebody else because then the other person can make the final decision on people you know. It's also interesting to see another person's evaluation and compare it.

    Yes, we do have more submissions than they have had in the past, according to Dave. Some people send a lot, too! If it doesn't go in on the first go-round, try again.

    I'm snowed under because of the 3-night run of the musical that two of my children are in, but I'll be moving faster starting Monday, I hope.

  25. Marly, this is an embarassing confession. I was idly 'Googling' my name... yes I know that's a hideously nerdy thing to have done, and it truly only happens infrequently... when I came across a brief reference to me you left on Chris Miller's site. (Not a fan of mine it would appear! But he's very entertaining and maybe one day I may win him round.) Curiosity aroused, I came to visit your blog, and I stayed... and stayed... and stayed... missing breakfast and only tearing myself away when I heard a tantalising rattle from the humane mouse trap in our larder. (We live in an old house in rural Wales, and 'wood mice' seem to wander in and out as though dropping by for a snack at their local café. They're so enchanting I rather look forward to catching them. Indeed despite the fact that I ferry them a mile into the woods before releasing them, I suspect the same little critters return repeatedly, so 'untraumatised' are they by sitting quietly in the trap for a couple of hours eating chocolate while waiting for me. But I digress!) Marly I love your site. Your writing really hits the spot for me. Later today I shall visit Amazon and order some of your books. I hope you don't mind being contacted by this distant, fledgling admirer. And I apologise for leaving this in a comment box, but I couldn't find a 'contact' button on your site.

    All the very best greetings from Clive Hicks-Jenkins.

  26. Clive,

    My socks have been knocked off a mile or more, flown off to some distant wood where wild chocolate-scented mice are snuggling down in the knitted heels and toes for an autumn nap! I am so, so ridiculously pleased by this surprise. This is my very favorite thing about the web...

    Though I've never seen your work "in the flesh," I had that wonderful "kindred" feeling when I first discovered images of your pictures; I am glad that you found me. I think the "Temptations of Solitude" were the first ones I saw. And some of the things you've written about your paintings and works-on-paper--like the accounts of your father and the Mari Lwyd--have stuck hard in my head. Maybe there's something Welsh-loving there as well, as my most interesting ancestors (shall we say, the liveliest trouble-makers, the firebrands, the peppery Revolutionaries) appear to be Welsh.

    Chris is a bit of a curmudgeon at times, as he is the first to admit, but I love people who are funny and opinionated. Through his site, I e-know a little group of sculptors, and that's interesting.

    As for the email address, I took it down due to the usual thing: Deluge of Spam. But if you write me at camellia [at] marlyyoumans [dot] com, the note will be forwarded to my private mailbox--and I can write you back from there.

    Trala, how jolly--

  27. rying to pic out a good Thanksgiving hat picture on my blog. You should vote. So far, Flight of the Turkey Hat is winning.

  28. Hey, Miss galiquan Susanna--

    Shall have to go inspect the hats. One needs a proper hat for the giving of thanks!


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.