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

Friday, January 08, 2016

At Mezzo Cammin

Update: Now we know that I'm either insane or very much too busy because that's not the new issue! Not only that, but I read it and wrote about it earlier. I'm going to go put my head in a bucket. Good night!

Again I'm in one of my very favorite online 'zines, Mezzo Cammin, edited by poet Kim Bridgford. Mezzo Cammin is home to formal poems by women. Here is a taste--titles and opening lines. To see more, click and leap here.

Notes on the poems: 

The poem about Carolyn Wyeth (one of Andrew Wyeth's daughters) was written after seeing a Wyeth family show at the Fenimore Museum in Cooperstown. Until then, I didn't know much about the two daughters as painters, as one hears mostly about N. C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth. And here's a link to a piece about and photograph of the bride, groom, and magnolia bouquet (my maternal grandparents.)  "My Lover Sang to Me" is for Michael, my husband. "The Dream of the King's Clothes" was written after looking at photographs of cloth made from the silk of the golden orb spider. The beauty of the material and the slowness of the Peers and Godley project interested me. The setting for "Eldest" is the Cathedral of All Saints (Episcopal) in Albany, New York. That one's for Benjamin.




Portrait of Carolyn Wyeth with Leaves


Leaves moving in the evening light and air—
Some are lit from within, irregular


Bride, with Magnolia Blossom

The piano-and-fiddle tune is faint,
As light as eyes in the daguerreotype…


My Lover Sang to Me

He sang a ballad in my ear;
     Song echoed like a shell.


The Dream of the King's Clothes

Seven years we toiled, collecting the orb
Spiders at dawn, coaxing the spinnerets


Eldest

Firstborn, strange in the womb, too-late turner, brow-positioned—
     In the cathedral I wandered to the Lady Chapel

7 comments:

  1. Oh look: No comments. It's like going off-piste and being the first to lay down tracks in one of the back bowls.

    Now I have my (invisible) licence I am perversely drawn to conciseness. And to:

    Seven years we toiled, collecting the orb
    Spiders at dawn, coaxing the spinnerets


    How sly of you to tempt me in that delicious way. But I'm presently holding hands with one of my own gods, a certain Wolfgang who was big in Austria a year or two ago. I have taken the plunge in the form of my first singing lesson and am now wrestling ecstatically with Sarastro's O Isis und Osiris - more odd gods. But I'll be back.

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    1. Sounds wondrous--well, I hope it sounds so, or will very soon!--and challenging! I have a good friend who is a painter and also sings with Glimmerglass Opera in the summers, so I know how much work goes into such efforts.

      I tend to get comments on the blog at links elsewhere, Facebook usually, or sometimes twitter. And I don't go e-visiting in return much, as I've gotten too busy. So comments here are rarer than they used to be, and always welcome.

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    2. p. s. Good luck with your seven years of gold collection! Singing is a happy kind of gold to work on.

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    3. No apologies necessary; it's enough for me to wallow unrestrained in the rarefied stretches of Chez Youmans. I was surprised at the pronunciation: here in Hereford Yeomans is a bus company. Become much older, take up residency here in the Welsh Marches, change your nationality and you can travel free on buses carrying a version of your surname.

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    4. We used to be Yeomans--certainly when four brothers migrated to the states before the Revolution. I think my great-grandfather Nathaniel Yeomans/Youmans was the one to alter the spelling. Must have gotten on some document and shifted... Or else spelling reform finally arrived, and the Yeomans clan couldn't spell. But we can still pronounce!

      The Welsh Marches always sound alluring. Beautiful name. My ancestry hits England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Island (a few migrated from Scotland), and maybe a bit of France, so far as I know.

      A peculiar thing is that three of the four brothers went to Georgia together, and one stayed in the North (I think they landed in Philly), and a bunch of Yeomans/Youmans settled in New York state around Delhi (where they did very well indeed) and Elmira (where I have seen them in the cemetery where Twain is buried.) Meanwhile my Southern line sank pretty low after the Civil War, so perhaps they would have done better to become Yankees!

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  2. Wonderful story and then your poem of spider silk weaving! Something about it, the repetition of increasing years I think, make me think of those wonderful old Russian tales like Baba Yaga etc.

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    1. Thanks, Marja-Leena! I'm glad you liked it--and yes, I liked those stories as a child.

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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.