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Thursday, December 29, 2022

Wiseblood, Seren, poems


From the Wiseblood Books End-of-2022 newsletter:

Seren of the Wildwood, a long fantasy story in verse by Marly Youmans, forthcoming in March of 2023. Youmans is an award-winning author of over fifteen books, including, most recently, Charis in the World of WondersAppreciating the way in which Seren "whispers to our fractured souls," Makoto Fujimura calls the poem "an adventure that is at once psychologically potent and fantastical," and Amit Majmudar illumines that Youmans, by "hybridizing the 'bob and wheel' of medieval poetry with the iambic pentameter narratives of the Romantic and Victorian era, conjures a time-frame outside time, perfectly suited to the story. This book is itself a 'Wildwood' where fey, elusive, illusory phenomena draw the protagonist—and the reader—deeper and deeper into mystery.” Seren will contain cover and interior illustrations by the Welsh artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins, including these three here (click on the images):

To see the images and read the entire and very interesting newsletter, go HERE.


Out-in-December poems 

I've been forgetting to post poems on the blog, as more people tend to read them via links on twitter or facebook these days, but here are the out-in-December ones I can remember (alas, I've had to rush away from home and don't have access to all my records.)

New poem in First Things: The Mortal Longing After Loveliness This one not "about" but is oddly apt for the Christmas season. I wonder how many poems Xerxes has marched into...

New poem in Willows Wept: Summer's End (page 53) I'd forgotten this one; poets are moody, it seems!

And if you have a subscription to print-only journal Blue Unicorn (they're very rare, those lovely, melancholy blue ones), you'll find one in there this month as well, thanks to a bit of delay on an issue.


A new page 

is up for Seren of the Wildwood, so check it out! See tabs above. Blurbs-in-full plus more of those ever-delightful Hicks-Jenkins illuminations...

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Matters of Beauty

I'm on a panel talking about the short(ish) film, "Why Beauty Matters," in Delhi's lovely old public library  on the 13th. at 2:30... Regional friends, come see the movie and discuss!

* * *

Small new poem: Old Women on the Churchyard Wall at Better than Starbucks. I've been stretched thin this year and haven't sent much out. Maybe by the end of the year...

Friday, August 12, 2022


My beautiful child!

"The Beautiful Child Contest is now underway at the Cow and Sheep Barn." 

Last night I went to the Schoharie County Fair with my husband and youngest--Demo Derby! Royal Hannaford Circus! Gaudy rides! Crazy carnival eats! And all the joys of beribboned rabbits and hares, cows and sheep and friendly goats.


Hurrah for a lovely new review from Sarah Collister at The North American Anglican. I'm grateful that this book, launched in the most uncertain part of the pandemic, is still receiving reviews two years on.

Sample clip:

Youmans takes readers on a triumphant yet honest journey from death to new life in the ten chapters of her luminous novel.

I had the hardest time reviewing this book because every time I picked up to work on the review, I ended up getting lost in the narrative once again. Though the themes of this tale are quite serious ‒ death, loss, and new life ‒ Youmans’ prose is still dazzling and joyful, repeating the profound Biblical metaphor that darkness often brings further illumination to the light.

For the whole review, go HERE.

Art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins
Find him at


The poem has been typeset, two of three requested blurb comments are already in, and I need to make a list of places that or people who might be interested in reviewing for Wiseblood Books. Clive Hicks-Jenkins will be at work on the illumination this fall. They typeset version looks highly symmetrical and handsome, as each little section is blank verse followed by bob-and-wheel.


Poems are coming out here and there... 

I've agreed to be on the judging panel for a national poetry award. And that's a bit insane, as life is overly busy already. But I should learn a thing or two.

And there's this splashy event: Makoto Fujimura's latest book, Art and Faith, was an inspiration for Holy Ground, premiered recently at our own Glimmerglass Opera, and I was invited by Mako to the pre-opera picnic and premier. It's always lovely to see him, but I also got to meet his new wife, Haejin Shim Fujimura (co-founder of Embers International), as well as Holy Ground's librettist Lila Palmer and composer Damien Geter, and Lila's composer husband Josh Palmer. 

The other side of the table...
Damien Geter, Lila Palmer, Makoto Fujimura

Saturday, June 18, 2022

NCLR: Night-blooming Cereus, Spring Tree Egg, Alice

From a recent North Carolina Literary Review zoom reading: three of my poems from a wild-and-free sequence influenced by the paralIelism of Hebrew poetry (via the lovely rhythms of the King James Bible) and a Yoruban form. Yep, a real Silk Road set of poems... And not formal in the way you may associate with my poems.

I never watch myself, so I can't make any promises...

Monday, June 06, 2022



Amethyst Review

New Writing Engaging with the Sacred

Fly to "Otherworlds"

Thursday, June 02, 2022

Sharing the Wiseblood newsletter

Forthcoming from Wiseblood Books

Dear Readers,

Our horizon of forthcoming publications is afire with good things
  so many, in fact, that I can't help sharing a few highlights:

1. Seren of the Wildwood, a long fantasy story in verse by Marly Youmans, with cover and interior illustrations by Clive Hicks-Jenkins. Youmans is an award-winning author of over fifteen books, including, most recently, Charis in the World of Wonders.   

2. Works of Mercy, a novel by Sally Thomas, who was our 2021 Wiseblood Writer-in-Residence. Thomas is author of the poetry book Motherland (Able Muse Press 2020), a finalist for the Able Muse Book Award. With Micah Mattix, she is co-editor of a poetry anthology, Christian Poetry in America Since 1940, from Paraclete Press. Currently she serves as Associate Poetry Editor of the New York Sun.

3. A Theology of Fiction (expanded) by Cassandra Nelson. A shorter version of Nelson's "A Theology of Fiction" appeared in First Things in April of 2022. The essay asks "Where did Catholic literary fiction come from in the first place?" and answers this question by examining the life and work of a remarkable but little-known American Benedictine named Sister Mariella Gable. The literary reputations of J.F. Powers and Flannery O’Connor rose, in part, on Gable's reviews, anthologies, and single-handed reconsiderations of what Catholic literature could be. Nelson, an associate fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, brings years of hard-won ruminations to bear on questions concerning faith and fiction.

4. Paul Claudel's play The City, preface by Pater Edmund Waldstein, a monk of Stift Heiligenkreuz, a Cistercian abbey in Austria and editor of the Josiasa manual of Catholic political philosophy.
5. Seneca's The Madness of Hercules, translated by Dana Gioia, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and poet laureate of California, student of the great Harvard classicist Robert Fitzgerald. Our Wiseblood edition will include Gioia's essay on the nature and art of tragedy.
6.  Hugo von Hofmannsthal's novella The Woman without a Shadow, translated by Vincent Kling, whose translation of Heimito von Doderer's The Strudlhof Steps (NYRB 2021) recently received the Helen & Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize.

7. Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize Finalist and Penelope Niven Award Winner Spence K. M. Brown’s second novel Hold Fast. The book tells the story of a near-Olympian rower and his father living on the shore of Lake Superior as they struggle to find their way through his wife’s death.

We hope you'll clear a few inches of your shelf in anticipation of this wonderful admixture of old and new books, translations and originals, fiction and verse, veteran writers and young authors.

Thank you for reading,

Joshua Hren
Founder & Editor, Wiseblood Books

Monday, May 16, 2022

Queen Alice

Here's a little postscript to the prior post!

            *   *   *

That is, here's another poem, my first in Light, 

edited by poet Melissa Balmain...

            *   *   *

Read the whole amusing issue: 

            *   *   *

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Poems and a tiny thank you

I'm pleased that Michael Fitzpatrick, who wrote a lovely, recent review of Charis in the World of Wonders, included one of my poems at the close of his latest Eighth Day column: The Dreamer as Architect," which I wrote for novelist Midori Snyder and was originally published in First Things. Thank you to him!

The second issue of Pulsebeat is out, thanks to editor David Stephenson. And there you may, if you choose, read my poems "Their Faces" and "The Ancestors, Again."  I'm not too interested in writing about me-as-subject, but the second poem is definitely... me and my deep-South roots. "A Child in Snow and Sleep" was in the first issue and is another poem that stems from childhood: the first time I lived outside the South and met the airborne delicacy and earthbound weight of snow.

I have some book news, but that'll go to The Rollipoke readers first...

Friday, May 06, 2022

On being asked for my politics

You've said you're not interested in politics; I'm not sure how you manage this given politics infects every human enterprise but I hope I know you well enough to say I respect this stance. But at the moment in the USA, politics - in the widest sense and with worldwide implications - is impossible to avoid. Even for an old male fuddy-duddy like me. Do you think you ought to say something? Perhaps your view may be controversial and you'd prefer not to attract flak. I can understand this and wouldn't want flak to happen. Even so...

Dear RR,

I have never thought my views--I do have opinions, of course, given that we live in a particularly fraught time, when many things are upside down--any more "newsworthy" than those of any other person on the planet. And I believe that talking to the e-aether about politics on social media or a blog is often absurd and chaotic in mode. 

Perhaps a more accurate way of describing my stance is to say that I, a mote caught in the mighty twenty-first century Machine, prefer not to engage in such a meaningless and stressful Babel-game. I prefer to be in but not of a Babylon world. Moreover, I am with Tolkien in feeling that "the most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity." I do not seek that opportunity, even in a small way.

There are people who consider it their job to argue about politics. Fine. I let them. There are American-made celebrities who are so ripe with their own importance and wealth and the rushed necessity of using their "platform" (I dislike that term) that they simply must talk of such things. I am neither of those creatures and prefer to go on using what art I possess to make beauty and truth (though what I make is not devoid of thought and may be known, surely) and so add to the sum of what is good in the world. That is what you might label as my politics--to stand against evils and blight by working in my small, nearly anonymous way to add to that sum of truth and beauty.

Good cheer despite all,


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

TONIGHT, reading with NCLR

TONIGHT: reading "She-Who-Changed," "Night-blooming Cereus," "Spring Tree Egg," and "Alice" with @NCLitReview "North Carolina Literary Review"... at 7:00. (Just realized. Eep! So please share...)

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Judged and judging...

As I have been the around-the-clock caretaker of my elderly mother for some time, I'm way, way behind on all things literary or bloggish... But here are a couple of pieces of news.

Sheryl Knight, Aspen Hollow

Michael Fitzpatrick's The Eighth Day essay

I'm so pleased with this marvelous, wise review of Charis in the World of Wonders. So lovely to have such an insightful essay, two years after pandemic publication! There are many things in it that hit the mark of what I tried to do when entering into a character of another era, foreign to the cultural ways of our own. If you have an interest in what I'm up to when diving into another world, please read the whole thing. It's wonderfully thoughtful.

Sample clips to entice

Poet and novelist Marly Youmans’ latest novel is a treasure. You may know her for her dazzling ability to channel lush lyrics that can feel utterly authentic to the intended epoch (especially her epic poem Thaliad). Her prose extends her gifts of language; Charis and the World of Wonders feels as if someone found a 17th-century diary and transcribed it. Youmans’ book is a gem of cultural curiosity, an Anglican-turned-Orthodox author attempting to explore Puritan New England in 1690 through the eyes of Charis, a remarkable young lady with a fertile imagination, sumptuous narrative voice, and an authentic faith lived out in a harsh world. This is where Youmans’ novel is its strongest: presenting a life of faith not as an add-on to an otherwise secular existence, but as the entire horizon and interpretive lens through which Charis understands the events that happen to her and how she should navigate through them.

  . . .

There are so many wonders in this novel—from references to Anne Bradstreet’s poetry to the deliciously archaic diction, and, most notably, Charis’ irrepressible spirit. Like Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead, Marly Youmans’ latest novel does not shy away from weightier themes, including the struggle of finding God’s love in a world of unchecked evil and pride.

But perhaps the most timely aspect of this novel is its foreignness. Every page assumes a background and manifests a foreground in utter contrast to the post-nuclear, post-computer age we take for granted.


Thanks to Michael Fitzpatrick for a beautiful essay...


Another judging stint: Young Poets' Prize from Kelsay Books

Kelsay Books is excited to announce a new poetry book contest: the 2022 Young Poets’ Prize! See below for the guidelines. If you have any questions, please send them to
First place receives:
· $500.00 (USD)
· a publishing contract with Kelsay Books
· 50 free copies of the winning book
· the opportunity to be a featured reader at Kelsay Books’ December Zoom reading
Second place receives:
· $200.00 (USD)
· a publishing contract with Kelsay Books
· 25 free copies of the second-place published book
Third place receives:
· a publishing contract with Kelsay Books
· 25 free copies of their third-place Kelsay-published book
Seven Honorable mentions each receive:
· a publishing contract with Kelsay Books
· Submissions received from March 17 to June 15, 2022 will be considered for the contest.
· Submissions received outside those dates are ineligible for the contest.
Young poets (18-to 30-years-old in 2022) are eligible to submit.
Emerging and established poets are welcome to submit.
· Entries must contain only poetry. (No prose except prose poems.)
· All poetry styles are welcome (including metrical, free verse, and hybrid poetry).
· Each poem must appear on its own page.
· Acknowledgments may be included in the manuscript but are not required.
· Entries must be 30 to 120 pages.
· Individual poems and chapbook-length sections may have been previously published if the publisher gives reprint permission. (Still, more than one-quarter of the manuscript must not have been previously published in a book form.)
· Since the entries will be blindly judged, the author’s name and identifying information should appear ONLY in the cover letter file, not in the manuscript attachment.
· Include in your cover letter only:
· The title of your manuscript
· A brief bio
· Your name
· Your address
· Phone number
· Email address
· Entries that do not follow these guidelines are ineligible for the contest.
How to Enter
To enter
Upload your submission file at Submittable in the upload field. (Accepted formats are: PDF.)
Only attach two files. One with your poetry (30 to 120 pages), and one with the cover letter prepared as described in the section above.
Simultaneous submissions are not accepted
Unlimited entries per person are accepted. If you wish to enter more than once, then a separate submission form and entry fee must be included for each entry.
Include an entry fee.
$22.00 per submission. Use Submittable and make payment here.
To enable us to match your payment to your entry, be sure to indicate the name you entered in your manuscript (i.e. your pen name) if it’s different from the one under which the payment was made.
The entry fee is nonrefundable. Withdrawn submissions and ineligible submissions will not receive a refunded entry fee.
Entries will be blindly judged by Marly Youmans.
A native of South Carolina, Marly Youmans is the author of fifteen books--poetry collections, a book-length blank verse poem, novels, and several fantasies set in the Blue Ridge. She has lived for more than the last two decades in the fantastical lakeside village of Cooperstown, New York, home to castles, semi-fictional sites colored by the stories of James Fenimore Cooper, and ghosts.
Marly Youmans has long been what editor John Wilson called Youmans, "the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers." In First Things, he described her as "a novelist and poet out of sync with the times but in tune with the ages." Novelist Sebastien Doubinsky says, "I cannot recommend an author more than Marly Youmans, whose fantastic prose is absolutely gorgeous & haunting." Greg Langley, former Books Editor of the Baton Rouge Advocate, writes: "Youmans is a writer of rare ability whose works will one day be studied by serious students of poetry."  She has won many awards, including The Michael Shaara Award, The Ferrol Sams Award, Hoepfner Awards, Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations, and the Silver Award of ForeWord BOTYA.
She has collaborated with artists in various fields, and six of her books have been illuminated throughout and given gorgeous covers by outstanding Welsh painter Clive Hicks-Jenkins. 

This quirky life of ours: Hambleton on Catherwood


Catalogue listing: 

Artist: Richard Hambleton 

Technique: Ink paper

Richard Hambleton- "Shadow Man Head" Draw on a book page from "Catherwood- Marly Youmans" - This Rare work is Marker on a book page . Page size measures 8. 25" x 5" inches. Signed and dated 2015 as shown. Comes with a Hand written COA from Robert Murphy and a COA from Dirtypilot. Provenance: Collection of Robert Murphy. 

Catalogue listing and image from:

* * *

I've been a bit too busy to keep up with blog or social media, but this little oddity is worth a moment of notice... The ink drawing was done the year Hambleton died.

Here's a description of the artist from

Richard Hambleton (June 23, 1952 - October 29, 2017) is a Canadian born artist known as The Godfather of Street Art. 

Hambleton’s early work includes a public art series called Mass Murder (1976 - 1978) in which he painted “chalk” outlines around the bodies of volunteer “homicide victims” in public places. Finished with a splash of red paint, these works gave the viewer the impression of a realistic crime scene. After creating roughly 15 of these works around New York, he continued using the city as his canvas for his second street art collection and most notable work - the Shadowman (1980).

Predating Banksy by more than a decade, the late Richard Hambleton sparked the street art movement in 1980’s New York, alongside renowned contemporary artists such as Jean-Michele Basquiat and Keith Haring. His strategically placed paintings of hundreds of looming, shadow figures could be seen all over Manhattan's public walls.

Hambleton’s work was shown at international exhibits and his art continues to be widely celebrated. In April 2017, a documentary following Hambleton’s rise to success and devotion to painting premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. The artist died of cancer at age 65 just six months later.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

New mag, live reading TODAY!


Okay, tonight's Zoom reading announcement (with links) is up--again, that's Pacific Standard Time 7:30, so check the time converter! With Jorge Quintana.

ZOOM reading Monday the 17th

Tomorrow I am scheduled for an online reading, but the information is not up yet. Here's what I have so far--zoom link, i.d., and password. I will add more about the second reader etc. when I have more.

7:30pm Pacific Standard Time / Online only
That would be 10:30 Eastern Standard Time. 
And here's a time converter-around-the-world:

Meeting ID: 763 873 3462 
password: r3trnofsdv


Clip from editor David Stephenson:
Welcome to the first issue of Pulsebeat.  I was pleased with the response to my call for submissions; I received a large number of enjoyable poems from a variety of accomplished poets, including some actual musicians.   It was exciting to see new submissions appear in the inbox like presents tied with bows.  I’ve very grateful to everyone who sent me their poetry.

My poem, "A Child in Snow and Sleep," is HERE.  But read the whole thing--lots of poems by interesting writers.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Charisean, Clivean, and poems!

Yellow Hen and Sunflowers. 2021. Oil, gouache and pencil on panel. 
All paintings from the current
Clive Hicks-Jenkins series...


Clive Hicks-Jenkins made chapter headings and the cover of Charis in the World of Wonders. Then the chapter headings became a cunning line of plates, cups, bowls, teapots, etc. from Sussex Lustreware! And now Clive has made a whole series of paintings featuring the Sussex Lustreware with Charis chapter headings. 

Next up, I'm expecting wallpaper, fabric, everything in the world to be Charisean and Clivean! He is such a clever fellow...

Swan and Snail, 2021
Oil, gouache and pencil on panel.


HERE's an extended review of Charis in the World of Wonders by a retired English teacher, posting at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Chronicles Community Forum. 

Clip: "People today are regrettably predisposed to assume they know all they need to know about the people of Marly Youmans's novel. They may enjoy the fresh air that will blow through their minds when they read this accomplished novel."

This painting has a Sussex "Loyal Friend" mug
nestled into a toy theatre
by Jim Pilston.


Had lots of lovely feedback on "Birds and Lilies in Rugosa Canes" (poem.) It's on p. 44, but you can flip through and read the whole magazine HERE.

I'll have to nab the title from Clive later--
don't see it with the facebook image.


"The Curtal Candlelight at Tenebrae" (poem) can be found by flying HERE.

This one has garnered lots of gorgeous comments here and there, but I think my favorite might be this: 


And if you missed "Starting with a Sentence by Aidan Hart" at First Things, pop over HERE to read. I love Aidan Hart's book on icons and much more, Beauty Spirit Matter. This poem also found a lot of readers and commenters--a thing which I appreciate so much.

                                                        Cockerel and Lustreware Teapot. 2021
Oil, gouache and pencil on panel.