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, June 08, 2013

Slog & sundry (+ requests)

Ruth Sanderson, from The Twelve Dancing Princesses
I'm afraid today is a Great Slog Day. Ruth Sanderson is coming soon, and I must quarry out the guest room, which is full of rummage sale items--too much stuff in this house!--and Scouts gear from the trip to the Grand Canyon. Do you know Ruth? Here she is at her Golden Studio, where you can learn about her painting and books. I met her when I was writer-in-residence at Hollins in 2010, and we had fine walks and talks (as I also did with then-MFA-student-and-now-teacher-and-writer-and-blogger Robin Rudd) and have a good deal in common. I am so glad that Amanda Cockrell (writer and director of the MFA in Children's Literature) and Hollins invited me to visit the MFA program; I enjoyed myself and made some grand new friends and acquaintances. (I'm not doing anything of the kind this summer, as I am going to tour a bit and focus on children and writing the rest of the time, but next year I will be doing a week-long poetry workshop at Antioch and maybe more....)

I've just done something that I never think to do, and have gone back and looked at the last six weeks to see what people are most interested in. And was pleased by the fact that lots of people keep reading even after the day is past. People appear to have been most drawn to the Tesla post from yesterday, one on Isaac Bashevis Singer, the Commonweal review of A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage, the "word-doodling" post, the seven deadlies, my mother (!) and her weaving, pictures of the house in Thaliad, "the value of art" post, the little post with links to Jeff Sypeck's review of Thaliad, a Lady Ise post, and one on Traherne.

I confess to being one of those bloggers (maybe it's all bloggers) who now and then think to jettison the whole enterprise. But I'm pleased that so many passers-by have paused to read. I wish that I had time to return the favor, as so many of you are bloggers, but in truth my life has become busy enough that I rarely do so.

Please leave a request or a question (questions are easier because more specific, usually) if you have something you'd like to see here. Or ask for someone--Susanna tends to ask for the Pot Boy--or some former guest. Requests and questions are always inspiring to the daily blogger.

I close with a list of links to my recent, in-print books. Careful. These paper children are looking for a home in your brain!

Marly, recent and elsewhere:
  • Thaliad's adventure in blank verse, with art by artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins of Wales (Montreal: Phoenicia, 2012) here and here 
  • The Foliate Head's collection of poems with art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins, Stanza Press (UK) here
  • A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage (novel) from Mercer University Press (currently ForeWord 2013 finalist in the general fiction category; The Ferrol Sams Award, 2012) here
  • The Throne of Psyche, collection of formal poetry from Mercer, 2011, here
  • Samples from my 2011-12 books at Scribd.
  • See tabs above for information on individual books, including review clips.


  1. Enjoy your visit! The workshop at Antioch sounds great. I thought about applying for their visiting writing position for this summer but came upon it only a day before the application was due, so let it go.
    I wish now that I had applied. My job ends next week. Not another one in sight.

  2. I thought about it as well, but my summer already contains a lot of set dates for ferrying children and doing events. There are quite a few one-week gigs, too.

  3. p. s. I'll bet there are some things near you--a lot of art associations offer ongoing classes that include writing, and so do some museums. Schools, of course, but also unexpected places.

  4. I often feel as if those of us who are still blogging have been left behind by those who got raptured into the crass Facebook afterlife, but it's a medium I won't give up, even if I sometimes wonder if I should. I've rarely been in sync with trends, and besides, every writer needs a place to publish the stuff that might not find a welcome home anyplace else.

  5. Jeff,

    I have to confess to being on both twitter and facebook! And I've had good things happen to my books because of both--people buying, or one editor talking about me to another or a critic, etc. Paul Digby started making videos of my poems after I became friends with his artist wife; I knew her a long time before I met him.

    But you are right. Facebookers indeed can be crass and let a little too much hang out... And I've been turned off by a few people on twitter, either because they were nonstop boasters or because they were unclean in the head.

    The other fun thing about facebook is that people I knew decades ago have gotten in touch, a thing that is usually good (so far, anyway!)

    I like the variety on your blog, and also the ongoing threads of interest, particularly the medievalizing, Gothicizing of America.

  6. No confession necessary! I'm on both Twitter and Facebook; I find the former overwhelming but the latter often useful, when it isn't too noisy.

    What saddened me was seeing all sorts of interesting, distinctive people letting their blogs die very quickly when Facebook became the place to be. I love this medium; it's wonderfully defiant of trends.

  7. Defiant of trends! Like that. And stretching, I think; it's a challenge to write something every day and be varied (and not descend into confession--though some like that) and, one hopes, interesting and not too time-consuming.


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.