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Seren of the Wildwood 2023

 forthcoming from Wiseblood Books

March, 2023 (pre-orders coming soon!)

Currently up: blurbs from editor John Wilsonpoet and writer Amit Majmudar, and painter, writer, and cultural catalyst Makoto Fujimura; a sampling of the interior art from the fertile brain and adept hand of Clive Hicks-Jenkins of Wales. Full cover reveal coming around February 6th. 

Seren is born on the brink of Wildwood, realm of shadowy fays who listen and laugh–who sometimes bless and sometimes curse. As she grows into young womanhood, shaped by a familial tragedy tied to her conception, she is lured from home by a whispering mystery in Wildwood, where the supernatural roams freely through time and space. In riddling, often dangerous forests and mountains marked by fallen powers and holy women, oracles, hermits, and giants, Seren finds both violence and balm on a path arrowing toward transformation.

A little girl dancing between the graves of her brothers, a body held suspended and starlit in a thorn tree.... Marly Youmans is a spinner of archetypal images that seem at once strange and strangely familiar. The poem's form, 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.
       -- Amit Majmudar, author of What He Did in Solitary

“Into the darkness, mystery, and fate”: that’s where Seren of the Wildwood will take you; also into the light. The old verities are not an embarrassment to Marly Youmans, our “mistress of the marvelous.” For all that has changed in the world over the ages—and all that continues to change, even as we speak, as competing savants tell us this or that is what we must expect—we still gather around “A hearth and wildwood blaze / On nights in winter crowned / By the strange,striking lays / That hold mortals spellbound.” 
       —John Wilson, contributing editor for The Englewood Review of Books and senior editor at The Marginalia Review of Books 

“Seren, Seren, Seren,” this poem whispers to our fractured souls, and Marly Youmans invites us to a fantastical, and psychologically potent, adventure. As an artist, I am grateful for a poet who can paint luminous vistas with her prismatic words. Such holy incantation is now rare in American arts, giving grace to our mystery filled 'Wildwood' journeys.  Youmans is a gem in the American arts and Seren is an immense gift for the sanctification of our imaginations. 
        --Makoto Fujimura,  Artist, 
           author of Art+Faith: A Theology of Making (Yale University Press)

Cover and interior illuminations by Clive Hicks-Jenkins

January 2023: Marly at 69, under the thumb of time...

More to come!
Bye-bye birdie for now...

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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.