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Preview: The Palace at 2:00 a.m.

Marly Youmans / The Palace at 2:00 a.m. / poems, stories, novels

Seek Giacometti’s “The Palace at 4 a.m.” Go back two hours. See towers and curtain walls of matchsticks, marble, marbles, light, cloud at stasis. Walk in. The beggar queen is dreaming on her throne of words…You have arrived at the web home of Mar

Updated: 2016-10-27T00:05:27.368-04:00


Touchstones and the Nobel kerfuffle


Muse reading a scroll by an open chest. Attic red-figure lekythos, ca. 435-425 BC. From Boeotia. Musée du Louvre. Public domain, Wikipedia. Bob Dylan . . . can be read and should be read [italics mine], and is a great poet in the grand English poetic tradition. --Sara Danius, Nobel Permanent Secretary  or  There’s little that’s inherently controversial about praising words originally meant

Inaugural, redux


Remembering the 2013 challenge to write an inaugural poem from poets Richard Krawiec and Kay Stripling Byer, I rooted around for this poem. I find it curious to contemplate those older thoughts during this campaign, the most--shall we politely say lively?--lively and divisive American election since the campaign of 1828. If you want to see the comments people made about the poem back in

Good things


Ashley Norwood Cooper, "The Virgin Mary Paints St. Luke on her iPad" is at left (look for Mary in a red gown.) no. 1 Hurrah for another Pushcart Prize poetry nomination! Thanks to Trinacria for nominating "Portrait of the Magi as Three Horses." no. 2 Franklin Einspruch says: "Perhaps for the first time in history, we are looking at the possibility of a conservative avant-garde." He was

A beginning, with green sheep...


*The Ferrol Sams Award.*Silver Award, Foreword Book of the Year Awards. * "Its themes and the power of its language, the forceful flow of its storyline and its characters have earned the right to a broad national audience." review I have been busy with children and deadlines and applying for a short fellowship, so here is a little snip from A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage

Golem and swan


Thanks to Prufrock News for once again featuring one of my poems, this time linking to "The Poet and the Golem" from Books and Culture. Artists of all sorts need chatty champions, people who are willing to get the word out and say in public what they admire and like. For every writer who is the lucky recipient of a black swan, there are many more who go swanless. After Typee and Omoo, Melville

Dear old Blogspot,


Have I mentioned that Facebook has a thing for me? Facebook is constantly asking me what's on my mind, though it (he?) never offers to give me a penny--not one red cent--for what's on my mind. What's on my mind, Facebook? Twitter. Where I just discovered the following important information: 1.) Definitely not keeping up. Entirely missed until now that WaPo declared Hillary Clinton to be "style

The nature of research


What am I doing? Among other things, reading about the types and sources of cloth and ribbon excavated from a seventeenth-century privy in Massachusetts. Fascinating.

Richness and beauty


Isak Dinesen aka Karen Blixen, especially for anyone crisping and broiling and smoking in oil over public (Trump, Clinton, etc.) and private issues: Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever. The wider one can manage to get one’s

More snails


Snail Jar. So I call it!Terracotta jar with three handles Late Minoan ca. 1600–1500 B.C.The Met. Schliemann collection. Dear diary: What madness it is to start a novel in the midst of upheaval--weekly Wednesday and often Sunday theater performances by my husband and eldest all summer, planning to move a child living at home to Atlanta, need to visit my mother far away, general mayhem of life

The admirable and most famous Snail Water.


Photo by Skippy3E of  I have been doing a bit of research and feel like sharing this delightful seventeenth-century recipe with you... The admirable and most famous Snail Water. Take a peck of garden shell snails, wash them well in small beer, and put them in a hot Oven till they have done making a noise, then take them out, and wipe them well from the green froth that is upon them,

Summer theatricals


For this family, it is the last of the summer theater season tomorrow. My husband and eldest son were in Arthur Miller's The Crucible--nine wonderful performances over the summer, set in the new amphitheater beside the lake, under the changing moon and the stars--GlimmerGlobe Theatre, sponsored by the Fenimore Museum. On the last night, my daughter's silkscreened t-shirts for cast members,



"Hell, Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant was the subject of this kind of [sf/f/h] community outrage last summer, but it’s the best Fantasy novel I’ve read in years. American poet Marly Youmans’ Thaliad might be the best post-apocalyptic book I’ve ever read. Neither of these writers come from traditional genre backgrounds, but they’ve shown up and produced dazzling works nonetheless." --Tom

How a table named a book--


Almost twenty years ago, I was living in a splendid but somewhat ramshackle Arts and Crafts / Tudor house on South Park Avenue in Greenville, South Carolina. A large house, it had a big, wonderful dining room with high fumed oak wainscoting. We had no table to fit such a large room, and no money with which to buy one worthy of the space. One day I found a table in the alley. Unable to find out

"The elation of colour"


I like this little article including new research into the making of medieval manuscripts. Here's a clip: The contents of a scriptorium’s cabinet have something of the ‘eye of bat, toe of frog’ about them. The parchment pages are goatskin, sheepskin, calfskin, split and pared down to tissue thinness, or they are ‘uterine vellum’ — the skin of aborted calves. Cuttlefish bones scraped the



to writer and anthologist Lynne Jamneck, who says, "Eight stories from Dreams From the Witch House: Female Voices of Lovecraftian Horror received honorable mentions by Ellen Datlow for "The Best Horror of the Year 8."  Sonya Taaffe - “All Our Salt-Bottled Hearts”Molly Tanzer - “But Only Because I Love You”Marly Youmans - “The Child and the Night Gaunts”Karen Heuler - “All Gods Great and Small

Rabbit, rabbit--


August first so soon! It's time to begin a novel, time to read four books by writers I have not read before and get the reviews in by month's end, time to figure out what to do with some poetry manuscripts . . . time to hunker down and improve the time.



I have found the lost microphone and fooled around with recording a snip from Glimmerglass. I may do more. Unless the general populace detests my audio self. Like many people, I dislike recordings of my voice. My father once tried to record me reading Alice in Wonderland when we lived in Louisiana (Wonderland), and I was so self-conscious that I think I lost my mind in a sort of 5-year-old

Fragile, perishable things--


"Sunset shot taken from the east side of the Baton Rouge levee,  at 7:22, 3/20/2008." --Claude E. Nall III My most important memories of early childhood are of Gramercy and Baton Rouge, places that seem in memory bright with color, drenched in light, alive with beauty. They are, I believe, memories that have fed me and made me the sort of writer I am. By the age of 13, I had lived in many

The Foliate Head sends out a leaf--


Thanks to Roderick Robinson for writing about The Foliate Head (UK: Stanza Press, 2012) on his blog, Tone Deaf. The post begins, "I bought Marly Youmans’ The Foliate Head because I’ve liked other poems she’s written. She wears her wide experience of literature lightly and I know from her blog, The Palace at 2 am, she has things to say which interest me." Read the rest here. Side note: Copies

Requiescat in pace


Liberté, égalité, fraternité... Floating in my mind are words from a different unrest: “I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return

Good words for a hard week


Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.  --Frederick Buechner Buechner is the author of many good books, including that small but mighty and beautiful novel, Godric, told in the voice of Godric of

The Fourth of July


Mary Boxley Bullington, "Independence Day," Ink, acrylic, gouache, gesso on museum rag board. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.  --Abraham Lincoln Neither James Madison...nor any of the other Framers of the Constitution, were oblivious, careless, or otherwise unaware of the words they chose for the document and its Bill of Rights.  --Hon.

Марія Затуренська / Marya Zaturenska


Wikimedia Commons, public domain from January 21, 1983, The New York Times Obituaries: Miss Zaturenska, who was married to Horace Gregory, the Bollingen Prize poet, wrote eight volumes of her poetry and edited six anthologies. Her many awards included the Shelley and John Reed Prizes from Poetry Magazine, where her work was first published. Mrs. Gregory was born in Kiev, Russia, and came to

Sunlit morning, interrupted--


Thanks to Noah Clark of Erie, Colorado, Started the green, sunlit day by politely explaining my allergy to politicians to a nice telephone lady from the one or the other of the two major U. S. political parties. I do hate to be interrupted when reading, perhaps particularly when the words come from Nabokov. (I say perhaps because it occurs to me that I have not read nearly enough

Stephen Fry on poetic form


A genial, inviting discussion. Evidently Fry has much fiercer things to say about poetic matters (particularly form and shapeliness) in the book... And that book is The Ode Less Travelled. Tom Disch (in the form of poet Thomas M. Disch, author of The Castle of Indolence) would be proud. Hat tip to A. M. Juster.