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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