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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Self-portrait at qarrtsiluni

"Self-portrait as Dryad, no. 7" is up at qarrtsiluni: There's a podcast and a place for comments, so I'll turn them off here as I'm sure qarrtsiluni and Beth Adams and Dave Bonta (the Bontasaurus) have earned any love that comes along.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Book of the Year + 2009 news

Wouldn't it be surprising if a little novel published in a foreign country and in a limited edition caught a "Book of the Year" notice anywhere in the U.S.? We don't seem to pay that much attention to books in short runs, published on the other side of the ocean. I didn't imagine such a thing--though I've been on such lists before, the idea of Val/Orson even making a "Top Ten" list never drifted anywhere near my mind.

But here it is at the end of a list by John Wilson, the editor of Books & Culture:

Book of the Year:

Val/Orson. Marly Youmans. PS Publishing. I quote from Catherynne Valente's excellent introduction to this novella: "It is Shakespearean in its sensibility, with its enchanted wood, its twins, its doubling and quadrupling of couples and families, its fairy brood. It is difficult to say that it is a fantasy novel, and difficult to say it isn't." The word "magical" has been overused and misused to such an extent that it has perhaps lost its potency, but this tale, set among the redwoods of Northern California, is truly magical. I'm sorry it is not as easily obtained as the others on this list, but I can attest—having ordered it from the UK myself—that it is by no means inaccessible. And you will be amply rewarded. More than any other book I read in 2009, this one insistently came to mind.

I was very, very surprised; I am even more pleased!

(And see the post below for news about a Christmas sale on Val/Orson and other P. S. Publishing books...)

* * *

Here are a few more good bookish things that came my way in 2009:

One of them has to be publishing Val/Orson with publisher Pete Crowther and editor Nick Gevers's P. S. Publishing (U.K.). A bonus on this was getting to mull ideas with my penpal Clive Hicks-Jenkins and then see him draw out of his magical hat a most marvelous cover/jacket. In addition, I got to know Robert Freeman Wexler, writer and book designer.

On top of all that, Clive sent me the painting for the jacket...

I am very glad to have a forthcoming hardover / softcover collection of poems: The Throne of Psyche (Mercer University Press, 2011). Our times are not of the best for poets, particularly for ones like me who like to romp in the mind-freeing chains of formal verse... To be asked for a manuscript in these days is sweet. The title poem can be seen here (scroll down)..

At last I have written a book for my third child. I'm not quite done--still typing in changes scribbled on the manuscript--but am almost there. That makes one book for each child of mine, and so may be the end of children's books for me, but who knows?

Last, I have had some encouragement in the midst of the doomy gloom that swirls around publishing by way of a bountiful--a quite exceptional--crop of queries from publishers and editors this year. This despite the fact that I have never received what is known as “a push” in the industry… Encouragement is a lovely thing for a “mid-list writer” who clings to her own way of making poems and stories.

Monday, December 07, 2009


P. S. Publishing is having a Christmas sale: 3 books for the price of 2. Now you could use Val/Orson in multiples of three, couldn't you? And many other books as well.
Broad jump to

Friday, December 04, 2009

"It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee": the 4th FLEA

THE FLEA, broadsheet no. 4

Like the very best sort of vampire--not sparkly, not sappy, and juicy with blood--The Flea leaps onto the stage of the mortal world.

Epigraphic poem: Borrowed Tactics by Mark Allinson
Dionysus and Apollo by Thomas Zimmerman
The Memoir Artists by Marly Youmans
When Jesus Was Grown by Gail White
The Reading by Timothy Murphy
Sticking Point by Rick Mullin
The Auguries Road-Kill by David W. Landrum
Buried Lines by Rose Kelleher
Double or Quits by Clive James
Genesis by Jan Iwaszkiewicz
Practising by Midge Goldberg
There at the Frontier by Richard Epstein
On Correctness by Ann Drysdale
Valediction: Demanding Remorse by Kevin Cutrer
Twickenham Stadium by Norman Ball
Down Slope by Gene Auprey
Bell’s Theorem by Mark Allinson
What Light I Can Conjure by Mary Alexandra Agner