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, April 04, 2016

April! A very big poetry-month sale at Stanza Press

UPDATE 4/5: So sorry, I think we may already be sold out of the second printing! There are a few copies left at online sellers but not at sale price.  UPDATE 4/20: I understand that the above may be wrong, and that there are 60 copies remaining, but the site still says out of print. They've promised to look into the situation... More when I know! The Foliate Head, a hardcover poetry collection normally selling for £15.00, is on sale for a paltry £4.00; some of the other books are on sale at Stanza for a mere £2.00, including Matt Bialer's Tell Them What I Saw and Jo Fletcher's anthology, Off the Coastal Path. See the whole sale list here.

The Foliate Head is a gorgeous-looking little book with profuse green man art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins and design by Andrew Wakelin. I'll add some poems below so you may judge whether it is also good in other ways; there are a few on the page for the book as well. 

Thank you to publisher Pete Crowther for asking for a book, and for allowing the threesome of me and Clive and Andrew to have our way with it! I'm very glad that it went into a second printing.

"Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote / The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote, / And bathed every veyne in swich licour, / Of which vertu engendred is the flour," then we simply must have a poetry-month sale. (Thank you, Geoffrey Chaucer and Pete, again.)


Now the catamount will scream,
Now the bears awake from dream
That the winter’s night prolongs
Till the ice dissolves in songs.
Now the daybreak fires the mist
By the mountain ridges kissed.
While the crocus blossoms yield,
Opening along the field.
Now it is the hour in spring
When the jetting sap will bring
Fresh desire to boy and girl
Waking to a brighter world.
And the fairies hunting shade,
Finding meadow grass arrayed
With the bloom of early bells,
Creep inside the fragrant cells.
Now in clearing, vale, and slope,
All the land is drunk with hope—
In the ancient greening weald,
Now is loosed what once was sealed.
Why, the very mountains reel
At the turning of the wheel.

“I Heard Their Wings Like the Sound of Many Waters” 
In the dark, in the deeps of the night that are
Crevasses of a sea, I heard their wings.
I heard the trickling of tiny feathers
With their hairs out like milkweed parachutes
Floating idly on the summer air,
I heard the curl and splash, the thunderbolts
Of pinions, the rapids and rattle of shafts—
Heard Niagara sweep the barreled woman
And shove her under water for three days,
I heard a jar of fragrance spill its waves
As a lone figure poured out all she could,
Heard the sky’s bronze-colored raindrops scatter
On corrugated roofs and tops of wells,
I heard the water-devil whirligigs,
I heard an awesome silence when the wings
Held still, upright as flowers in a vase,
And when I turned to see why they had stilled,
Then what I saw was likenesses to star
Imprisoned in a form of marble flesh,
With a face like lightning-fires and aura
Trembling like a rainbow on the shoulders,
But all the else I saw was unlikeness
That bent me like a bow until my brow
Was pressed against the minerals of earth,
And when I gasped at air, I tasted gold.


She climbed the great magnolia tree
To learn the ways of bird and bee,

And there the Prince of Darkness came
To tempt her with delicious shame.

He bore her up and bore her down,
He let her try his royal crown

While leaves went clattering-a-clack
Like gossips warning at her back.

A burst of starlight from his face,
His every move a sigh of grace—

Could you resist his lightsome wiles,
Or stop the arrows of his smiles?

What was a tendency to hiss
When set beside a glowing kiss?

In long-ago and far-away,
She danced her dance the livelong day—

She showed him all her naked skin,
And what they did was mortal sin.

When boredom dulled his passion’s rage,
The Serpent Prince desired a cage;

He jailed her in the blooming tree
And spread a lie that she was free.

Addicted to the streaming light
From which her lover once took flight,

She now repents those leisure hours
Misspent among magnolia flowers. 


  1. i tried to order some books on the link above, and when i got to "payment" i got a blank screen and "fatal failure" in the upper left hand corner. what does this mean, he asked, morosely...

    1. Oh, that's bad! Hmm. Let me see what I can do. I'll leave you a message here.... Okay, I just wrote them and will let you know. Of course, it's after-hours now...

    2. I am not sure but think they may already be sold out. If I hear from them today, I will update again. So sorry!


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.