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Friday, October 19, 2012

Midori Snyder on Thaliad

Novelist Midori Snyder has written a lovely piece about the upcoming Thaliad on her blog, In the Labyrinth. She has read the book twice, a thing I love--rereading is the best reading--and has some interesting things to say about it in her post, "The Sublime Collaboration of Author Marly Youmans and Artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins: Thaliad." 

She also sent a blurb that draws on the review but is somewhat different from it. I appreciate her time and consideration, reading the book twice and then writing a blog post about it.

Perhaps I should say that I did not think of the poem as one that would be marketed to young people even though they hold the starring roles in most of the dramatic action. But Midori has taught young men, 15-18, and she thinks the poem would do well with that age group.  

Me, I hope it will do well with the 15-115 age group! 

Nevertheless, I think there's only gain in widening the audience to include teens, and I will be interested to see if a long blank verse poem appeals to that age group. Here is a blurb Midori wrote (similar to the review) for the book:
Marly Youmans’ The Thaliad offers a healing balm to the swath of nihilistic post-apocalyptic fiction for young adults. Told in free verse reminiscent of heroic epics (Homer meets Gerald Manley Hopkins),  and packed with fairy tale and mythic references, The Thaliad recounts the aftermath of a fiery apocalypse, and the perilous journey of a band of children led by a girl whose prophetic visions guide them to a sanctuary on the edge of a lake. Here, they confront the challenges of re-creating the world – a world illuminated by hope and love.
Youmans has given young adults a wondrous text filled with richly layered and evocative poetry. Like a bardic tale, it demands to be read aloud. The images of nature are sensual, fertile, a source of healing. Violence is hammered into fierce staccato rhythms and Thalia’s ecstatic visions soar with heat and light as the human spirit is consoled by the divine. We are not spared the hardships of the journey, but through the storyteller’s voice we have confidence in our destination—it is this commitment to the angels of our better nature in Youmans' sublime poetry that gives Thaliad its power to inspire hope out of fear and love out of hate.
Interesting thought about the five blurbs-to-be-revealed for this book: They're rather long and will have to be snipped for the rear of the jacket/cover, but three out of five talk about loving to hear it outloud. I like that because I care intensely how my poems sing and sound.

Coming tomorrow: hobbits and habits, dwarves and rather short people (like me), the arts, books, the peddler's pack, a royal report...


  1. " it demands to be read aloud."
    Oh... how I loved to read this being said by someone else! I think (the snippets I have seen) DO demand to resonate as much in the air and in the mind. The latter happens upon reading, the former is the act required in order to dive in and retrieve further treasures still.

    Marly, you (quietly) produce completely stunningly beautiful work. No-one could wish for more, but I wish you wonderful success with this book of poetry.
    You deserve that, and more people deserve the opportunity to read it (and 'success' in distribution does that).

    I must now go to the complete blog of Midori Snyder.
    Something tells me I am going to enjoy that also!

  2. Hey, thank you so much, Mr. Digby... Praise and general encouragement is much appreciated!

    And Midori talks about many wonderful things on her blog--you will be lost "In the Labyrinth."


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.