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

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Epistle to F. D.


"Epistle to F. D." is up today--a blank verse poem written when I found the great Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass in my head. I've read the autobiography a number of times, though not in a long while, and his clever, determined efforts to learn to read came to mind strongly, along with thoughts of sitting on the floor with my mother as she showed me flashcards of words. Frederick Douglass barely remembered his mother, and had to resort to his own wits to learn how to read. I still find those passages in his life to be painful yet inspiring--as did many who read it when Douglass was alive.

Click on the title to go to the dedicated page; then if you look below the "share" and "like" buttons at the foot, you'll also find links to "I Met My True Love Walking" and "Landscape with Icefall." Thank you to editor Christine Klocek-Lim.

19 comments:

  1. i couldn't find any "share"or "like" buttons...

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    1. Just back from Philadelphia.... and going for a walk to stretch my legs after a long day.

      I think you may have to click on the title and get the poem on its own page rather than the general feed, maybe?

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    2. I am squatting almost incommunicado in the Languedoc, equipped with an aged Compaq mini-laptop (called a netbook), powered by Windows XP which is unsupported by Microsoft and is as slow as the schoolboy who crept "like snail". I called in at The Palace at 2 am, for a small intellectual transfusion only to to discover that the polite warnings about your blog have risen to the level of an interdiction. That I am disrecommended from having anything to do with you. What, I wondered, was your crime? I concluded you are too bright for Windows surly machinations, in danger of showing up the rest of us. The only good thing that can be said is that there are many historical precedents for your situation and that you are in very good company.

      Since I was only in the habit of visiting for the benison of crumbs from your table I suppose I must join the herd and seek less nourishing pastures.

      Already I feel diminished.I may not survive.

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    3. Hmm... I expect it's because I am receiving an onslaught of ghost spam. It's very annoying. I don't want to have to learn what to do about it.

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    4. Okay, I've had people check in Opera, Foxfire, and Safari with no problem at all. One of my friends who knows more than I do suggests that the problem is Microsoft--right--and that the problem may be that your software needs updating. Or, it could be that you're using software (like XP) no longer supported by Windows.

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    5. "Newer Adobe and Windows software is unlikely to allow rogue spam notices to appear."

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  2. For what it's worth: I access this blog with both a Mac and a PC and have no problems. Based on Mudpuddle's description, it likely has to do with his very old computer-browser combo.

    I get thousands of spam comments a day, and while I don't use Blogger/Blogspot, I used to, so I know a couple ways to mitigate the problem if you're getting them too. First, under "Settings: Post, comments, and sharing," you can turn on "word verification," which slows down those of us who comment a bit but generally does the job. Alternately, you can change the "Who can comment" setting to accept only registered users, meaning we commenters would have to sign in with Google or other accounts--a pretty minor inconvenience.

    I like to keep people blogging whenever possible!

    But to get back to the topic at hand: a rich and moving poem! Have you ever visited the Douglass house in D.C.? It's very moving. No one else has lived there since Douglass died, and nearly all of his belongings stayed put, so it's almost as if he simply stepped out for an appointment. I admire him greatly; I can't even begin to comprehend his courage.

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    1. tx, Jeff; we do have an older model mac and that's probably the culprit...

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    2. Huh. The comment wasn't from Mudpuddle but from Roderick Robinson. Were you getting notifications, too, Mudpuddle?

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    3. Jeff, I no longer get any spam--the filter seems to catch real spam. Ghost spam really doesn't even access the blog, as I understand it.

      Glad you liked the poem. No, I haven't seen his house in D. C. Whenever I'm there, I tend to be museum-hopping on or near the mall. Next time, I'll have to add that as a side trip. Yes, he was so full of aspiration and longing and generosity.

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    4. (Oh, sorry--I meant Roderick! This is what happens when I'm up late translating medieval stuff: I see things that aren't quite there.)

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    5. Well, we are glad you stay up and translate!

      But I guess Mudpuddle must have gotten a warning also...

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    6. no warning here... i was just citing Jeff's point about older computers; i found ours some years ago behind the local Walmart; it had tiremarks on it and some oil(multigrade) but i put it through the washing machine and it works fine almost all the time(Dave Barry helped me fix it...)

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    7. Oh, that's amusing! Weren't you lucky! I have a good friend who put her Mac on the roof of her car and then proceeded to drive off...

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  3. I get warnings with implied threats about authorisation; however there is always the option to continue. It would take more than a threat (implied or actual) from a multi-billion international corporation to keep me away from TPA2AM. I was using XP when I communicated from the Languedoc but now I'm at home, using my desktop with Windows 7. The same threats. I look forward to commenting by subject rather than on the 21st century equivalent of quill pens. My thanks to Jeff for his techno-suggestions. Given his speciality may I recommend Britten's Spring Symphony if he hasn't heard it?

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    1. Hmm, I'll have to ask Paul-who-knows-all (about computers, among other things.) He did mention XP and Windows, but I don't know. Lots of people use both, certainly.

      And I am sure Britten is ever welcome, at least to such wide-traveling spirits as Jeff!

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    2. Paul says that updating Adobe might solve such problems... (And I think Windows 7 is a bit behind the times, no? Windows 10 might solve it!)

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  4. Yes, I know W7 is old-fashioned but I'm hanging on to it until Microsoft has me put down. A year or more ago my wife bought a laptop fitted with W8 which was like playing shuffleboard at 100 fathoms. I never did find out how you simultaneously keep two or more windows open and eventually I paid to have W7 installed in place. W10 on first appearance has the same kind of Comic Cuts appearance as W8 and despite MS's daily cajoling and threats I prefer a system where I can concentrate on what I write, rather than the machine with which I do the writing.

    Correction to previous detail: It is Kaspersky, my AV software, which issues the warning, not Microsoft.

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    1. Ah, well, I guess I'll go on putting up with ghost spam, and you'll go on putting up with warnings!

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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.