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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.


  1. Dear Marly,
    I'm sorry for contacting you this way, but I'm very curious to read your thesis on Herman Melville and Robert Burton yet thus far have encountered issues getting a copy of the work through interlibrary loan to Montreal Canada. I wonder if you happen to have a copy of this yourself in electronic form that I might be able to read? Although perhaps it was a typewriter then! At any rate, cheers from another Melvillian interested in similar things-- if you're still interested those things. It seems you escaped academia and I very much wish to myself one day. As soon as I finish writing this dissertation perhaps.

    1. Aieee! I threw my copy away, and really the university should too... Noooo! Dreck! And very sloppy--my advisor was dying and signed before it was even finished, and I was going through a terrible personal situation and so just let it go when it really should have been worked on more. Eek, I don't even like to think about it, though I do like to think about Melville and Burton still...

      If I still had it, I could bring it to Montreal when I visit my middle child. But all copies should burn, haha!

    2. Hahaha- oh wow- sounds like a real dissertation then. I'm even more determined to read it. Don't worry, I'll find something (or worry, I'll find something?). Thanks for your response!

    3. Huh. I tried to discourage you. Tried! Good luck to you (not on finding that copy, haha!)

  2. You know what? I don't know how to say this, I don't mix in those circles. But damnit, you're... sort of... perhaps entirely... why don't I go the whole hog... famous! Time for me to be humble, that most uncharacteristic state.

    1. What? No way! Really I'm still an obscure writer, a person who has fled the American mania for the branding of writers! And I'm not unhappy about it, though I do wish that I had more readers.... A bigger readership, as publishers say.

      RR, I will catch up on your doings once I have come to a stopping place in my current labors for my motheer. Pausing place, I suppose.

    2. Ugh! Mother. My laptop has a pronounced stutter now. I expect there is some way to fix the dratted thing, but I don't know what it is and am reduced to removing extra letters.

    3. Don't feel obliged. I'm experiencing various new rites of passage: from that of Permanent Patient to Indulgent Hypochondriac. There are no stimuli for you in any of this. And, on the basis of like should meet like, I'm risking a ton of money on an eight-person holiday in a land where hypochondria has been raised to an art form. My fortnightly chemo sessions may clash with this although my medical advisers seem to approve of this plan. Of course they imagine I'll be doing something healthy, whereas I'll be searching out over-maquillaged young women in phamarcies who will relish discussions - in their own language - about my younger daughter's cistitis. Talk about a full life!

    4. Oh, no! I didn't realize. But even in the very midst of realizing, I am amused by your ability to twist unhappy news into a comic story... Your special genius, RR!

      More anon, promise...

  3. Dunno bout Divine Judements...
    but, to the Lovers-O-Grace, I gotta
    lotta THAT:

    I'd loooove to have you transform
    OUR writing into YOUR creation
    to be Upstairs where we could live
    forever to write for oemnillions of
    years ANNND! oemnillionsObooks
    (<- 000 lower than I N F I N I T Y).
    God nvr runs outta paper/pens, dear.
    Follow us to the Son, miss gorgeous:
    ° °

    ...wanna know an awwwsome
    Way to give back to God all
    sHe's bestowed upon U.S. ??
    ☆ ☆
    ...the rewards are
    God! Bless! You!


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.