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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Fool and the Red King beyond pre-orders

Interior and hardcover jacket or paperback cover art
by Clive Hicks-Jenkins of Wales
* * *
Marly Youmans
The Book of the Red King
Montreal, Canada: Phoenicia Publishing (20 July 2019)
*
155 pages

Phoenicia Publishing hardcover and paperback pre-orders are officially over, though discount links are still up (love, frolics, and thank you to all who ordered!), and the poetry collection is now available via Amazon, bookstores, etc. Please think about supporting my poems and Phoenicia, a stellar small press, brainchild of Elizabeth Adams. We are properly and ecstatically grateful when you do... (And who wouldn't want a piece of Clivean illumination, too?)

Montreal: Phoenicia Publishing
155 pages
"Youmans (@marlyyoumans), who lives in upstate New York, has just published a stunning collection of poems that comprise “The Book Of The Red King" --"The Book Of The Red King’ a stunning collection of poems" | via Biblio File, from Dan Barnett, Book Columnist, Chico Enterprise-Record, 18 July 2019

"Marly Youmans is brilliant, perhaps a genius. Her poems tell a story, offering us a vision of, well, I would say the Trinity, but that is only one possible interpretation. After a difficult and sometimes dangerous journey, a Red King, a Fool, and Precious Wentletrap converge into one, a resurrection that is heavenly. Is it true, or is it fable or fairytale? "When I want to write a new book," she has said, "I run across the land and leap off the edge of the known world." Her formal poems are impeccable and include sestinas, villanelles, rondels, rhyming schemes she may have invented, and perfect metrical patterns. Every poet can learn from this poet, and the reader—the reader will be spellbound." --Kelly Cherry, poet, novelist, and former Poet Laureate of Virginia

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Secret/poem + Induction weekend


Here's 
a new blank verse poem up at The North American Anglican...
Take a look? You can even comment, it appears...
Enjoy!



And...
notes from the Saturday of Induction weekend
at The Baseball Hall of Fame...

Escaped to Glimmerglass State Park with Michael and child no. 3 for a break from Baseball Hall of Fame induction-weekend madness. We planned to paddle about in Otsego Lake. First though, we (i.e. the handy husband) started a big happy heap of briquets to grill steaks. How pleasant it all sounds!

Abruptly (such things are always so sudden!), the sky decided to change its colors, and a mighty horizontal torrent of wind (bearing rain so thick the grass looked streaked with white) decided to join our formerly-idyllic party. A brilliant, zappy electric storm broke the afternoon into pieces with blazing jolts and extravagant smashings of crockery. 

The Amish all got their horses and black buggies joined up and left us, clipping away at a fast pace, babes in arms and little children peering out the back windows.

We raced about and slung everything back in the truck except the fire. 

The big maple shading our picnic table snapped apart; half crashed downward and knocked over another tree. Impressive! How lucky we were to have the modicum of sense that sent us to the truck.

The rain slowed to a patter. Foolish, dauntless, and edged with optimism, we carted the picnic supplies back to our now wet and leaf-surrounded table. To try once more!

Then. The whole rackety ruckus started up again... 

We laughed. We tossed everything back in the truck once more. We abandoned our magnificent steak-pyre of burning charcoal that somehow had continued all its merry activity in spite of rain. What was left of the tree must have sheltered the grill.

After asome dithering and laughter, we drove home again. No rain. So we walked the length of Cooperstown's Main St., winding through the tourists in their striped baseball uniforms and baseball T-shirts and baseball hats and eating street food instead of steaks. I had a pizza slice from a portable brick oven that had rolled all the way from the New York City, and afterward an ice cream sandwich made by the ice cream fanatics at our Route 20 Dairyland under the willow trees. Saw many gawk-worthy tourists scenes. Saw many unfortunate small children of baseball fans plastered to their strollers by heat and entirely too much baseball. 

Child no. 3 ate six fried oreos for dessert and survived with no ill effects. This news seemed especially notable.

An unusually large number of police, state police, sheriff staff, and mysterious men in black-windowed vans were in evidence. And I noted a prodigious number of tourists who love sports but who evidently don't do any themselves. Or perhaps it was simply too many fried oreos...

So much for avoiding the crush! Happy induction weekend, y'all...

Thursday, July 18, 2019

First pre-pub review!


"Youmans (@marlyyoumans), who lives in upstate New York, has just published a stunning collection of poems that comprise “The Book Of The Red King” ($15.95 in paperback from Phoenicia Publishing, phoeniciapublishing.com/book-of-the-red-king.html), illustrated by Clive Hicks-Jenkins." --Dan Barnett, Book Columnist, Chico Enterprise-Record

Read the whole review HERE.

Also picked up by World News: wn.com HERE.

Pre-order discounts at Phoenicia Publishing end after tomorrow....

And The Rollipoke Newsletter, no. 12, is now O-U-T!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

5 more PP-preorder days--

Art by the great Clive Hicks-Jenkins of Wales.
Design by Elizabeth Adams.

Five days left to pre-order The Book of the Red King in hardcover or paperback from Phoenicia Publishing, nab a discount, and support the small press directly. (Hardcovers will only be available from the publisher; paperbacks will be available widely.)

Praise for THE BOOK OF THE RED KING

"Marly Youmans is brilliant, perhaps a genius. Her poems tell a story, offering us a vision of, well, I would say the Trinity, but that is only one possible interpretation. After a difficult and sometimes dangerous journey, a Red King, a Fool, and Precious Wentletrap converge into one, a resurrection that is heavenly. Is it true, or is it fable or fairytale? "When I want to write a new book," she has said, "I run across the land and leap off the edge of the known world." Her formal poems are impeccable and include sestinas, villanelles, rondels, rhyming schemes she may have invented, and perfect metrical patterns. Every poet can learn from this poet, and the reader—the reader will be spellbound."
--Kelly Cherry, poet, novelist, and former Poet Laureate of Virginia

"The Book of the Red King by Marly Youmans is an ambitious, magical book about the nature of power and language.  The Red King and the Fool, while they control different realms, make us consider whether it is better to rule on earth or in one’s imagination. In these gorgeous poems, Youmans makes the case for both.  Whatever side we take, Youmans reminds us of the paradox in each.  Even if we side with the Fool in this world of “hurt joy,” we are left with the realm of poetry.   It is not a bad trade.  For those who love well-formed poems and for those who love fantasy, this is a must-read and a distinctive, evocative voice. There is no one like Marly Youmans."
--Kim Bridgford, celebrated poet, editor, and director of the global conference, Poetry by the Sea

"Marly Youmans occupies an imaginative space that straddles both the present and the mythological past. It is the territory of Yeats and Tolkien, and Youmans shares not only a taste for primal imagery with these great poets, but also their love of rhyme, rhythm and sound."
--A. M. Juster, award-winning poet and translator

*

Clive with St. George, the dragon, maiden,
and his late, lamented little jackanapes...


Clive Hicks-Jenkins was born in Newport, south Wales, in 1951. The early part of his career was as a choreographer and stage director. In the 1990s he turned away from theatre to concentrate on painting. He has been praised by critics in The Independent, Modern Painters and Art Review. Simon Callow has called him ‘one of the most individual and complete artists of our time' and Nicholas Usherwood in Galleries has described his work as ‘reflective, expressive painting of the highest order.’


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Midsummer reads

Despite rushing-about, despite progeny, despite getting ready for The Book of the Red King, and despite celebrating the 4th of July over three days of barbecues and events and fireworks, I have been managing to do a little reading. And as it is feeling good, I thought to share the list. Please add your own midsummer list in the comments if you're reading something you like...



Irene McManus, Dreamscapes: The Art of Juan González (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1994.) I picked this up at The Village of Cooperstown Library and was so fascinated by the artist's symbology and concerns (a father who came out as gay and became HIV+ in the 1980's, a man obsessed by Catholic imagery from his Cuban childhood, a painter who shows theatricality and love of tiny stage sets and shrines in his paintings and drawings versus a strong meditative tendency, a master of trompe l'oeil, a reader with a love of poetry, particularly Garcia Lorca's poems, a myth-maker especially down to Narcissus--with mirrors and doublings--and Orpheus, a symbolist who is sometimes clear and sometimes hermetic, a visionary concerned with psychological and spiritual states) that I ordered my own copy. While it's clear that he was influenced by certain contemporaries and movements (his Minimalist-influenced pieces are surely my favorites from that particular corner of the art world), he is strongly drawn by European art made for cathedral and church settings and also by Vermeer and Rembrandt and other Dutch Golden Age painters.

And González has made me go back to Federico García Lorca, Collected Poems (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002). And as I always say, rereading is the best reading.


David Lyle Jeffrey, In the Beauty of Holiness: Art and the Bible in Western Culture (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 2017.) I ordered this beautiful volume because of John Wilson's review, which is here: "David Lyle Jeffrey's Unpopular Project." I'm on page 25 and liking the book very much. And one thing I just learned that I like a lot is that the Hebrew word for artistic creativity is chokma-lev, or wise-heartedness. I'll have to aspire to that! Here's some praise from John Wilson: "Jeffrey is a scholar who could easily intimidate readers with his erudition: master of many languages, ancient and modern; equally knowledgeable about literature and the visual arts; and intimately familiar, above all, with Scripture. Open his book at random and read a few pages: You’ll be stunned by the sheer range of his learning. And yet, unlike many of his academic peers, he doesn’t employ a style designed to exclude all but a handful of readers fluent in this or that jargon."

Wow. Crack-stroke of lightning, almost simultaneous with the thunder... Where was I? Hmm. I'm doing my third book event for my women's group (a group focused on creating and attending events related to arts and religion for going-on-two years now.) And the next discussion is of readings from Kathleen Raine, Richard Wilbur, Charles Causley, and Elizabeth Jennings. So of course I am reading those four to get ready. (Past readings: Frederick Buechner's little masterpiece, Godric; and The Cloud of Unknowing in the new Carmen Acevedo Butcher translation from Shambhala.) Oh, and I've just reviewed a book of poems and a novel by Valerie Nieman for North Carolina Literary Review. And that was an interesting assignment for me, as those of us who write poetry and fiction are the in the minority, and an even smaller minority of us write either a book-length poem (see Poochigian below) or a book-length series of poems (Nieman's Leopard Lady, out from Press53 in Winston-Salem, 2018, and Jeffery Beam, below.) As I have done both (Thaliad and The Book of the Red King), I'm always glad to encounter new examples.

Thinking about an unusual book form in a current read...

Jeffery Beam has long been a devotee of beauty, and his Spectral Pegasus / Dark Movements is one of the prettiest books to appear in recent years. This poetry collection is another in the realm of the book-length series of poems, and is also an addition to the world of ekphrastic poetry. It is a book of free verse responses to paintings--and since the art is intricately tied together in a series, naturally the poems are as well. And internally they are held together, elaborate parallelism often binding the lines, so there is a kind of macrocosmic and microcosmic structure in the form.

Spectral Pegasus / Dark Movements display a different way of thinking about what a book of poetry is, and it strikes me that the book is determined to create its own audience--that is, to create the reader's understanding and sympathy for the project--through what is included. Short excerpts from Lindsay Clarke and Joseph Campbell serve as a kind of preface, nudging us in a desired direction. The poems and art form the core of the book, but they are followed by three essays about the poetry and the art. So the book itself teaches how to read it, and also how to look at the art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins... Then there's a whole other dimension to the book in which music and poems join in the CD. It's an interesting and rare way of looking at the making of a poetry collection, and one that must have taken a lot of love and care.

Here's a sample that goes with the weather outside...

THE GRIM REAPER APPEARS AS A NIGHT-FLOWER - Jeffery Beam (see below)

Delicate thief!
I thought your roar something
children imagined in a storm
Instead you light up the night meteoric
I hear you flash
Then all quiet
Done



Currently on the starlit nightstand of poetry:

Ned Balbo, 3 Nights of the Perseids 2018 Richard Wilbur Award
  (Evansville, Indiana: University of Indiana Press, 2019)
Jeffery Beam, Spectral Pegasus / Dark Movements (thank you to Jeffery)
   Higganum, CT: Kin Press, 2019
   Includes reproductions of art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins. And a CD with poems and music!
Maryann Corbett, Mid Evil 2014 Richard Wilbur Award
     (Evansville, Indiana: University of Indiana Press, 2014)
Jeanne Larsen, What Penelope Chooses (thank you to Jeanne) 2017 Cider Press Review Award
   (San Diego, CA: Cider Press Review, 2019)
Amit Majmudar, Dothead
   (New York: Borzoi Book, Knopf, 2016)
A. E. Stallings, Like (thank you to Ashley Cooper)
   (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2018)
Aaron Poochigian, Mr. Either/Or 
   (Wilkes-Barre, PA: Etruscan Press, 2017)



Unweavings

IN ROMARE BEARDEN'S COLLAGE, BODACIOUS - Jeanne Larsen

sirens croon among birds: a small crane, twin
gulls wheeling. Out there on the mast Odysseus
hangs hog-roped, neck a twist, his chin wrenched down.
What binds him is inescapable, & white.
Oh the blue blues, oh naked women's sweet
bone-black hips, oh shoreline's flame-green flames.
Look: in a mirror that is & is not beyond
this hanging objet's frame, a mob. But with honey
-comb our great hearted man stopped up soft ears.
He'll make it to Ithaka, after all. A poem,
then, not about cosseting steep-walled shames. No threnody.
Poem of the trickster's survival. Poem of how
we do go forward. Of shuddering bodies, compassed.

It's always curious how certain threads coalesce in the world of letters. I'm still pondering the current combination on the loom of literary time, of which Jeanne Larsen's book is a part. Why re-think Homer now? Along with Emily Wilson’s translation of the Odyssey, Pat Barker’s Silence of the Girls, and Madeline Miller’s Circe, Jeanne Larsen's twisty, jazzy poems in What Penelope Chooses question (interrogate would be the hip critic's word) that composite, passed-down voice we call Homer. 

Even more than in Wilson's translation, which makes the Homeric line something different, more tense and compact by compression into iambic pentameter, Larsen's lines are tightened, broken, contemporary, full of frisky language play. Try these: nasty / sassy queasy peephole; beagle-brained square-jawed skull-thickener; poly-vocal fingers; sea dog, pollywog, old tarpaulin, / storm-scoured gob; blood-streaky, breached; nerve-zap yearning; clit / -whipped; PTSD blues; future snarled, blue-screened, timed-out. The poems question not just Homer but also form and what language is suited to a trickster--cheerfully tossing out not just the Homeric line but also pulling into new, wild shapes the sonnet form to which Larsen nods.

The freedom of time-leaping and the frolicsome language remind me a bit of Christopher Logue's unfinished versions--or "accounts," as he called them--of the Illiad, War Music. But as with Barker, Miller, and Wilson, a different sort of metamorphosis is underway. What was at the margins or not conceived to be worth sustained attention now gleams under a light: torn, ignored, or cast-off women; autistic (!) Polyphemus who loves his "nubbly" ram; a tapestry- and Homer-unweaving Penelope who may have had "a few brawly boys, a fickle maid" in her bed. What is at the margin takes stage, becomes center.