Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.
--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Monday, October 13, 2014

Drunk Bay & Athens reading

Art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins
"Drunk Bay"

A story of mine that originally appeared in Postscripts #13 (Winter 2007) is now up at Weird Fiction Review, reprinted with the permission of PS Publishing. It is the rather peculiar result of spending a few days on the island of St. John's, where I once hiked into and along the wild, strange beach of Drunk Bay. Thanks to David Davis and the staff of Weird Fiction for that request!

Go here if you dare.

On the Road 

I'm still in the Carolina mountains, visiting family and doing some hiking about and seeing friends. On Wednesday, I'll head to Athens, Georgia. On Thursday, October 16th, I'll be reading from Glimmerglass with long-time friend Philip Lee Williams at 7:00 p.m., Athens Barnes & Noble.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Glimmerglass with poems and frangipani

Just out from Mercer--
art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins
and design by Mary-Frances Glover Burt
Next Glimmerglass event in Athens

Currently I'm perched on a mountaintop in lovely Cullowhee, North Carolina, where I moved at thirteen, and where family still lives in the realm of Blue Ridge and mist and hummingbirds. I'll be reading from Glimmerglass at the Barnes and Noble in Athens, Georgia on the 16th at 7:00 p.m with longtime friend Philip Lee Williams.

Visit me elsewhere: six poems
  • Paul Digby reads "The Wish for Roses"  A poem inspired by Fredric Koeppel's lovely, lost aunt. Doesn't Paul have a gorgeous reading voice? And oh, that ominous background...
  • I read "The Exile's Track." Video/sound by Paul Digby. Very much a Southerner's poem about the doom of living in the polar lands and lake-effect snows of upstate New York.
  • I read "The Nesting Doll." Video/sound by Paul Digby. Adventures of a nesting doll in the sometimes demonic world. Sestina.
  • I read "The Birthday Roses." Video/sound by Paul Digby. What are birthday roses?
  • I read "In Extremis." Video/sound by Paul Digby. Written about a metaphysical "knowing" when my eldest child was in the hospital with meningitis.
  • I read "A Fire in Ice." Video/sound by Paul Digby. Couplets. A riposte to Billy Collins, when he was impertinent enough to think he could take off Emily Dickinson's clothes! And then tell...

Glimmerglass with frangipani

Glimmerglass arrives at Margo Lanagan's house. Glimmerglass with lemon-scented gums. Glimmerglass with frangipani. Glimmerglass with bricks. Evidently it goes well with everything!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Death of a wordsmith

Micah Mattix on the death of critic D. G. Myers here. Patrick Kurp is putting together a memorial of words from many writers and friends, and I'll post more links later. Critic without fear, fierce lover of literature, wordsmith bold to talk about cancer and religion and humor and many another thing, family man, professor... may his memory be a blessing.

Here is the start of a collection of tributes to the man.
Here is his blog, well worth exploring.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

At SIBA and Stella's in Norfolk

With Luisa Igloria at Stella's

I've been out and about with Glimmerglass--spent three days in Norfolk, Virginia to attend the Southern Independent Booksellers trade show and was no doubt the most memorable person heard there because I had raging laryngitis almost the entire time. At Sunday afternoon's The Moveable Feast (where a writer plunges from table to table of booksellers), I sounded like a cross between Frog (as in Frog and Toad are Friends) and a squeaky toy. When not at the trade show, I was staying at the lovely Page House Inn bed-and-breakfast in the Ghent neighborhood--and there's an imaginative French restaurant there, well worth visiting. It's Nouvelle, run by chefs Rina and Luke and apprentice, Russ.

During a long break from SIBA the day before, I met and read with longtime penpal Luisa Igloria at Stella's Café... and expect that's where I left my voice, so if you happen in to Stella's and see my wandering dulcet tones, please send them after me! It was the first event for both Glimmerglass and for Luisa's Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser. Luisa and I exchanged presents, and the event was quite festive. Afterward, she took me out to a Bolivian restaurant for dinner.

Now I'm in Greenville, North Carolina, visiting Gail McIntosh and Michael Poteat--Gail and I met when she was 14 and I was 13 and just starting high school in Cullowhee. So fun! But I still sound strange, rather like a Bacallian tree frog. I am hoping that my voice returns before the next event on the schedule.

I note a new Glimmerglass review...

Luisa and I take each other's picture
at Bolivian restaurant Luna Maya--
mine will have to wait for a downloader...
These pictures are all by way of Luisa on Facebook.
Stella's Marly-and-Luisa book cake!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


My macbook just suffered a cruel death just in time for my trip to support Glimmerglass (and do a few other things!) so I may be a little scarce here for a while.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Chapter header by Clive Hicks-Jenkins for Glimmerglass
Photo from the Artlog
On the Move 

I'll be off soon, abandoning the rest of the family to do some events for Glimmerglass and attend to some other matters. Events are scheduled for: Norfolk, Virginia (SIBA trade show and "Moveable Feast of Authors" plus "Double Trouble" reading in town with Luisa Igloria); Athens, Georgia (a reading with Philip Lee Williams); Sylva, North Carolina; Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Take a look at my Events page to see those and other upcoming readings, talks, or signings. Safe mayst thou wander, safe return again! --Shakespeare

excerpt, Dr. Dalrymple on Hamlet

The lines that seem to me crucial in Hamlet are those that occur in act 3, scene 2, in which Rosencrantz and Guildenstern seek, at Claudius’s behest, to sound out the reasons for Hamlet’s strange behavior, so akin to madness. Hamlet asks Guildenstern to play upon a pipe. “I know no touch of it, my lord,” he replies, and when Hamlet insists, pointing out the stops, Guildenstern says, “But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony; I have not the skill.” Hamlet then says:
Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me. You would seem to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery. You would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass; and there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak? ’Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me.
This passage is of enormous significance on many levels—personal, philosophical, psychological, and even political. For the mystery of Hamlet, that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern would “pluck out,” is the mystery of what it is to be a human being. If we could pluck out that mystery, then we should be able to play upon people as upon a pipe, treat them as objects rather than as subjects. (More Dalrymple on Hamlet here.)

Kim Bridgford and poetry

Please see the foot of the prior post on how to support poet Kim Bridgford in the current trying situation at West Chester's Poetry Center. And in the meantime, here is a snip from an interview with her.
Poetry is an intimate art, and it communicates intensely about the most important moments of our lives: birth, death, marriage, love and loss, heartache. It delights in language and form, and shares that delight with others. We wouldn’t perish without poetry, but we would be considerably less.