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, March 14, 2016

The start of "Rave"

I've mentioned that print journal North Carolina Literary Review is publishing four poems from a manuscript called Rave, originally inspired by the structure, technical features, and subjects of Yoruban praise chant. They are "Spring Tree Egg," "Alice," "Night Blooming Cereus," and "She-Who-Changed."

NCLR also has an online supplement, in which another of the Rave poems now appears. This one is the first one I wrote--and it was the only for a long time--written during a class of mine at the Antioch Writing Workshops in Yellow Springs a few summers back. "Anniversary Song" is closer than many in the manuscript to the original forms that inspired me. So it was the initial start, the seed that later grew.

All five poems were finalists for the James Applewhite Poetry Prize. Click on the Rave tag below for links to more poems from the manuscript.

10 comments:

  1. i clicked on the "link" spot and smoke began emanating from the keyboard. brother, that's a some poetry! very good and interesting. tx.

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    1. I did find making that manuscript to be freeing. Fire can be a good sign. I hope so!

      A batch of them will be up before too long at "At Length."

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  2. What a lucky man that doctor of yours is! I'll go look at the other four poems in a bit.

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    1. They'll be in the print journal, not in this--the other four looked more like a unified group, so that's why this one went elsewhere. They are curious things!

      He has had the good luck of having a great deal of curiosity and also drive to fill his desires. In fact, we have both showed, in our various ways, some degree of obsession. When I was young, I had no idea that drive and desire were not the universal human lot. I was rather disappointed to find that they are not as common as I once assumed.

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    2. When I was a kid, I was taught that when we go to bed every night we should be improved in some way over how we were when we woke up that morning, improvement being our own responsibility. I feel terribly guilty if I think I've wasted a day.

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    3. Guilt is very helpful! But completely out of fashion...

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  3. I'm going to be bold (and I hope not rude) by making a comment (observation) and asking a question. (1) I've known a few poets in the past half century, and I've been impressed by their commitment even though their reading audience seems to be painfully small; (2) How can poetry now in the 21st century ever grow beyond its self-contained audience (usually academics, other poets, and a smattering of others) and become more commonly read by more people? Perhaps neither my observation nor my question are worthy of your attention. I'm just thinking out loud.

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    1. No, that's not a bit rude! It's definitely pertinent. After all, writers of all sorts want readers, and a work is not completely finished until it is read.

      I'll probably have to answer this as a post, as it's big for a comment!

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    2. Marly, some writers I know are content to write without readers, and that seems strange to me.

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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.