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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Two novelists on Seren

Beth Garst of Howl'n Dog Designs
reads Seren on a Virginia porch swing...


I was given a review copy of Seren and couldn’t put it down. It’s lyrical and magical and offers a glimpse of the places usually seen only from the corner of the eye. --novelist Amanda Cockrell

(Amanda Cockrell assigned a review for The Hollins Critic: out soon!)

* * *


...The reader is struck by two things almost immediately. First, the sheer imagination of this work is marvelous. It’s an engaging, enthralling story, part epic, part fairy tale, part Iliad and part Odyssey. It’s the story of a girl who, through no fault of her own, finds herself an actor in an unexpected drama.

The second striking thing is the discipline that’s required to write a work like this. You don’t write 61 poems of 21 ten-syllable lines each followed by a five-line rhyming coda without determination, focus, the self-confidence that you’ll finish it, and even courage to undertake it in the first place.

Simply put, Seren of the Wildwood dazzles while it provokes fundamental questions. Is life simply what’s fated for us, or are we free agents? How do we deal with guilt? How do we accept the responsibilities thrust upon us? How do we live during this perilous journey called life?

...The work is illustrated by Clive Hicks-Jenkins, a Welsh artist/illustrator who’s worked with Youmans on all but one of her book covers. He’s illustrated several books for Simon Armitage, the current British Poet Laureate, and also the forthcoming translation of Beowulf by Seamus Heaney for the Folio Society.

Seren of the Wildwood is one of the most imaginative works I’ve read, and especially in poetry. It’s the kind of work that you know is changing you as you read it, and you emerge from it as not quite the same person you were before. It’s not unlike what happens to Seren on her journey through the wildwood.  

--Novelist Glynn Young, "Marly Youmans has written a marvelous epic story." Read more HERE.


  1. How do we deal with guilt - indeed! Me, I simply allow it to weigh me down. You, I presume, are guilt free. Presently I'm being incidentally shriven via a form of domestic purgatory, having taken over a majority of the duties associated with running a household.

    1. I'm into repentance, RR! And all Southerners are born with a pack of guilt on their wee backs...

      Oh, I do hope your wife is all right.... I shall go check out your life once my company departs. I've had a wild week, as I caught a gastroenteritis thing at my mother's current residence. And got well just in time for another guest, here in the Carolina mountains.


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.