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Monday, June 03, 2019

"Carolina Prize Writing Contest Judges Announced, Deadline Approaching" - The Grey Area News


Carolina Prize Writing Contest Judges Announced, Deadline Approaching - The Grey Area News: By Donna Campbell Smith

The Franklin County Arts Council’s Writers’ Guild is sponsoring its fifth annual Carolina Prize Writing Contest.  It is open to writers of any age and location for previously unpublished (this includes online publication) poetry, short stories, essays or creative non-fiction....

Judging the poetry division is award-winning author Marly Youmans, who is a native of the Carolinas, currently living in Cooperstown, New York. Forthcoming from Phoenicia Publishing in mid-2019, The Book of the Red King is her fifth book of poetry. Her prior poetry books are The Foliate Head (UK: Stanza Press), Thaliad (Montreal: Phoenicia Publishing), The Throne of Psyche (Mercer University Press), and Claire (LSU.) She has also published nine novels; next year will see publication of a tenth, Charis in the World of Wonders.

The prose judge is E. M. Jerkins. She describes herself as a wife, and mother of three from Charlotte, NC. She received her B.A. in mass communications from North Carolina Central University and has written and published three novels: Reach, If Ever a Time, and Where the Ground Cries Out. Ersula also owns Write-Hand Publishing, LLC, a company designed to aid in the production of all things literary.

Click the link for more info! And thanks to writer Kim Beall, who asked. Who is Kim? Answer: "a member of the Franklin County Writers Guild, an author of contemporary southern gothic fantasy who is so very grateful to have discovered I can't throw a rock without hitting another wordsmith here in the rural wilds of The Writingest State."

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The lure of the Red King

Art by Kim Vanderheiden.

Here is just one of twelve works
made by artist Kim Vanderheiden
in response to a single poem from The Book of the Red King
Am I astonished? Yes, I am astonished.
Where possible, readings

will be accompanied by images of art-in-response 
by Kim, Clive Hicks-Jenkins (my longtime book-illuminator),
and Mary Boxley Bullington.

What a deeply touching thing to have serious artists 
surprise me with wonderful pictures
before the book even appears
from Phoenicia Publishing of Montreal,
under the 
guidance of Elizabeth Adams,
publisher of beautiful books.

What a marvelous
and joyful 
and entirely unexpected
gift.


The Red King approaches.
The Fool is singing on his journey.
And Precious Wentletrap is wandering the moon path.

Pub date comes near! 
TBA

Friday, May 10, 2019

Red King has a Heffalump, it seems...


Pub date TBA soon... 
HEFFALUMP! 

Here's one of the interior images for my The Book of the Red King poetry collection, one recently shared in The Rollipoke along with a cockatrice (!) and some poems about the Fool and the Red King... Interior and exterior art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins. Phoenicia Publishing

CC: twitter, facebook

Monday, May 06, 2019

Down and out in Cripplegate Ward

John Rocque's 1746 map of London, showing Grub Street in Cripplegate Ward, above and to the right of St. Giles and the Cripple-gate churchyard--running from Chiswell to Fore Street. Public domain, via Wikipedia 
I'm afraid there was no wondrous golden time for writers--oh, there were times when disparate talents came together in one region and vied with one another, but even then there was often jealousy and insufficient reward. Look back, and you find Robert Greene railing at that "shake scene" and "upstart crow," a Shakespeare "beautified" with pilfered feathers. Or look at the denizens of Grub Street, journalists and poets struggling to feed and house themselves in a poor bohemian quarter, only to be pilloried by that clever and amusing cripple, Alexander Pope.

In an essay for The New Republic, "Down and Out in the Gig Economy," Jacob Silverman (lovely name!) lodges a complaint that "freelance journalism is a monetized hobby," that it is nearly impossible to do more that "serve the whims of capital." Not only has he not found a secure, salaried perch, but he has learned a truth that many writers know--that it is quite possible to write a book that critics love but that does not sell, for reasons out of the writer's control. Well, I sympathize with his lot and agree that journalism is in a parlous way, that there were some brief, better years for essayists in the last century, and that it's difficult for a writer of any sort to find a happy niche. Publishing tends to be a winner-take-all scheme. Go to any airport bookstore and check out the Top 10 books on sale. There you go. Winner-take-almost-all!

Though I'd love for the writer's life to be easier and more straightforward, it is not these challenges that make me uneasy with "Down and Out" but the essay itself as revelation of how such disappointments may harm the writer, either for a period of time or permanently. Many, many writers have challenges like the ones Silverman names, and there are other, unmentioned disappointments that pop up unexpectedly--quirky, oddball twists of publishing fate. In the kingdom of writer-dooms, Melville has long been a hero of mine. Years after any notice was paid to him, an old man, he pursued the work it was given him to do, writing poems, writing Billy Budd. He endured the agony of being ignored and thought mad (and perhaps of being mad from neglect for a time), and yet he kept harrowing his piece of literary ground and planting new seed, even when no one remained to believe that what he made would mean anything in the world. He persisted. He won a victory, although he had no earthly reward for doing so. But I have known writers in similar situations whose minds and spirits were bent by lack of notice, lack of support, and who did not have the resilience to unbend. I won't say their names, but some drift into mind.

The dream of creating something strong and true matters to the soul. A strange joy, it burns in the mind. Resentment and bitterness will never help a work grow and achieve beauty. Putting words together in fresh patterns is a kind of alchemy that transforms the inner being of the writer--creation may make the self larger and more resilient on the inside. Yet self-poisoning by resentment and bitterness remains a risk for any maker. To a writer, young or old, I'd say that there's no shame in pursuing some other dream if resentment becomes a blight, just as there's no shame in keeping on despite self-judgment or the world's judgment, and in striving to pierce the cloud of bitterness...

* * *

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Symbols and Pronouns, Ships and Women

Hervé Cozanet,The bow and the figure
of schooner Recouvrance in Brest, 2006

Creative Commons - Share Alike 3.0
Sourced via Wikipedia
Symbols often explain some underlying shape of the world as it has been understood for millennia. History can suggest how long a symbol has been present. Language refers to and reveals those symbols. And language is a curious thing. Looked at closely, it can reveal some deep-lying meaning that we hardly notice but which says something important about the world. 

Historical fact shows us that a ship was seldom regarded as merely an object, that it was associated with vigorous life and with myth. Eyes were painted on Greek and Phoenician ships. Roman goddesses and gods found a place on the bow. Viking ships were led by dragons. Once the keel extended into a stem in the sixteenth century, figureheads appeared in wild variety--deities, eagles, unicorns and lions, women, and men. Eventually the military sailing ship and its figureheads vanished. 

Not only was a ship not regarded as a mere object, it was commonly regarded as female. Is this something a post-post-modern ideology needs to stamp out? Or is it part of a foundational, mythic pattern--a symbolic richness passed down to us from our ancestors?

The body of the ship, like the body of a woman, may hold and shelter and nourish human beings who are carried for a period of time. No doubt many bad puns have been made about a female ship carrying seamen, but that does not mean the meaning of ship-as-woman is not deep, not meaningful. At the end of their stay in the womb or in what is called the "belly" of a ship, barring miscarriage or shipwreck, people are born out of a dark womb. In the days of sailing ships, their journey took months. This shape of a long journey ending in a kind of birth into the light is as plain and simple and unabashedly clear a pattern as is the portrayal of stalwart prairie mother Ántonia, her children rushing up out of the doorway of a sod house near the close of Willa Cather's My Ántonia

Sometimes historical ships became connected to notable, literal births. The first Pilgrim baby born in the New World was born on a ship that is part of American mythology, the Mayflower. (Susanna White gave birth to her son as the Mayflower lay at anchor at Cape Cod; another baby, Oceanus Hopkins, was born mid-way across the seas to Elizabeth Fisher Hopkins. The names given to the infants show that the births were seen in a symbolic light.) That sailing ships were used sometimes for cruel, evil purposes that opposed life--carrying slaves in the Middle Passage, for example--does not abolish the underlying pattern, though it makes the shape tragic.

Changing a long-held traditional symbolic pattern is tricky, particularly when the change is bowing to ideology and abrupt change. Jargon and what William Stringfellow called "rhetorical wantonness" are signs of what used to be commonly (now uncommonly) called the powers and principalities, who are always attempting to wrest power for themselves. What are powers and principalities but rulers, authorities, forces, groups that wish to wield power. Sometimes we become the powers and principalities.

In "Every Pronoun Must Go," Theodore Dalrymple shares why objectors seek to change the pronoun:
The Scottish Maritime Museum, dedicated to the history of the country’s shipbuilding industry, has decided that it will no longer use the words she and her to refer to ships, but rather it and its. This is in response to feminists, who have defaced plaques referring to ships as she or her. This change would negate centuries of tradition, during which the words traditionally used on launching a ship, “May God bless all who sail in her,” carried no connotation of insult or deprecation—rather the reverse. 
I expect that he implies here that virtually all those words are now to be ripped and rejected by opponents; "all who sail" are, I suppose, still safe.

At this interesting juncture in Western history, it's not one whit surprising to any of us that protestors (or museums weary of vandalized signs) want to get rid of a pronoun. Only a much-sheltered ostrich could have failed to notice the ongoing pronoun wars. But what is it we jettison when we toss she-ships into the sea? What do we lose? 

Surely we should ask.

Longed-for and prayed-for over millennia of risky births and frequent female shipwreck of childbirth, the image of a woman carrying her infant burden safely to its final destination in the world is what made the wooden womb of a ship into a "she." Long-ago sailing, too, was treacherous and a cause for women to lift up prayers and hopes for sons and husbands. Now women and men may both be sailors, and the voyage is safer than before. But in those earlier times, adventuring sailors might never come home safe in their wooden wombs, just as infants might be miscarried or never emerge from the mother's womb. And every old graveyard tells its sad stories of young women who died in childbirth. In each case, the ship or the body of the mother, safe passage was deeply desired by both men and women but often thwarted. 

Let's go back to the times of baby Peregrine. Early records from the Provincetown and Massachusetts Bay colonies make clear that a Pilgrim or Puritan woman in childbirth was regarded as a person called on to act with heroism. She was called to an adventure she might not survive. The achieving of a "good birth" or a "good death" (if the "good birth" proved impossible) through her labor was something that women thought a great deal about and wished for. In an era when our thoughts about maternity are colored by modern changes in medicine, such thoughts may seem strange. But in all times preceding the past century, a safe pregnancy and childbirth was still regarded as an infinitely precious gift. We still see remnants of that attitude in some high risk pregnancies and in the way women who have given birth feel the need to share their childbirth story--a journey of a baby from the amniotic seas to light, a journey of a woman toward a new phase of life--with others.

We still participate in ancient patterns of life that cannot be thrown away without ending human history. Life is still conceived of as a journey. We all arrived in this place by sailing the inward, female sea to our destination on a nine-month journey. The image of secure passage for the sailor in the ship fused with the image of the child in the womb is neither oppressive nor meaningless but one of many foundational, mythic images of our world, passed down by a long chain of ancestors through the millennia.

Vulkano, Figurehead of the Seute Deern (Schiff, 1919) 2003
Creative Commons - Share Alike 3.0
Sourced via Wikipedia

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Poetry matters

New poems both online and in print for subscribers, if you happen to be one...

"The Library's Child" appears in the Canadian (from the Cardus think tank in Ontario) journal CommentThe Books Issue (Spring 2019), edited by John Wilson, one of the world's great readers and editors. Thanks to him for asking.

"The Master of the Embroidered Foliage" is published in the May 5th issue of The Living Church (Anglican Communion.) That one is an ekphrastic poem accompanied by the gorgeous image from The Clark Institute, a late fifteenth-century painting from the Netherlands. Thank you to Canon Theologian Jordan Hylden for the request.

Addendum: They appear to think that I live in South Carolina (born in Aiken), which is a pleasant thought, given that it has snowed three times in the past four April days.

* * *

And The Book of the Red King (Phoenicia Publishing of Montreal) should be out by summer! Updates on the book and related matters will appear first in The Rollipoke News and afterward here and elsewhere.

Winnowing the libraries

Nineteenth century artistic rendering of the Library of Alexandria
by the German artist O. Von Corven
Public domain, Wikipedia
Time is and always has been the great judge of the merit of books. Lost or long-forgotten books like the works of Edward Taylor and Emily Dickinson (left in manuscript) or John Donne (out of fashion for centuries) or Moby Dick (by heroic Melville, bravely writing on despite being wholly forgotten before his death) may be tossed into sight again. Whole fields of books are winnowed by the scythe of time and fall out of memory. Some books become unreadable or simply of no interest. Is this a perfect process? Probably not. Many minor but lovely works are read by fewer and fewer as time passes.

In our day, a librarian proposes that she is the one to judge, to do the winnowing: that she knows better than time, and that something more drastic than the library-sale practice of the culling of unread, inessential books is needed. Many applaud. But time winnows all things, and some day it will winnow us, including the librarian and the applauders and the current writers of books. Including me and including you. To usurp the work of time. It sounds fearsome, doesn't it? In fact, it is the work of hubris, a thing many classical works have warned us to avoid. But in striving to make libraries more open to a good cause--more writers of color, say--it appears that welcoming, open library borders swiftly turn into the desire to banish others.

Who needs to read these old white men, long dead? Who in the West needs the heritage passed down for centuries--who needs Ovid or Homer or the KJB or Chaucer or Shakespeare or Milton? All those outdated foundational ideals (not always met, but yet our ideals), like the idea that every single human wandering the face of the earth was made in the likeness of God and so is valuable, no matter the sex or color and however much he or she mars that image... Why, we can send our children to be English majors at fine, much-heralded institutions where they can duck hearing those voices, these days. So who needs them?

I do. Young writers do. And that means young writers of any sex, any color. Do not deprive young writers of the legacy of the past because whether they like or dislike writers like Dickinson and Melville and Shakespeare, they need to climb up on their shoulders. They need to read with freedom, with no holds barred. And that reading should include not just people of color and people from fascinating and far-off countries but also those pesky dead white Western males like Donne and Herbert.

What results from the ability to put words together with high power and beauty is the rightful inheritance of us all, writers and readers alike. Despite the unchosen elements of race and sex that come with birth, writers are joined as one in the love of putting words together in the most stellar order, in striving to make something meaningful and marvelous where nothing was before. That is the work of the creator, to bring truth and beauty out of the welter that surrounds us.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Triduum greetings--


A lovely crucifixion in linden (12" x 16″) by the interesting Montreal icon carver, Jonathan Pageau. From "Understanding the Icons of Holy Week," https://www.orthodoxartsjournal.org/understanding-the-icon…/.  You may meet facets of him at Orthodox Arts Journal, twitter, and YouTube. Go to his gallery at Pageau Carvings to see more of his art. I'm fond of his writings and podcasts about symbology, perhaps because--human weakness!--I find them congruent with my own thoughts.

Ekphrasis for Triduum

Christ Washing the Feet of the Apostles
by Meister des Hausbuches, 1475 (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin)
Wikipedia, public domain

*
And here's a little ekphrastic poem....

The Thursday of Mysteries   
   After Christ Washing the Feet of the Apostles
              Meister des Hausbuches, 1475


Dim clashing measures like muffled cymbals
As halos make the music of the spheres…
The apostles are crowded on the pews,
Some watching and some not as Jesus Christ
In his halo leafing with three branches
Gestures upward and to the water bowl
That is like another halo, fallen
To the floor and waiting for the maundy
Foot of innocent and guilty alike.
The room looks like some holy carpenter’s
Medieval caravan, all fitted out
With paneling and mullions with crown glass;
In the unfolding distance, see the stairs
Slanting leftward over the black archway
That might mark entrance to a waiting tomb.
There’s Judas, all his facial lines tugged down,
And on a shelf a platter like some lost
Halo, unneeded, there for change of mind. 

                                      reprinted from Mezzo Cammin 

"For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning,
 that we should love one another."
 #SriLanka 
#Pittsburgh 
#Christchurch

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A Causley poem for Holy Week



Composer Jussi Chydenius's 
setting of "I Am the Great Sun" by Charles Causley,
a poem inspired by a seventeenth-century Normandy crucifix.
Hofstra Chamber Choir
David Fryling, Conductor

* * *

          I AM THE GREAT SUN

          I am the great sun, but you do not see me,
          I am your husband, but you turn away.
          I am the captive, but you do not free me,
          I am the captain you will not obey.

          I am the truth, but you will not believe me,
          I am the city where you will not stay,
          I am your wife, your child, but you will leave me,
          I am that God to whom you will not pray.

          I am your counsel, but you do not hear me,
          I am the lover whom you will betray.
          I am the victor, but you do not cheer me,
          I am the holy dove whom you will slay.

          I am your life, but if you will not name me,
          Seal up your soul with tears, and never blame me.

* * *

Thanks to a years-back recommendation from editor John Wilson, I've long been fond of Cornish poet Charles Causley--loved and admired in his lifetime by Ted Hughes and Philip Larkin--and this poem is one of my favorites. The sonnet is simple and profound, using a parallelism that invokes the Hebrew poetry of the Bible, particularly the beautiful language of the King James version, but also grasps at the idea of God as "the great I AM." 

Its Elizabethan-sonnet rhyme scheme is curious, eight of its lines depending on final identical rhyme that again invokes God. The six remaining lines add only one more final rhyme sound, so Causley gives us only two sets of end-word rhymes, both ending the lines on long vowels. Each line is a full, complete thought, framed by "I am" and one of those two long-vowel rhymes. 

Looking closer, we see that Causley has chosen to expand the scheme by rhyming the words that precede "me," the identical rhyme sound of eight lines. So we meet internal rhymes "see/free," "believe/leave," "hear/cheer," and "name/blame." The accent falls strongly on those penultimate words. Identical sounds also occur inside quatrains; particularly noticeable is the repetition of "do not" and "you will not" and "you will," reinforcing the idea of human free will, choice, and the swerving away from God that marks and informs the poem. 

The tightness of the rhyme scheme makes the couplet feel especially surprising because it breaks the shape of prior lines, completing the thought in two lines, and tying up the poem with another two-word rhyme-plus-identical-rhyme in "name me" and "blame me." In those last lines, the poem enters--just barely, and not with confidence--into a realm where another path is possible.

On the other hand, "if you will not name me" is an interesting thing to say in the final turn of thought. Recalling that "I AM" is one of the names of God, the reader may well think that he or she has indeed been naming God, though in fact naming God and admitting the rejection of God at once.

If you don't perceive why this is a remarkable poem, I suggest that you try reading it aloud three times. (Remember that you are speaking in the voice of God. As the poem was inspired by crucifix-and-inscription, you can even imagine that you speak the words from the cross.) And then if you don't feel in your bones that the poem is good, well, I guess it is not for you. Or as we might say, "I am your poem, but you do not know me."

* * *

Donation site for The Friends of Notre Dame: 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Gone to Carolina

Where? I've been away in the North Carolina mountains for more than a month: hiking on private (Dan Pitillo's flower trails are wondrous) and public lands; hunting for Oconee bells and spring beauty and trout lilies, etc.; helping my mother with various needs; celebrating my mother's 90th birthday (along with more family in Cullowhee for a week); thrifting; eating at Slabtown (best pizza in Cashiers), Café Rel (the oddly placed restaurant at The Hot Spot in Franklin), Frogtown, Kilwin's, Sweet Treats Highlands, and oodles of other places; exploring cabins and paths, and enjoying mountaintop views.

On the books front, I also had a lovely lunch with writer friend Nathan Ballingrud at Chai Pani in Asheville. (You can read about his new book and a movie here.) And I wrote a few poems in between adventures. I had great fun hanging out with my mother's friends from WCU's Hunter Library and remembering my high school days when I had the run of the place every day between school's end and five o'clock. Back then, the librarians talked to me about books, encouraged my wanderings in the shelves, and let me rummage wildly in the Horace Kephart archives. Hours rooting in the stacks helped make me what I am.

That picture (by Cullowhee photographer Etheree Chancellor) is me-in-many-layers on the chilly path to the 500-foot spill of Rufus Morgan Falls, with my mother in the background. Not many flowers were out there--just the halberd-leaved yellow violet and some hepatica. If you want to see a few more pictures from the trip, including the upper part of the falls, hop here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Friday, February 15, 2019

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Be mine, Valentine--



Happy St. Valentine's Day

Here's a lovely toy theatre with candy and hearts from Clive Hicks-Jenkins, produced by the famous Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop. (Just watch out for the witch!) 

Rollipoke subscribers will get a special Valentine from me with secret Clive art today. Subscribers, enjoy! If you want to be a Rollipoker, go here: https://thepalaceat2.blogspot.com/2017/02/rollipoke.html

And go here to get your own Clivean theatre: https://www.pollocks-coventgarden.co.uk/…/hansel-gretel-to…/

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Sundry on Wednesday


Cooperstown arts news:
Ashley Norwood Cooper's solo show is still up.
New York City friends, please go...

The Likes of Us
at First Street Gallery
through 23 February 2019
526 West 26th Street, Suite 209
New York, NY 10001
Tel: 646-336-8053


What a rugged two weeks it has been! The weather was a little too focused on snow and ice. The sweet, tiny Puffcat died. The long author questionnaire was sent in. The novel manuscript was turned in at three in the morning. Many other things were accomplished that chewed up time. And now I must deal with my neglected house, for I have been giving most of my home attention to words and cat.

* * *

Tomorrow, out pops the Valentine edition of The Rollipoke, which you (naturally) won't want to miss. Advance peek at the next book, available only to Rollipokers... Click on the link to Be Mine: that is, to be a Rollipoker. 

Nobody loves you? Nobody sends you a Valentine? Weep not! Have a Rollipoke Valentine!

* * *

If you're at all interested in a sharp-edged critique of the state of the humanities (particularly English studies) on our campuses, I think this article by Gilbert T. Sewall is a must read--hat tip to the Prufrock newsletter. Thank God that I dropped out of academia after getting tenure because that preserved the freedom of my mind for my books. I might have been weak-willed. Who knows? Leaving the academic world protected me from rampant ideologies, which are the ruination of art.

After reading it, I was thinking about teaching Huckleberry Finn, talking with my students about that crucial, deep-down beautiful scene where Huck says, "All right, then, I'll go to hell." With no understanding of our Christian heritage and how it has been the underpinning of Western history, how can a reader even understand the huge thing that Huck is willing to give up out of love for his friend, a slave? Can a reader even feel the depths of sacrifice in that love? How can a reader see and understand that Huck is turning away from a false morality and a false vision of God and toward a true one, even though he does not know it? How can a reader have the slightest understanding of how huge the scene is, a turning point in our literary history, walking us into an American literature where the growth of the individual soul and the rule of the individual mind is central? 

Also, I was remembering what sheer fun it was to teach Chaucer in a survey course, and how much laughter and joy there was in the classroom as students had a brief lesson in pronunciation and then read aloud. To feel the words in the mouth, to have a sense of another time, another world--yet so strangely close to our own!--how precious that was. And now an English major might not encounter Chaucer at all.

There are a million things to say in response to that article, but one that has bothered me for a long time is the way that we are depriving our young writers of the best that has been thought and written. As makers, we want to stand on giants, not on little hobbits. We want enduring stone, not fragile papier-mâché novelty. We want vellum, not foolscap. To discard, to encourage young writers to assume that Chaucer and Milton and Shakespeare and the King James Bible (all those writers and translators, so dead! so white! so long ago!) are of no literary account and have nothing to say to us today is to harm young writers in the West. It is to plant their feet on sand. Yes, we want to know the writing of our own times. Sure, we want to read new voices of all sorts. We want to praise and support worthy voices of our era. But we also want to pay the obeisance owed to the glories of the past. To move forward, we dive through the past. It saddens me that such things need to be said.

* * *

Snow is falling (I know, I know--it's the Cooperstown usual for February.) But these are lovely whirls of snowflakes as big as feathers, crisscrossing on wayward currents. And the bird feeders are busy with juncos and chickadees and pine siskins. Best of all, I finally have a squirrel-defeating feeder, so I am watching a morbidly obese squirrel (no doubt fattened on our seeds) climb up and then slide down. I've always disliked the word chuckle except when it describes something other than a laugh, but maybe this is the right place for one. Keep cosy...

* * *

Happy St. Valentine's Day, y'all!

Rock doves by photographer Juha Soininen of Finland at sxc.hu

Saturday, February 09, 2019

A merchant, a stylite, and a maiden walk into a bar--


Two of my new poems are up at Mezzo Cammin here. Snips with title and first two lines:

     The Merchant and the Stylite

     Whether he was comely, I cannot say,
     But he was born in Sis, Cilicia;

     The Maiden-saint of France

     While still a child I was a thing men fear,
     The fire-struck one who has the ears to hear

I'm looking forward to reading the issue after I finish bushwhacking my way through an author questionnaire... See editor Kim Bridgford's facebook announcement below for a complete list of contributors. There's also a list with biographical sketches and pictures here.

* * *

Kim Bridgford: It is with joy that I announce the latest issue of Mezzo Cammin, with featured visual artist Morgan O'Hara, featured poet Kathleen McClung,reviewer Alexandra Oliver, and poets Barbara Crooker, Alexandra Donovan, Jehanne Dubrow, Kathleen Goldbach, Colleen S. Harris, Brittany R Hill, Katie Hoerth, Lynne Knight, Jean L. Kreiling, Angie Macri, Carolyn Martin, Mary Mercier, Ann E. Michael, Leslie Schultz, Myrna Stone, Jean Syed, Ann Christine Tabaka, Sally Thomas, Doris Watts, Joyce P. Wilson, and Marly Youmans. With profound gratitude to Anna M. Evans for technical expertise and to Pete Duval for the cover image.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

The Disfiguration of Nature

My friend James Krueger has a new book, The Disfiguration of Nature--I have a copy but have not read it yet and will not read anything until I finish polishing my novel this week. Aiiee! But I want to give it a preliminary shout-out now.

The Disfiguration of Nature looks to have a strong thesis that readers will find challenging, whether they love or hate it. And I expect the book will find both responses, as it appears to bushwhack a new path, away from current ideas of right and left. I'm curious and looking forward to a read...when I turn in the novel!

Eric T. Freyfogle says that Krueger points back to "a much older, more respectful conservatism, one that holds high relationships, integrity, humility, and responsibility." Yet he calls what Krueger proposes a fresh cultural and moral vision. Interesting!

On Amazon, the hardcover is here. The kindle and paperback are here. On the hardcover page, you can use the "look inside" function and read some of the introduction by Freyfogle. And you can order from your local indie--the publisher is Wipf & Stock.

* * *

"Beauty will save the world." -Solzhenitsyn

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Put on your scholar hats, please!

Anonymous portrait of a scholar or preacher
1529, public domain Wikimedia
Walters Art Museum

QUESTION:

Working on a novel set some centuries ago, and I'm trying to figure out if I made these lines up in imitation of certain seventeenth-century poets (who? Butler?), or whether it is, indeed, a seventeenth-century couplet, maybe something like the tetrameter Hudibras:

To find if woman owns a soul
Requires a lens and puissant thole.*

I might have made it up. Quite possibly I did.

Or it might be Hudibras. But I don't have time to read the whole thing and find out. Because it might be something else. Or me.

But does it seem familiar to anybody?

Who knows? You would think that I would know, but I don't. Alas. I'm good at making up things but not always good at storage!

Picture: see caption. Wrong century, great hat...

*Ooops, I hate autocorrect! THOLE, autocorrect, THOLE!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Not lolling...

I'm not being a lagarag, to pilfer an old East Anglian word... Still working on a deadline, but I'll be back soon.

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Faulkner on writing, though the words apply to many other activities: "Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself."

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Image: 
Gerard Terborch 
Dutch Baroque era painter, 1617-1681 
Woman Writing a Letter, 1655