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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Readings for the 12 Days of Christmas: New Year's Lists

Photograph: Frost Patterns 3 courtesy of and Vladimir Fofanov of Moscow.


Forthcoming books of poetry and fiction:
1. First up: THE THRONE OF PSYCHE (Mercer University Press, March 2011) poetry collection. I’m getting the galleys in on Wednesday, and I can tell you that they look pretty! The leaves on the jacket detail by Clive Hicks-Jenkins keep falling inside the book…

2. GLIMMERGLASS ( UK: P. S. Publishing), a sort of dream vision novel involving pursuit of the muse, love, floods, labyrinths, and murder, all set in an alternative Cooperstown.

3. THE FOLIATE HEAD (UK: Stanza Press) is the leafiest book on record and will green your head with wild formal poems.

4. MAZE OF BLOOD (UK: P. S. Publishing) was inspired by the life of that intriguing pulp writer, Robert Howard. I’d add the “E.” but he’s under copyright! I had a blast writing the pieces “by” the protagonist.

5. THALIAD (Montreal: Phoenicia Publishing, late 2011). Post-apocalyptic epic in blank verse, centered on a group of children.

6. A DEATH AT THE WHITE CAMELLIA ORPHANAGE (Mercer University Press). The Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction. (Outside judge.) Depression-era story that was inspired by my father’s youth and adventures on the rails. (Several times he ran away from the cotton fields and rode the rails; later on he became a teenage tailgunner on a B-17 in World War II and then a PhD in analytical chemistry. Hurrah for the G. I. bill! Sharecropper’s boy to full professor: that’s an American tale.)

Looking at that list, you may possible be impelled to recall and take to heart the immortal words of poet Kenneth Patchen: “People who say they love poetry and never buy any are cheap sons-of-bitches!” Pithy, huh? We could extend it to novels by poets, no?

Other happy things here or coming:

1. My composer-photographer-and-much-else friend, Paul Digby, is working on two tiny films for my poetry books that are collections of short poems.

2. I’m going to Wales to attend the 60th birthday retrospective of Clive Hicks-Jenkins at the National Library of Wales. Clive did the jacket painting for Val/Orson, and we’re making plans about covers for four of the forthcoming books. The Foliate Head will have not just a cover by him but three gorgeous division pages.

3. Two books will be coming out in honor of Clive's 60th birthday. I have poems in one and what can only loosely be called an essay in the other—actually it’s a batch of semi-fictional pieces. More about those two later on.

4. I’m still working on The Book of the Red King and finding in it a great deal of pleasure.

5. What I’m especially grateful for: I am very pleased that I’ve gotten so many requests for books, given the state of publishing and the tighter focus in New York on the commercial. Moral of this for writers: It really is just fine to pursue your muse wherever he wanders and not be anxious about success or publishing. You may not always be on the list of a major NYC publisher with this way of writing, but you will hew close to the things that are important and write the books you were meant to write.

Writing-related resolutions for 2011:

1. Hit the deadlines on galleys, read-throughs, etc.

2. Add events because, well, that’s a lot of books.

3. And travel more—I’m already planning trips to Wales, NYC, and North Carolina for events, but I’m open to ideas.

4. Submit two manuscripts by the end of the year.

Other hopes for 2011:

1. I hope that TSA shows more transparency and has more oversight because right now I don’t want my daughter of 19 to fly—it is becoming clear that in many places they are targeting attractive young women for pictures and gropage. Let TSA be honest about how it proceeds and what its purposes-in-looking are.

2. I hope that my childhood region (where I still go at least twice a year) of western North Carolina will finally discover the wonder of zoning and quit allowing people who don’t love the place to carve up or bulldoze mountains for Walmart and Lowe’s and other businesses, destroying its beauty for an ugly buck.

3. I hope the “free and open” Western press will wake up to the rapidly increasing number of Christian minorities who are being murdered with impunity around the world—sometimes targeted in or near their churches. The press seldom discusses such unfashionable things as Christians, and it is alarming that these people are simply abandoned to violence and death with very little notice in the West aside from website coverage.

4. I hope that peace increases, little light by little light.

5. I hope Paul “Tree” is a seer when he says that 2011 is going to be a great year!


  1. My, oh my!! What a good year, past and coming for Marvelous Marly. i've purchased poetry of yours and look forward to getting my hands on more, as soon as able.

  2. Oh, good! That makes one. Or two, counting my ever-reliable mother...

  3. Marly,
    I too have bought your work--fiction and poetry-- for myself and for others. However, with so MUCH of the work to buy and us just having bought a house and furniture, I don't think I will be able to buy ALL of it, sorry to say. I have relied on the library to get some of your books in the past and Amazon used books.

  4. RE: Christians--now you know what it feels like to go to synagogue and wonder if someone is going to harass or worse for being there. This goes through people's minds all the time. I am sorry you have to experience it too.

  5. Robinka,

    No worry! Tell your library to get a copy!

    I was really not thinking about U.S. issues like church burnings and harassment but the increased number of bold attacks and murders, particularly in the past year, that happen on the other side of oceans where we don't have to pay attention. Actually there is a long history of persecution in many countries (though the media pays almost zero attention to it here.) But there has been an up-tick in hot-spot violence in the past few years.

  6. Marly, you write so much and so well. Readers will have a time of it just keeping up!
    I was unaware of the troubles Christians abroad are having. I need to read more about this and will do so. Distressing to say the least...
    What a year ahead!

  7. I am afraid that I'll have a time keeping up, too! Must do more events...

    The world is a strange place sometimes; so many want peace, and so few of us have it.

  8. I have noticed with sadness the uptick in violence you speak of! It strikes me that this sort of persecution of Christians has not happened since ancient times.
    I think that the failure to mention it springs from fear that it could happen here as well.
    I know that Jews do not speak of their fear for the most part, but they feel it.

  9. You are busy! Get to work, willya? XD

  10. Robbi,

    Mine is a book-related blog, but I have to say here that the sufferings of one group do not abolish the sufferings of another (I say that because as a Jewish woman you have the need and the obligation to remember), and that we simply can't forget events like the Armenian genocide, that many terrible things have happened since ancient times. Here's an interesting quote about memory from that curious man, Adolf Hitler: "I have given orders to my Death Units to exterminate without mercy or pity, men, women, and children belonging to the Polish speaking race. It is only in this manner we can acquire the vital territory which we need. After all, who remembers the extermination of the Armenians?" 22 August 1939

    Who remembers the extermination of the Armenians? Or what happened in Ukraine, or what is happening now in many countries around the world?

    Good questions.

    The Orthodox church counts Christian martyrs for the 20th century as standing at 50 million. That's an awful lot of men, women, and children. We just don't have to see these things in the West--we aren't reminded of the history or told of the tragic occurences happening right now.

    Here's how destruction in Ukraine, Asia Minor, and elsewhere appears to someone from the Orthodox church:

    The world is full of suffering and has been, always. But this is a kind of suffering that is utterly out of fashion in the West and so is rarely discussed outside of specialty publications. The coverage of a few recent events in mainstream media is unusual. No Western reporter wants to talk about what happens to Christians around the world. It isn't fashionable; after all, Christopher Hitchens might think you are an idiot, and the elite class see you as a fool.

  11. Books are about all sorts of things, Marly. I remember the poet Carolyn Forche talking about the responsibility we have as writers to discuss the things that no one wants to hear, but everyone needs to hear.
    If we are not by nature political writers, and I think that neither you nor I feel comfortable writing in that arena, we owe it to the world to use our other, non-poetic, non-literary writing to discuss them.
    As for the super-cool, super-ironic elite, foo on them. If we never fit into the multitude, why should we care that we do not exactly fit into the intellectual crowd that well either?

  12. Well, clearly I don't give one little hoot! But I'm glad other people feel likewise.

    No-Hoot Club for me.

  13. I have been reading this in mute bafflement (and sadness, really). When one's personal belief becomes part of a social/political weapon against others, great harm is done.
    When will people learn that the individual is NOT the group. but that without the individual there would be no group.
    As an atheist I know that persecution is just as likely to befall me as it does to those of a religious bent. Hitchens may call others fools, but he is a fool to do so...
    Oh.. and I signed in anonymously, Marly. Google does not remember me, still!
    Paul : )

  14. You are right. We are all fragile beings on a beautiful and dangerous ball whirling through space. It is too bad we cannot love one another a little better and understand that we lose nothing by doing so.

    Paul, you need to click on the Name/URL if you want to leave a name at top. Then you can put in your name but skip the URL if you like.

  15. Done. It works!
    Thank you.
    Now I am off to love everyone : )

  16. What a clever fellow you are! I do think you are one who spreads warmth and light (and silliness.) I shall give you a giant leaf too.


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.