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

Monday, July 21, 2014

Digby frolics

Last year with Paul and Lynn Digby
(Lynn is the photographer here)
in Cullowhee, North Carolina
Stayed up till 3:00 a.m. in Alliance, Ohio, talking to the man who made these:

In Extremis
The Birthday Roses
   from The Book of the Red King (yet to come!)
The Exile's Track
The Nesting Doll
A Fire in Ice

Most of those are from The Throne of Psyche.  Music and videography by the inimitable Paul Digby... Whee!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Word frolics / Glimmerglass

Word frolics at Yellow Springs 

Surfacing in Yellow Springs (iron, not sulphur) at week's end . . . I've had a splendid time at the Antioch Writing Workshops, where I taught the afternoon poetry workshop and also had 1-on-1 sessions with both poets and fiction writers. It was lovely to talk to other writers at all stages on the unending path. I'll go home . . . some time soon, with a brief stop to collaborate and visit with friends in the arts--Paul Digby, making of my videos, and Lynn Digby, painter. Thanks to writers Rebecca Kuder and Robert Wexler for hosting me. And thanks to director Sharon Short for making all things easy along the way. And thanks to my workshop members and 1-on-1 writers for being smart, entertaining, funny, and great lovers of words. 

More Glimmerglass confetti 

Glimmerglass is a series of mirrors and panes that splinter and soften to let you fall deeper into the heart of myth and artistic desire. A resonant, beautiful exploration of fragile hopes and the courage that comes from resisting their trampling by others.

--Margo Lanagan, author of Sea Hearts, Black Juice, and others; winner of World Fantasy and Printz awards

You might not even know what you are seeking, but once inside the pages of Glimmerglass, you’ll find exactly what you need: “a cup of music, a hill of sea.” In the Republic of Letters, Marly Youmans is our Magician in Chief.

--John Wilson, Editor, Books and Culture

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Travels + Glimmerglass

Chapter decoration for Glimmerglass.
Art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins.
Posts may be a bit slim for a while, so please ramble around on the site, or click on the tabs above to go to book pages. Bookwise, next up is Glimmerglass on September 1st, now in pre-order. Click on the image below for a closer look. See prior posts for more commentary.
Glimmerglass is a series of mirrors and panes that splinter and soften to let you fall deeper into the heart of myth and artistic desire. A resonant, beautiful exploration of fragile hopes and the courage that comes from resisting their trampling by others. --Margo Lanagan, author of Sea Hearts, Black Juice, and other novels, winner of World Fantasy and Printz awards 
You might not even know what you are seeking, but once inside the pages of Glimmerglass, you'll find exactly what you need: 'a cup of music, a hill of sea.' In the Republic of Letters, Marly Youmans is our Magician in Chief. --John Wilson, editor of Books and Culture
CLICK the image for a readable version
I'm heading off to the Antioch Workshops to meet with poetry and fiction writers, and leaving family members to fend for themselves... I expect they'll do just fine, and the calico bites ankles if pet dinners are forgotten, so that's convenient. On the way I'll have the fun of seeing painter Lynn Digby and her husband, the inimitable Paul Digby, who has written music and made videos for my poems but seems quite capable of doing anything he likes in the way of the arts. I expect he'll dance next. And in Yellow Springs, I shall have the pleasure of staying with the family of writers Rebecca Kuder and Robert Wexler, so a good time should be had.

Little minotaur...

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Glimmerglass pre-orders--

Click on the image for a large, readable copy.
Art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins.
Design by Mary-Frances Burt.
Author photo by Rebecca Beatrice Miller, August 2013
Blurbs by poet Jeffery Beam, novelist Margo Lanagan, and editor John Wilson.

Glimmerglass is now available for pre-orders at Mercer and Amazon and your local indie, and most everywhere!

Sample of interior art

Monday, July 07, 2014

Glimmerglass at "Publishers Weekly"

Title page with decoration
(collage of painted and cut papers)
by Clive Hicks-Jenkins
Marly Youmans. Mercer Univ., $24 (224p) 
ISBN 978-0-88n146-491-7
     This stylish contemporary variation on the Bluebeard legend from Youmans (A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage) serves up an appealing blend of myth, mystery, and magic. [SOME SPOILERS AHEAD - SKIP TO END IF YOU DON'T LIKE SPOILERS.] Cynthia Sorrel, a painter in a creative rut, visits Cooper Patent, a hamlet located on New York's Glimmerglass Lake. she rents a rustic gatehouse cottage from half-brothers Theodore and Andrew Wild, who live together in their ancestral mansion, Sea House. Hired by the siblings to paint a portrait of them, Cynthia feels newly inspired as in artist after spotting a young boy running through the woods outside. The eccentric, "shifty" Theodore unnerves her, but she is charmed by Andrew, a widower and grandfather. The two eventually marry, and Cynthis grows attached to his three young grandchildren, Lizzie, Drew, and Ned. She continues to be wary of Theodore, however, particularly after he creepily relates a story to her of how, when he was young, his cousin Moss was lost in the caved-in tunnels beneath the house. Eventually, Cynthia decides to explore Sea House's subterranean labyrinth for herself in order to put the Wild family's dark secrets to rest. [END SPOILERS.] Even readers who don't go for more traditional fantasy fare should enjoy this vividly written yarn. (Sept.)

Two thoughts, with thanks to the PW reviewer... 

One, Bluebeard never popped into my mind while writing or revising this book! Perhaps I should have thought of him...

And two, I think there could be a serious and interesting argument between people who like to categorize fiction whether this book is literary fiction without a single fantastic thing in it (though much that is very strange), or whether it is, indeed, fantastic in nature. It does contain a figure that is or is not the Muse, and it does contain a strange passage derived from the classical world, the somnium. And it feels strange. But would or should a genre-loving person call it one or the other, literary fiction or fantasy? I don't know. Maybe they would call it interstitial. As I tend not to categorize except by good vs. bad, I don't worry about it. But as other people do, particularly reviewers, I think about categories from time to time.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Peculiar things people sometimes say to a writer--

Preparatory art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins 
for Glimmerglass
That is, to this writer--

"I never read anything written after 1900." (Later on the same neighborhood man read one my novels and declared that he loved it, so maybe he was exaggerating.)

"I never read novels. Can't do it." (Another guy in my neighborhood. Twice. With accompanying head shakes. I'm still wondering if he forgets to what I have devoted my life.)

"Why don't you write something like Stephen King?" (Evidently we all want to sound exactly the same, we writers!)

"Why don't you write something that makes a lot of money?" (Oddly, we don't all have the bestseller gene and the desire to write about alluring vampires or some carbon copy of the latest book-to-movie trilogy or anything that puts money ahead of truth and beauty and well-made sentences--not that the good bestseller doesn't exist, just that it's not the norm. And all that said, we don't object to being paid.)

"Would I have heard of you?" (General mortification abounds.)

"What does the world need with another poem?" (Your answer here. This one came as a tease from a colleague, and it stopped me from poems for a year, during which I began writing fiction. So maybe it was a blessing.)

"Where do you get your ideas?" (I can't say that I get them from the fount at the end of the world and time, or they'll think I'm mad. But that's a better answer than most.)

"What are your books about?" (Read them, and you'll know! My 12th and 13th books are forthcoming, and I look back and see that my books are all as different from one another as rutabagas from fox kits.)

"How can I find an agent?" (I have no idea. Both of my agents asked, one through my first publisher, the other after Louis Rubin suggested my name. But some people ask this so very immediately!)

"Do people read poetry anymore?" (You. Tell. Me.)

Some more via responses to this post on twitter and facebook--

A familiar addition from poet Julie Brooks Barbour via a twitter response: "My favorite: Could you tell me how to get my novel published?" She posted a similar one in the comments with a funny remark.

From writer Gary M Dietz: 1. Your book is on an Amazon list. You must be rich! 2. On (multiple) job interviews "So, you are an author. Why do you want to this job?" (Maybe because my net income from my book is negative!) 3. How many words per minute can you type?

Here's a favorite one, via facebook:  "I don't tell folks I'm a writer. I tell them I'm an astrologer. But it doesn't help. They still say peculiar things" (John P. O'Grady.)

See the comments for more, including some peculiar things people sometimes say to a visual artist...

I am going to have to do a roundup of similar remarks from painter friends, I guess! I think this topic falls into the "weirdly fascinating" category.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The glittering fall

The Ferrol Sams Award
Silver, ForeWord Book of the Year in fiction
Books and Culture Favorite Books of 2012
     Alden kept whispering in the dark, but Pip was emptied out and unable to speak. The jag of glee had depleted him, and he felt as if he had been gulping at some fine mist of drowsiness. Perhaps it was the Sandman's crystals, flung by the handful into the air. For a long time he lay caught in a no-man's-land between waking and sleeping until he opened his eyes and saw that a delicate and glittering rain was falling in the room. It came to him that he had seen many wonders in his travels, had gone north until he met the midnight flares of the aurora borealis, had waded through the high prairie grass until he knew it to be endless, and had crossed a western beach piled with agates and inset with pools of pink and green stars, but that now he had come to what might be home and this sight was the strangest of them all. In its in-between realm, he struggled to name the peculiar snow but could not. When he realized that he had felt no surprise, it occurred to him that he must be asleep. But yet he could feel the flecks against his skin and piling in the bedclothes though not moistening them. He closed his eyes.