Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Saturday, April 02, 2011

With Paul Digby and "The Birthday Roses" on youtube

I promised a surprise to my facebook friends, and I promised it by midnight. I hope they'll forgive me for the slowness of uploads. I meant it as a bit of a salute to April Fool's Day, but the Day is tricksy and shook me into the 2nd.

So here's the Fool from my ongoing project, The Book of the Red King. And it's all thanks to the composing and photography and video-making of that lovely man, Paul Digby.

You may find the Fool at youtube: or you may look down the right-hand panel of this page and see a smaller version there in the youtube section.

If you would like to see the text of the poem, it may be found at qarrtsiluni as part of Two Poems from the Plant Kingdom:

The illustration is of a painting by my penpal Graham Ward, "The King in Finisterre." I chose it in honor of the Fool's devotion to the Red King. Looking at Graham's fools and kings set me off in that direction once more back in October. I'd fooled with fools before, but never so much and so foolishly as in these past few months.

Thanks, Graham! Thanks, editors of qarrtsiluni! And most of all, thank you to Paul.


  1. Marly,

    Alexander was watching your poem video and asked "What is a corolla?" He then asked "What is a Camry?"

    He really does want to know what a corolla is. We will look it up on wikipedia apparently.


  2. Gary,

    Be sure and tell Alexander that his questions made me happy!

    Children are wondrous.

    The beauty and humor of insufficient knowledge...

  3. Hey, and thanks to all you twits (twitterites? tweety birds?) and facebookers who have been passing through today--and for notes elsewhere! Much appreciated.

  4. Paul, what a terrific video, and Marly, what a great reading! A definite and appropriate treat for April 1. (And I can't say enough about Graham Ward's paintings - they really touch me.)

  5. Beth,

    Thanks! The timing was a good accident.

    Yes, there is a great sweetness about Graham's painting. I hope he has more time to paint this year. I may get to see him in May. I hope so!

  6. Wow Marly, your poems are stunning. I really like the Nesting Doll maybe the best. It really resonated with me.

    Speaking of resonating. I love your voice. Its very singsong, really my favorite kind of voice--light and without forced vibrato.

    You should keep making these videos. Maybe one of your poems could get in the listing for Poetry Out Loud. That would be so exciting.

  7. Thanks, Susannah--

    I'm really glad you liked them. Paul will be doing more once he's back from the UK.

    My natural voice was higher. I've lowered it over the years, though I still sing high. I didn't like the way mine sounded when recorded...

  8. I remember reading your wonderful poem at qarrtsiluni! But where have I seen that dreamy illustration before?

  9. marja-leena,

    You saw it on Clive's artlog, I imagine, because Clive has done maybe four posts about Graham Ward. One with his little restaurant, one with a painting he and Peter own, and two that had lots of images of his work.


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.