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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Zoomreadery


Click HERE to find a Zoom invite for my CANO (Community Arts Network of Oneonta) reading on the 17th, tomorrow, 7:30 p.m. EST (It kicks off with a short open mike session followed by yours truly reading from THE BOOK OF THE RED KING (Phoenicia Publishing, 2019) and CHARIS IN THE WORLD OF WONDERS (Ignatius Press, 2020.) 

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Formal frolics, just up--

Just home from four days in New Hampshire, and pleased to find people sharing two new poems of mine on social media... enjoy!

Self-portrait as Ruth the Moabite at Measure Review

Pilfered from Measure Review on Twitter: "Writing in a nonce form that's half-sestina and half-ghazal, #poet Marly Youmans (@marlyyoumans) has created a stunning and hopeful #poem worth remembering - and form worth trying yourself. Read it now at http://measurereview.org. #measurereview" 

Seaside Pentina for a Chinese Painter at Autumn Sky Poetry Daily

"Editor’s Note: This delightful pentina uses lush imagery to draw the reader into a landscape that feels as ephemeral as a painting, but with a structure that perfectly encapsulates the concept of 'li'."

Monday, June 07, 2021

June, June, June


Home after five weeks on my mother's North Carolina mountaintop and a meet-in-Philly trip to celebrate my youngest child's birthday... noting my June events here. Evidently anyone can attend the CANO event, though a link is needed. And I think that'll be sent the week before.

June 17

CANO reading via Zoom
I'll read from
The Book of the Red King 
and 
Charis in the World of Wonders
Community Arts Network of Oneonta - Writers Salon
(607) 432-2070
Email: admin@canoneonta.org

Coming soon!

June 2
Zoom with St. Francis Book Club
Charis in the World of Wonders
led by Fr. Mark Michael
St. Francis Episcopal Church
Potomac, Md

Thank you to the participants...
Loved this event--such interesting questions!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A singing bird for The Hidden Cathedral Poetry Celebration

A little nesting bird from The Cathedral of All Saints, Albany

If you liked the prior post with videos from The Hidden Cathedral Poetry Celebration, please sign up for emails from Cathedral Arts of The Cathedral of All Saints in Albany, New York. Malcolm Guite and much more, including 24 videos from me. And I am also moving the videos to the public setting a few days after they appear at the Cathedral Arts sites, so you can also go HERE to find all the HCPC videos by me, eventually... as well as other videos about my poetry and fiction or made by me. A playlist will pop up for the 24 when the last one goes public.

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Hidden Cathedral Poetry: the first 4 of my 24 tiny videos

The Hidden Cathedral Poetry Celebration has begun! 

To learn more about this April festival from Cathedral Arts of The Cathedral of All Saints in Albany, New York, go HERE. (And you can sign up to receive updates in your inbox...) Included will be some of my readings of poets you may not know, as well as a talk from Malcolm Guite and readings from Leonard A. Slade, Jr., Luke Stromberg, and Michael Joyce.

 



Another reason to hate the (usually useful) internet

 CEASE AND DESIST

                            To Whomever,

Kindly remove the abusive, illegal use of my name on your hosting server: that is, the site www[dot]marlyyoumans[dot]com. You have no right to use my name, and I do not wish to be associated with your slut-and-sex links. While I have legal counsel, I will be happy to refrain from using it if this website vanishes immediately.
With utmost sincerity, 
the Real Marly Youmans
If this happens to you, try ICANN--https://lookup.icann.org/--to find out what lovely organization did this to you.

    Thursday, April 08, 2021

    My poems in another's voice



    Dan Belton
    ("Writer, printer, painter, photographer, Hangman books, ex-stuckist")
    reads some of my poems. 
    Find him (even buy his art) here:
    https://www.instagram.com/danbeltonart/
    https://twitter.com/DantanianBelton
    https://www.facebook.com/dantanian


    Dan Belton reads "Blue Sky, Blue Tree"
    from The Book of the Red King

    Dan Belton reads "To Make Much of Time"
    from The Foliate Head

    Dan Belton reads "The Sheaf of Wheat"
    from The Foliate Head

    Dan Belton reads "Mirror Tree, Tree Mirror"
    from The Foliate Head

    Dan Belton reads "Puck in Spring"
    from The Foliate Head

    Sunday, April 04, 2021

    Celebrating Easter with three makers--

    To celebrate Easter, here are a few images from contemporary makers I have explored and admire, masters of religious art... None of these celebrated Easter earlier today, as they are all Eastern Orthodox congregants. While I am not Orthodox, I would say that I have leanings in that direction (particularly toward the beauty, the densely visual and narrative quality of their churches, and the love of early writers), and I was for a time on the board of an Orthodox contemplative center. I'll have to write about that some time...

    The first is a mosaic by Aidan Hart, a wonderful all-around maker of church furniture and decoration, and a writer whose book Beauty Spirit Matter: Icons in the Modern World is a splendid, ravishing thing. You may think it strange, but I have found his writing about church decoration to be generative for my writing--and that's a rare quality. I recently wrote a poem beginning with a line quoted from Aidan Hart, and another structured by his advice to iconographers. Writers, of course, are magpies, and pluck up glittering bits of inspiration where they will, sometimes in surprising places.


                                                                                 * * *
                                                    One of two new Aidan Hart mosaics for
    St George’s Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas
    Read about how they were designed and made

                Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
                Pleasant and long:
                Or since all music is but three parts vied
                And multiplied;
                O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
                And make up our defects with his sweet art.

                       from George Herbert (1593-1633), "Easter"

    Here's another image I like--a chandelier by the wonderful Orthodox architect, Andrew Gould, installed in his home church in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Long ago, I used to spend a good deal of time in Mt. Pleasant and Charleston, and some day I'd like to do a Gould-tour of the area, jaunting about to see his clever churches and houses and the wonderfully imaginative wine store... 

    I love the way he nestles new homes into historic communities by creating a sort of narrative around them, establishing a place and time and story for each. In fact, I love the way narrative interpenetrates the work of all three makers here. It rises up naturally as a response to bedrock narratives and also to traditional ways of incorporating narrative into church buildings.

    Read about the image here: 
    New World Byzantine Studios, installed 
    at Holy Ascension Orthodox Church"

            Looke downe, thou spiest out Crosses in small things;
            Looke up, thou seest birds rais’d on crossed wings;
            All the Globes frame, and spheares, is nothing else
            But the Meridians crossing Parallels.
            Materiall Crosses then, good physicke bee,
            But yet spirituall have chiefe dignity.

                  from John Donne (1572-1631), "The Crosse"

    And here is an Old Testament prefiguration of the resurrection, the "sign of Jonah," as the now-a-tad-wiser ship's passenger returns to light and air from the belly of the fish. It's by the only North American practitioner of icon carving, Jonathan Pageau, who works in wood and stone but is also well known for his talks on how to read as symbolic events and scripture and the works of the church fathers. As that fits rather nicely into my own way of looking at the world, I find him interesting in several ways.

    * * *
    Take a visual ramble
    around Jonathan Pageau's gallery HERE

    For good company to go with the image of Jonah in those complicated waves, here's a crumb of Father Mapple's sermon from Herman Melville's Moby Dick, published in 1851 : “Shipmates, this book, containing only four chapters--four yarns--is one of the smallest strands in the mighty cable of the Scriptures. Yet what depths of the soul Jonah’s deep sea-line sound! what a pregnant lesson to us is this prophet! What a noble thing is that canticle in the fish’s belly! How billow-like and boisterously grand! We feel the floods surging over us, we sound with him to the kelpy bottom of the waters; sea-weed and all the slime of the sea is about us! But what is this lesson that the book of Jonah teaches? Shipmates, it is a two-stranded lesson; a lesson to us all as sinful men, and a lesson to me as a pilot of the living God. As sinful men, it is a lesson to us all, because it is a story of the sin, hard-heartedness, suddenly awakened fears, the swift punishment, repentance, prayers, and finally the deliverance and joy of Jonah."

    All three of these makers have articles at Orthodox Art Journal, as well as online homes well worth exploring. (I have pilfered the images from OAJ and Pageau Carvings and have put some trust in kindly forbearance.)

    Aidan Hart articles at Orthodox Arts Journal
    Aidan Hart's online home, Aidan Hart Icons



    Andrew Gould articles at Orthodox Arts Journal
    Andrew Gould's online home, New World Byzantine

    Jonathan Pageau articles at Orthodox Arts Journal

    Enjoy! 
    Happy Easter--

    Wednesday, March 31, 2021

    Jackson Center interview

    Though most people who keep up with me go to social media sites, I'm posting this for the wonderful dinosaurs who still follow blogs and don't follow facebook. It's a copy of the facebook interview from The Jackson Center for Creative Writing at Hollins. Conducted by MFA student Lena Fultz. Thanks to her and to the Jackson Center!



    Hollins Creative Writing Alum Spotlight: Marly Youmans, M.A. ‘75 

    Marly Youmans describes herself as a “Carolinian astray in snowy upstate New York.” After graduating from Hollins in 1975, she has written across genres—novels, short stories, and poetry. Youmans returned to Hollins in 2010 to serve as a Writer in Residence for the Children’s Literature summer program. 

    Her work continues to win awards, with novels regularly appearing as finalists in ForeWord’s Book of the Year contest, among many others. John Wilson, editor at Books and Culture Magazine, describes Youmans as “the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. She writes like an angel—an angel who has learned what it is to be human.”

    Youmans spoke on her time at Hollins and her most recent (fifteenth!) novel, CHARIS IN THE WORLD OF WONDERS, with MFA student Lena Fultz.

    LF:  What was your experience at Hollins like? What did you take away from your time here?

    MY:  I wrote reams of poems at Hollins, and when I left at 20, I threw them all away—very much a young poet’s thing to do, though now I regret renouncing all those sparks of youth. Some years ago, Lee Smith told me that she found one of those old poems lying about the department and liked it: “The Magician’s Daughter.” 

    Some of the women who were entranced with poetry (and the beloved Richard Dillard) are still friends of mine, especially Mary Bullington, Robbi (Kellman) Nester, and Susan Hankla. Susan was at Brown with me as well (riotous days!), and my fifteenth book, CHARIS IN THE WORLD OF WONDERS, is dedicated to Richard and Susan.

    Amanda Cockrell invited me to be Writer in Residence at the summer Children’s Literature program some years back, and I enjoyed the return and still hear from some of the students. Just last fall, I had the decided pleasure of discussing Susan Hankla’s first full-length book, CLINCH RIVER, in THE HOLLINS CRITIC.  

    I suppose that many a young writer discovers a need to rebel against what she has been taught in school, and against the times. And so I have ended up bounding away from the vers libre of Modernism and its after-shock movements, and have embraced meter and sometimes rhyme as liberating and strengthening forces. I’ve gone back to older and larger definitions of what poetry can be and can include: narrative and long poem, as in THE THRONE OF PSYCHE; long sequence with repeating characters, as in THE BOOK OF THE RED KING; epic adventure, as in THALIAD. Falling into the land of stories helped, for I soon wanted my poems and fiction to be entirely different creatures.

    LF:  Your recent novel, CHARIS IN THE WORLD OF WONDERS, is set in Puritan New England. What does your research process look like for writing in a time before you were born? What is the biggest challenge?

    MY:  In the books where I’ve delved into the past, I’ve moved through regions of time where I felt comfortable: CATHERWOOD and CHARIS in the seventeenth century, THE WOLF PIT in the nineteenth, and A DEATH AT THE WHITE CAMELLIA ORPHANGE in the Depression. 

    I tend to consider fiction-time as a place rather than as an inaccessible era. Some of this is due to my extended family in Georgia. As a child, I spent some of my summer traveling-time at my maternal grandmother’s big Queen Anne house and property in Collins. My mother was the accidental ninth baby of a woman born in 1883; the home and our matriarch, Lila Eugenia Arnold Morris, felt Edwardian. And some of my vacation time was spent with my paternal grandparents; the sharecropper’s shack and farm are closely described in A DEATH AT THE WHITE CAMELLIA ORPHANAGE. Utilities were minimal, comforts sparse, mules stubborn, sun boiling. Tenant labors of ploughing in the fields, picking cotton and tobacco, preserving food, or making turpentine in the piney woods didn’t appear impossibly distant from the peasant’s vassal duties in a medieval and feudal world. My two Georgia family homes have been a blessing to me as settings for my imagination and as ways of understanding how to live and move in the past, as well as how to navigate a landscape of hardship, toil, and poverty. 

    (Here I should pause and thank my late father for the burning motivation that made him a teenage tailgunner on a B-17 in World War II and afterward a professor of analytical chemistry—one who bought his elderly parents a house in town. And thank you, America, for the G. I. bill.)

    For CHARIS IN THE WORLD OF WONDERS, I could skip over a lot of basic research because I had read so much colonial documentation and literature in earlier years. But I spent nine days at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, looking up specific things: occupations and titles in Massachusetts Bay Colony; accounts of Haverhill and Andover (now North Andover); letters; modes of address in England and the colonies; laws and punishment; differences between English and colonial goldsmiths; silver styles; contracts; marriage ways; recipes, etc.  

    Mainly, I didn’t want to tumble into the silly ways in which “the godly,” as they called themselves, have been depicted with black clothes (out of reach for most), buckles on hats, constant dreariness, and so on. The keys to writing a novel set in the past are few but essential: never put contemporary beliefs and contemporary characters into the past (unless, of course, you are writing a time-travel book!); show the same amount of “stuff” and landscape as you would in writing of your own place and time; don’t feel that you must prove (by over-reference to songs, politicians, scandals, etc.) that a character really and truly is in past time; and wear any historical research lightly, avoiding the dread info-dump.

    LF:  With the current state of the world right now, are you finding time and space to write? What does your writing routine (if you have one) look like?

    MY: A great deal of my adult life has been spent as a mother of three (one is still at home), and children have no need for a writer. They need a writer about as much as an octopus needs a party dress, and this is a good thing; it has kept me from ever accumulating any big-headed thoughts and forced me to be ingenious about scraps of time. So no, I never developed a routine; I seem to be fatally allergic to anything that smacks of over-organization, outlines, or the old-fashioned writer with wife who protects writing time. I do, however, have a husband who cooks and bakes wonderfully well, and for that I am grateful.

    Despite the pandemic, I am dividing my days between Cooperstown, New York, my home for the last 22 years, and Cullowhee, North Carolina, where I attended high school and where my mother lives. So, I’m sometimes shuttling back and forth along the Appalachian chain . . . Given my current situation, I’ve decided not to start a new novel until later, but I am writing poems.

    LF:  Any future projects or upcoming events we can look forward to? 

    MY:  I expect that the next book will be a poetry collection. Meanwhile, reviews and interviews and podcasts for CHARIS are still trickling out—it seems that I have an unfortunate tendency to have books launch during national disasters, but I’m hoping that readers will be kind enough to support pandemic books!



    Tuesday, March 30, 2021

    Charis, NCLR, and two poetry projects in Lent


    CHARIS IN THE WORLD OF WONDERS 

    I've been grateful for the many good reviews of the novel, and now for a interestingly "mixed" review from "Editors' Picks" at Plough Quarterly. If you're wondering how this writer reacts to a mixed review, well, it's to say that all thoughtful attention helps the book--and here also to run through her mind why the pattern of a human being going through trials before finally winning home isn't proper as an appropriate and compelling narrative shape. Old as Homer. Older. But I'm pleased to have the consideration of the book all the same. So many thanks to Joy Clarkson... 

    Clip: ...to conjure this premodern and enchanted way of encountering the world, where babies born on the Sabbath are cursed and moose are near-mythic creatures. Reading historical fiction can sometimes feel like a one-sided game of Trivial Pursuit, in which the author inflicts upon you every fact he or she ever learned about the time period. Not so with this book. Charis’ world is one in which I thoroughly believed, full of people I couldn’t help but care about. The archaic language felt natural, and its premodern mindset, full of assumptions alien to the modern experience, was revitalizing to inhabit.



    THE WOMAN IN THE WALLS

    Pilfered just after it popped up on NCLR on facebook... "The Woman in the Walls."

    And no, it's not autobiographical, though there's a wisp of truth--did watch a wall being built with children, and the maker gave a broken trilobite to my daughter. That's somewhat rare for me, as I like to make up almost everything. when I write... Many writers like to write out of their own lives, but I find that material rather boring compared to the frolic and fireworks possible when I invent.



    WORDS IN LENT

    In other word-news, approaching the end of a Lenten project of writing a formal poem every day. Almost there... Pentina, terza rima, otttava rima, sonnets, blank verse, and more. And a second Lenten project is almost complete--making videos of other people's poems for the Cathedral Arts program at The Cathedral of All Saints in Albany, New York. More on that later!

    Monday, March 08, 2021

    Charis images on Sussex Lustreware

    A peek at the Sussex Lustreware "World of Wonders" line, with images by Clive Hicks-Jenkins from his illuminations for Charis in the World of Wonders. To see all, go  HERE.


    Tuesday, February 16, 2021

    This snowy, icy week...

    A few warm things... 

    Charis in the World of Wonders

    I've updated the Charis page, so please take a look--there is a great deal there now. This week I'm glad of a lovely long review of Charis in the World of Wonders by notable musician, teacher, and editor Lorraine Hale Robinson. And it's hosted at North Carolina Literary Review, edited by Margaret Bauer. To have four thoughtful pages in NCLR is something for which I am grateful! 

    You may find the digital version of the magazine HERE, or you may leap directly to the review HERE.


         Charis in the World of Wonders offers diverse sources of enjoyment—an exciting adventure saga, for example. Or, readers interested in the philosophical concepts of time and place, tracing the path of Charis’s adventure offers attractions. For readers interested in history, the book presents a vivid and engaging picture of “a world lit by fire.” Or for those of a metaphysical bent, there is the fascination of the bewildering “forests” of contradictions that drive Every Woman Charis’s interior, psychological journeys. For readers who relish the mot juste, there is delicate and nuanced writing craft and a sparkling use of kennings. My own recommendation is to read the book for all of its many wonders. --Lorraine Hale Robinson, “Homage to Hawthorne: A (New) Wonder Book,” North Carolina Literary Review, pp. 124-127. 11 February 2021.

    The Dreamer as Architect

    And HERE is "The Dreamer as Architect" at the digital version of First Things...  The second of two poems chosen by poet A. M. Juster in his brief time as poetry editor there, so I thank him. This one has received loads of lovely comments on twitter and facebook, so if you have not already seen it, perhaps you might like to peregrinate over that way... It's dedicated to novelist Midori Snyder.


    The start of  the poem, for a taste:

                                                  Last night in dreams, she lived a thousand years
                                                  And was the architect who made a house
                                                  That wandered from the mountains to the sea.

    Hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day, passers-by! 

    Monday, February 01, 2021

    Jot of news

     "Hoop of Time"

    at Better than Starbucks... HERE.


    Because you're in dire need of a poem.

    Wednesday, January 27, 2021

    Bailey, Wetta, Charis...



    Scott G. F. Bailey on Charis in the World of Wonders

    Here's a clip from a new extended post about Charis in the World of Wonders from novelist Scott G. F. Bailley, author of The Astrologer. I picked this bit because he talks about language, but he has a lot more to say and is always interesting, so please take a look.

    This is a beautiful book. Some readers, I have noticed, have difficulty with the poetic nature of Youmans' prose, and to them I say they should become better readers and lovers of language's music. "tilt and spill" "wondrous cascade" "ungrasped length" "bear and vessel what is unearthly and rained down" are wonderful constructions: just listen to the vowels and the rhythms, the moving accents from one sentence to the next. Youmans stretches prose, but never goes too far. Sound and sense, it's all there. I never do any book justice when I write about it, and I keep that tradition with this wee essay. Charis in the World of Wonders deserves lots of readers. Go be one of them, do. 

    --novelist Scott G. F. Bailey, review post at Six Words for a Hat, 22 January 2021

    And his earlier comment:

    Marly Youmans' latest novel, Charis in the World of Wonders, is a great book...a rich tapestry of invention, a lovely long song of many overlapping themes. As with so much of Youmans' work, it is a myth writ on human scale, an instruction manual for discovering beauty and love in this fallen world. I do not exaggerate. 

    C--novelist Scott G. F. Bailey, Six Words for a Hat31 December 2020

    * * * * * * *


    Fr. Augustine Wetta video on Charis

    A Wetta-and-moi video was supposed to be up on youtube, but I can't seem to find it... so HERE is a link to the video on facebook.  If you click, you'll discover me in my dining room being interviewed by author and Benedictine monk Fr. Augustine Wetta (who was a private student of mine at the Antioch Workshops a few years ago. He has since published the novel we discussed (in part) at Antioch:  The Eighth Arrow: Odysseus in the Underworld.) I always cringe at seeing/hearing myself, so I have not watched it, but Fr. Dude (as he is known to his students at the St. Louis Priory school) asked some interesting questions...

    Saturday, January 16, 2021

    Charis at year's end, again...

    Art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins

    Thank you to Melanie Bettinelli and The Wine-Dark Sea for calling Charis in the World of Wonders "probably my favorite book of the year and the one I am most likely to recommend to anyone looking for a good book to read, and especially for a bookclub." She describes the book as "luminous" and says that she "cannot praise it highly enough." 

    If you want to read why she thinks so, jump into The Wine-Dark Sea at this very spot.

    I'm glad to see Charis walking onto her 6th year's end list. She's a intrepid traveler. And she's on the list with my friend Sally Thomas's Motherland (at Able Muse, Bookshop.orgAmazonbn.com, local indies etc.) So pleasant!

    Wednesday, January 13, 2021

    Clive's sketchbook for Charis



    Clive Hicks-Jenkins and Charis in the World of Wonders

    A tiny linen-bound sketchbook in which I made all the preparatory work for Marly Youmans’ historic novel, ‘Charis in the World of Wonders’, published last year by Ignatius. 

    Note that throughout my sketches I mis-titled it ‘Charis in a World of Wonders’. Luckily I noticed the error before making the finished artwork.


    * * *
    More Clivean goodness:

    Clive's website: 

    Clive's Artlog: 

    Gray Mare Press: 

    Shows, commissions, collections: 

    Clive's fascinating life in ballet, theatre, puppetry, book arts, and painting: 

    Friday, January 08, 2021

    E pluribus unum


    Constantino Brumidi, 1808-1880
    Wikimedia Commons, public domain
    Capitol dome detail: E pluribus Unum


    A detail from Auden, right for the hour--

    Follow, poet, follow right
    To the bottom of the night,
    With your unconstraining voice
    Still persuade us to rejoice;

    With the farming of a verse
    Make a vineyard of the curse,
    Sing of human unsuccess
    In a rapture of distress;

    In the deserts of the heart
    Let the healing fountain start,
    In the prison of his days
    Teach the free man how to praise.

                          --a very high call to the poet in hard times,
                            from Auden's great poem, "In Memory of W. B. Yeats"

    ***
    Blessed are the peacemakers
    Resist divisiveness.
    E pluribus unum.


    Friday, January 01, 2021

    Year ends, year begins

    (CC by 2.0, Tim Reckmann at Wikipedia via flicker) 

    Good wishes, plus a polkadot jot...

    Indulgent feast with progeny save the one stranded in Montreal, much champagne, a game of Catan, and much pot-beating to chase away the annus horribilis! Happy new year, friends, and have a marvelous trip around the sun in 2021.

    The polkadot jot of caution

    The very late P. G. Wodehouse for early 2021: "I’m not absolutely certain of the facts, but I rather fancy it’s Shakespeare who says that it’s always just when a fellow is feeling particularly braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with the bit of lead piping." 


    *****************************

                                                       Image by Helen Montague Prichard Foster

    ***

    Lists for Year's End


    Stephen J. Anderson at Medium
    "2020: A Few of My Favorite Things"
    5 January 2021
    I think this book will become a classic. It should, at any rate. It’s an epic set in early colonial North America, full of danger, devils, mythical beasts, wilderness, splendid 17th century vocabulary, and of grace. Charis comes of age in an untamed time in a world of wonders. Everything about it fits. More people need to know about this book.

    "What we read (and loved) this past year"
    30 December 2020
    Rosemary Callenberg, Associate Editor: My favorite work of fiction this year was Charis in the World of Wonders, by Marly Youmans. This novel was beautiful. The language was rich and poetic without ever crossing the line into 'too much,' and I felt a great sense of intimacy with the main character in both her struggles and joys.

    December 2020
    and
    "Twelve Important Fiction Books of 2020"
    December 2020
    Description and excerpt.

    “The Best Books I Read in 2020"
    18 December 2020
    Catherine Harmon: Charis in the World of Wonders by Marly Youmans. A close contender for my favorite book of the year. Like Eifelheim, this novel also treats its historical setting and characters with respect—Youmans’ 17th-century men and women are recognizable to us in their humanity, with faults, foibles, and virtues we can see in ourselves and those around us, but they are also, clearly, the inhabitants of a time very different from our own, from which we can learn much. Youmans’ “World of Wonders” is a grace-filled, sacramentally-charged landscape that reminded me of Flannery O’Connor’s world, different as it is in time and place.

    John Wilson, "A Year of Reading: 2020" 
    26 November 2020
    Youmans’s latest novel, one of her best, is set in 17th-century Puritan New England. My copy is a thicket of Post-it Notes. Here I will simply repeat what I wrote for the back of the book: “Charis in the World of Wonders confirms once more Marly Youmans’ place among the magi. There is indeed ‘a dark and amazing intricacy in Providence,’ as this spellbinding novel attests.”



    *****************************

    Updatery


    Thanks to editor Patrick Key for an acceptance on the first of January--a good start to 2021! And today the poems are up:  After the Pandemonium, George Herbert, and Child with a Bird Shrine. And if you want more, check out Reverie, Silk, and Metamorphoses in the October issue. Nonce stanzas, Herbertian stanzas, poulter's measure, blank verse... Happy 10th day of Christmas!

    Updatery, again...

    A bit of Burne-Jones for Epiphany  (PD Wikimedia Commons)

    All I can do for a chaotic, upside down world is to add my daily jot of making to the sum of beauty, truth, and goodness in the world. And we may all add our mites to that strange and marvelous sum because each of us is homo faber, the maker who can transform self and world.


    Manuscript page with an image of Christine Pizan writing, 
    The Book of the Queen, c. 1410, 
    British Library, public domain.