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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

A writer and an artist respond to Seren

Seren, by Clive Hicks-Jenkins
from Seren of the Wildwood
(Wiseblood Books, 2023, hc/pb)


Marly Youmans’s verse-narrative Seren of the Wildwood is a bildungsroman or coming-of-age tale about a young girl named Seren, told in the archetypal-dream language of a fairy tale. Seren experiences the universal realities of the loss of innocence through trauma and betrayal, of the self individuating from the matrix of childhood, of sexual awakening and childbirth, and of finding a relationship to the world via a journey into the ambiguous world of nature, dreams, and encounters with various characters both benevolent and duplicitous. 

I won’t give the story away by describing the details of its plot, so let’s just say that, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Seren during her adventures is not in the Kansas of routine life anymore. The characters and the woodland creatures and plants that Seren encounters in Wildwood are either supernatural or natural or both. Fairy tales or myths are stories that take place in the imagination, a middle world between the material and the intellectual ones, where meanings become images and images meanings, and this is where Youmans sets her story. Wildwood is the world of imagination, the inner life of the outer world.       --Poet, translator, essayist Andrew Frisardi


...what’s moved me most is Marly Youmans latest “ Seren of the Wildwood “ handsomely published by Wiseblood Books. Marly’s fairytale ( beautifully illuminated by Clive Hicks-Jenkins) weaves a complexity of archetypes and sensations , one recalls the lays of ChrĂ©tien, Rossetti’s “Goblin Market," the psychoanalytic work of Melanie Klein. Youmans, in her telling this tale explained to me the ambivalence Grendel’s mother must have felt for her challenging offspring. It’s a rich story, one I recommend highly; so rich in fact that I needed to place my impressions upon paper, which follows in the second image. Marly is a gifted visionary, her many published works reflect her unique talents, in “Seren” she presents a tale of no particular time or place, magical yet not absurdist, familiar yet surprising. Wiseblood Books has a convenient site to order from, a range of many attractive offerings (which I’ve already been tempted and eagerly await arrival), to those liminally inclined, I suggest a visit, you will not be disappointed.     --Artist Leonard D. Greco of L.A. and Chicago

Response to Seren of the Wildwod
from artist Leonard D. Greco

And there are many new images on social media as well...

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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.