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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

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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,, 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.

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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
"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.”



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.