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Sunday, November 09, 2014

Review plus post, the Star (NC)

Art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins for Glimmerglass.
A novel turn, rich and strange 

Review, Ben Steelman, StarNews 
(Wilmington, North Carolina) 
9 November 2014
3-page review begins here

Clip: "Fantasy and myth mix with classic whodunit in “Glimmerglass,” the latest novel from poet and South Carolina native Marly Youmans. This is only detective fiction, though, in the sense that “Hamlet” is a play about a kid who can't get along with his stepfather. Youmans takes a couple of overworked genres and makes them undergo a sea change into something rich and strange."

Photo by Paul Digby, July 2014
This one was taken in Ohio right after I taught
at the Antioch Writing Workshops.
The lady behind "Glimmerglass" 

Background post
by Ben Steelman, 
Bookmarks blog
at StarNews Online 
9 November 2014.
Read it here.

Favorite clips:

...Youmans writes one of the best writers's blogs in the ether...

Youmans’ poetry collections include “Thaliad,” “The Throne of Psyche” and “Claire.” I have been meaning to write for years about “The Foliate Head,” her 2012 poem cycle about the Green Man, published in Britain by Stanza Press, which must rank as one of the most beautiful books of the 21st century. Notable are the illustrations and illuminations by the Welsh artist Clive Hicks Jenkins. Jenkins also did the artwork for “Glimmerglass.” *

*Glimmerglass, Thaliad, and The Foliate Head all contain exterior and extensive interior artwork by Clive, and his art is also on the cover of The Throne of Psyche and Val/Orson. The design work on The Foliate Head is by Andrew Wakelin, wonderful UK designer.

Thank you, Mr. Steelman!

* * *

crew list here
There's a typo in the blog post that I find amusing. My father was a sharecropper's kid and teenage tail gunner on the WWII Incendiary Blonde who, thanks to the G. I. bill, later became a professor of analytical chemistry. (His teen train escapades, his farm home, and his father's love for one of his mixed race brothers influenced the creation of Pip in A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage.) As a professor, he couldn't help butting heads with administrators and often said, "The lightweights float right to the top." And so I found it comical that he appears as a college president rather than professor... He also liked to quote Lewis Carroll's "I'm mad. You're mad. We're all mad." That one is a little more generous, as it puts us all in the same zany boat!

If you click on the picture, you'll see my handsome young father standing at far right. Hubert Lafay Youmans of Lexsy, Georgia... Hu. His hand looks a little odd--swollen from a fistfight in town the night before.


  1. Ah, it's all so good! Congratulations. And now here is where I become a thief: I so much like the quote from Lewis Carroll via your father that I will be using it often. Of course, we need to understand and embrace our madness; yet, if we could only figure out precisely when and where we fell through the hole (like Alice), well, we could be almost sane again.

    1. Yes, we need our little paper children to get some attention now and then.

      The Alice quote is good--highly useful in many situations! I adored the Alice books, and even had a record that included the Mad Hatter's tea party... So I'm sure he bumped into that quote fairly often.

  2. Congrats on the review, Marly! I'm hoping to carve out some time to read the book itself over my Christmas break.

    On another note: If your father served with the Eighth Air Force, you might someday enjoy visiting the Mighty Eighth Museum in (alas!) Pooler. It's a terrific place that presents its exhibits clearly and compellingly, and there's an outdoor garden with monuments and memorials alongside a chapel inspired by medieval English country churches...

    1. You know, I have been to the Mighty Eighth, but not in many years. Despite the unfortunate association with dread ticket-happy Pooler and the spitting aunt... I don't remember the chapel, but maybe it wasn't there when I went.

      If you do carve time, I hope you like it!

  3. My uncle was a WWII tail gunner. He was shot down over Italy and was later awarded a Purple Heart. I still have the telegram my grandmother received, informing her that he was missing in action. Can you even imagine? Thankfully, he came home and lived for decades more.

    1. Oh, that was a blessing! I wonder if he used the silk map of Europe they gave all airmen.


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.