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

Monday, May 05, 2014

Rowing my little boat--

At Quail Ridge Books of Raleigh.
Photo by Michael Poteat of Greenville--his wife, Gail McIntosh,
went to high school with me and is just out of this picture,
but on my right is another high school classmate and at left
the big sister of a classmate. Joann Sumner and her husband
put up with me while I was in Raleigh for readings last year.
In answer to some what-are-you-up-to questions: I've been writing lyric poems and very small stories recently. At the moment, I'm just too busy with all sorts of commitments to start the novel I have in mind. I also need to do some final work on some nearly-finished manuscripts.

Small stories are odd, as they often leave out elements of a longer tale. Some are so little they feel more like vignettes or gnomic tales, and what's left out becomes important. Most are under three pages. There's no time to mess around, and that's something I like, having started playing with words as a poet.
I've never been terribly concerned novel-fattening, and think a great many novels are way too long. But maybe that's the thought of a poet more than a reader.

So I'm having fun in my bits of free time. That's most of the story-and-poem news, save that Glimmerglass is coming together at the designer's and looks wondrous, that I'll be teaching at the Antioch workshops in the summer, and that I'll have some online poetry publications to share soon.

Image at right is a little vignette by Clive Hicks-Jenkins from Glimmerglass. This cunning little robin is made of painted papers with a few drawn and painted additions. While the book's visual ingredients looked quite splendid and enough to please anyone, word from Clive is that he's adding some last-minute "printers' flowers"* and a little something for the title page.
*A fleuron is a typographic element, or glyph, used either as a punctuation mark or as an ornament for typographic compositions. Fleurons are stylized forms of flowers or leaves; the term derives from the Old French word floron for flower. Robert Bringhurst in The Elements of Typographic Style calls the forms "horticultural dingbats." It is also known as a printers' flower, or more formally as an aldus leaf (after Italian Renaissance printer Aldus Manutius), hedera leaf, or simply hedera (ivy leaf) symbol. From "Fleuron (typography)" in Wikipedia.


  1. Never an idle moment. You have been my inspiration and model since I have embarked on the life of a full-time writer, but I flag, unlike you.

    1. What a sweet thing to say, Robbi! Thank you.

      You've accomplished a lot in the past few years.

  2. Aye, as Robbi said!

    The words 'fleuron' and 'horticultural dingbats' are delightful, as is their use by Clive in your books and frequently here as well!

    1. Yes, I love those glyph-fleuron-horticultural-dingbat-aldus-leaf-hedera terms! What fun... And thank you. And now, back to a bit of exercise in repentance for a chocolate splurge!


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.