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, February 23, 2013

Thaliad / surprise / artist and reader

The week past

was a pleasant one for Thaliad, with wonderful things said privately and on the net. As a number of people have asked me if there is anything they can do for Thaliad or another of my 2012 books (A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage, The Foliate Head, and Thaliad), and as I seem to be irredeemably shy about asking people to do anything at all, I am linking to a pretty good list (from somebody who is not a bit shy about telling us!) of what anyone can do for any newish book they want to help. It's accurate enough, though I think that the importance of "likes" and reviews for Amazon's secret algorithm is underestimated. Those things change how (in)visible a book is, and determine whether it comes up as an alternative in searches and "you might like" lists, as well as in such things as Amazon newsletters.

A surprise 

that I hope people will find pleasant is on the way! If you want a hint, go here, although it won't be quite like what has gone before. I'm feeling pleased and glad that other people like Thaliad and want to celebrate it. I'll be recording a portion of the poem this week in advance of this interesting surprise...

Addendum: I wasn't so sure that people would be lured by surprise, but now that I have seen some immediate remarks by people at twitter and facebook, I feel pressed to add here that the work at the link was done by the marvelous Paul Digby, who is a fascinating man--UK-born composer, videographer, photographer, painter, bespoke framemaker, carpenter, etc. He has an artistic sensibility that affects everything he touches. Thank you, Paul!

I left a quote

on poet Dale Favier's blog yesterday, in response to some comments on his second post on Thaliad. I remembered the quote this morning and add it in here, as I think it sums up something I believe and also pays tribute to readers as co-artists:
If an author interprets a poem of his own he limits its suggestibility... Ultimately meaning in art--both meaning of literary symbol and of that greater symbol the work of art itself--is a joint achievement of artist and audience. As the artist pounds into his symbol all the richness he can summon, as he 'takes a word and derives the world from it,' so to the symbol the intelligent reader brings all of the past he has been able to gather into himself. --John Unterecker, from his guide to Yeats

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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.