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

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Curling up with words and cats

As child no. 2 has committed the destruction of her first snow tire and put my Corolla temporarily out of commission, I may well be driving my husband's giganteous black truck when you read this post. Soon I shall be out on another kid-ferrying trip, off to the Albany airport, where I hope in my borrowed mightiness and awe-evoking shininess that I do not bump into the mere cars and various lesser creatures on wheels. Here are a few reads while I am away, plus Maya Deren with cats!

D. G. Myers, "What Became of Literary History?"

“I don't need a library to do what I do,” Stanley Fish told Jerome McGann, showing him around the Johns Hopkins campus. All of my students are Stanley Fish. There are no libraries behind their study of literature. Seven decades after John Crowe Ransom named the movement, the New Critics have achieved what they were after. “[T]hough one may consider a poem as an instance of historical and ethical documentation,” Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren had said in Understanding Poetry, “the poem in itself, if literature is to be studied as literature, remains finally the object of study.” The syllabus of nearly every English course is little more than a series of discrete texts which can’t be read historically because no one has any literary history.

Alan Jacobs, "Writing What I Don't Know"

For me, the best prompt for a book, or even a long essay, comes when I realize two things: first, that a particular subject is fascinatingly important, and second, that I don’t know nearly enough to write about it.

Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid made the ultimate "cat video".

You've already watched the Knitted Boyfriend videos and every Maru the cat video ever made? Go back to The Private Life of a Cat.

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Marly, elsewhere:

  • Thaliad's wild epic adventure in verse (Montreal: Phoenicia Publishing, 2012) here and here 
  • The Foliate Head's collection of poems from Stanza Press (UK) here
  • A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage from Mercer University Press (ForeWord 2013 finalist, The Ferrol Sams Award, 2012) here
  • The Throne of Psyche, collection of poetry from Mercer, 2011, here
  • Excerpts from my three 2012 books at Scribd.

2 comments:

  1. When I got to grad school at Yale -- I was a timid Oregon hick from a hippie-dippie no-grades college -- I found that I was by far the best-read of the American grad students. Many of them were making up for lost time with great enthusiasm and gusto, but it struck me as really odd, how little of the canon of English literature these best-and-brightest of English Lit had read, and how little of a connected story it made for them.

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  2. I know exactly what you're talking about, though I was lucky enough to do my grad school stint just before the old guard died off and the bright young theorists took over. And I hear it's a common complaint that many young writers haven't read much...

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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.