Just out: The Book of the Red King, a collection of poems about the mysterious Red King, the lunar Precious Wentletrap, and the transforming Fool (Phoenicia Publishing.) Illuminated by Clive-Hicks-Jenkins. "A must-read and a distinctive, evocative voice. There is no one like Marly Youmans" -Kim Bridgford. Please check out the link above for news, review clips, and more!

Monday, June 09, 2008

8 Days of Poems

While I also have some new poems out in print mags, I have a few in the new issue of Mezzo Cammin: In All Her Gleaming Youth, She Said; Puck in Spring; Snow White in Wildwood; Stones in the Wilderness; Mirror Tree, Tree Mirror; Blurbs of the Poets, no. 1.
The first, second, and fifth are from my spring spate of new poems. All can be read at: http://www.mezzocammin.com/iambic.php?vol=2008&iss=1&cat=poetry&page=youmans.
It has been a month for Diana Wynne Jones book reports. My fifth-grader, N, did a seven-layer cake book report (who dreams up these things?) about Eight Days of Luke. The cake made a cute little book by the end, although there were points when I felt that it might just kill me.
And now R has done a Howl's Moving Castle report mounted on poster board with much embellishment of amusing and pretty drawings in gold... I remember my childhood in school as being much more straightforward and involving pencils.
While she was fooling around on my computer and printing out a few photographs, I noticed this rendition of Miyazaki's version of Howl's castle. The video shows the making of the paper castle over 72 hours by Ben Millett, an attractively-obsessed (at least to other obsessed people like me) geek with cat. And most things do go better with a cat.
And that is a thing well known to Diana Wynne Jones.
I ordered my mother's non-refundable airline ticket for baccalaureate Sunday instead of graduation Sunday. I borrowed two houses, also for the wrong weekend. All relatives have been invited for the wrong weekend.
The word FOOL is glowing on my forehead. Must go wash. Send news of your own foolishness...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

News from the Nest


Lately I have been: very busy; excessively busy; even ridiculously busy. Today was an elevenses day, an important birthday, and in less than a month I shall be buried by much in the way of graduation frolics. Overnight company to the tune of twelve... So I have been chopping and hoeing my yard and drudging and scrubbing my nest in order not to be shamed at various set-at-home events. I long for a gardener and a maid, but I long in vain. If you would like to be my gardener and maid, please inform me by the nearest fast-flying kestrel or any other winged thing—even a grackle would be acceptable.

Thank you for not abandoning me in the midst of my toils, all you note-leavers and email-senders and wafters-by… I have stayed in my burrow and worked, and I have not gone visiting or been much in evidence. Perhaps that is the way things should be. I’m not sure. I’m still thinking about it.

One of the reasons I have been busy is that I paused in the writing of stories and immediately was swept away by a spring spate of poems that has lasted for a pleasing-and-unusual length of time. They are very green, full of leaves and blossomings and mystery and muse. Much form, much narrative, much of a muchness…

Meanwhile I have read several rather stupid books, alas. I seem to have been reading the wrong novels. But I have also been reading Yeats and Charles Causley again, as well as some medieval and Anglo-Saxon poems. Most are re-reads, but I have also read the Robin Hood poems for the first time. It’s hard to say how old they are, as most of the existing copies seem to be rather late. X
June-bug resolution: memorize or revive the memory of one poem per week. We’ll see how long that lasts! This week: re-learned “Margaret, are you grieving.”


Yeats and Blake

For Yeats, who agreed with his mentor Blake that “the thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest,” “works of art are always begotten by previous works of art” and “supreme art is a traditional statement of heroic and religious truths passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned.”


In the “arts just as in ethics . . . all there is or has been on earth of freedom” and “masterly sureness” has developed only because of sustained “obedience” to what the undisciplined resent as “the tyranny . . . of capricious laws.”

The “most natural” state of the artist, “giving form in the moment of inspiration,” is “far from any letting himself go”; strictly and subtly” the artist “obeys thousandfold laws precisely then.”

Nietzsche and Yeats

This paradoxical fusion of autonomy and obedience, of gaiety under self-imposed constraint, is shared by Yeats, who eschews “free verse” in favor of those “traditional meters . . . I compel myself to accept” and without which “I would lose myself, become joyless” (E&I 522).

PHOTOGRAPH courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu/ and Crystal Leigh Shearin of Rocky Mount, North Carolina--a place where I once accidentally left all my nice new clothes in a hotel closet. I remember being a little girl and waking up on the train and seeing a neon sign for Rocky Mount and being happy because I was back home in the South and on my way to see my Aunt Sara in Savannah.