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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: 2017-01-24T16:22:30.162-05:00


Seeing silence


Andrew Garfield and Yôsuke Kubozuka Having seen Martin Scorcese's Silence (seeing silence--strange way of speaking) late Sunday night in Utica, I want to recommend it, and also this Alissa Wilkinson review, which I find more nuanced, attentive, and accurate than most of the reviews I have seen since. The genius of Endō’s story and Scorsese’s adaptation is that it won’t characterize anyone as

Cat exploded? Make good art.


Illumination by Clive Hicks-Jenkins for Thaliad Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and eaten by a mutated boa constrictor? Make good art.

2 at Mezzo Cammin


Two newish poems are up at Mezzo Cammin: the tetrameter "The Soul Considered as a Boat" and "The Thursday of Mysteries," an ekphrastic pentameter poem (after "Christ Washing the Feet of the Apostles" by Meister des Hausbuches, 1475.)  Kim Bridgford, poet and editor and more, with a comment on Facebook: Delighted to share the new issue of Mezzo Cammin! Thrilled to feature so many wonderful

Postscript to "Precipitous slippage"


Illumination by Clive Hicks-Jenkins  for Thaliad I've really enjoyed the comments here and on Facebook about my "Precipitous slippage" post--the fun including meeting a poet I like and learning a lot more about other writer friends as well. And now look at this fine news about Thaliad, along with a wonderful, hopeful message about poetry from Phoenicia Publishing editor Beth Adams. Breaking

Precipitous slippage


Once upon a time I was a new-made Associate Professor with tenure; my answer to that lovely promotion was to quit academia entirely because I wanted to be a poet and novelist, not an academic poet and novelist. I felt that I would be a stronger, better writer outside the land of ivory towers. What I did not grasp at the time was how completely the academy would take over the world of writing,

Book notes, jig-by-jowl--


Alas for Aquila Rose Well, I do like this new find! Printed by Benjamin Franklin when he was seventeen... The NYT claims for him "burning ambition and something of a punk-rock visual sensibility," a thought which might or might not have amused him--he was an amusing fellow--but is a silly one. The broadside looks like nothing so much as the slim, arch-topped,

Reading Doña Quixote


Courtesy of Päivi Tiittanen, "Catacombs in Suomenlinna" Yesterday and this morning I read Leena Krohn's Doña Quixote and Other Citizens. Portrait: Tales of the citizens of an usual city, and this is what I have been for some hours: a room through which the narrator and Doña Quixote (the woman who is like a tree that murmurs and sometimes drops shriveled leaves proclaiming death, the

Re-reading The Whitsun Weddings


Creative Commons, Wikipedia. Chichester Cathedral. Monument to Richard Fitzalan III, 10th Earl of Arundel (c.1307-1376) and Eleanor of Lancaster (d. 1372.) Unusual for the linked hands and the wife's crossed legs and turn toward her husband. By Nabokov at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 I do not love Philip Larkin; instead, I am fond of Charles Causley, the Cornish poet Larkin admired (as did

Ditherings (in lieu of New Year's resolutions)


Detail from one of Kim Vanderheiden's pieces for a poem in The Book of the Red King. It's interesting to have an as-yet-unpublished book that already has art made for some of its contents by several artists. I don't think that has ever happened to me before. I seem to be full of ditherings rather than resolutions, so I thought that I would make a list of my dithers. Dither no. 1: I have

Selected Reading, 2016 Happy New Year


Selected 2016 Reading List, in ABC order by author Books by friends, books recommended by friends,  new reads, lots of rereads, books read to review or blurb.  Of course, I lost my list (so me!) partway through the year,  so here's what I remember right now in the way of books read in full. Aldhelm, Saint Aldhelm's Riddles, translated by A. M. Juster. Reviewed for First Things. (

The Witch and Clive on Christmas Eve


The most fun payment for a poem, ever! Art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins. Printed by Daniel Bug at the Penfold Press. The Toy Town Theatre in Christmas lights. If you would like to see the poem I wrote for Clive Hicks-Jenkins while taking a break from adorning the Christmas tree, fly here to his Artlog. "The Witch of the Black Forest" appears in honor of his marvelous, just-out Hansel and Gretel (

Merry Christmas


Detail of the Nativity from Giotto's frescoes at the Scrovegni chapel in Padua. Mary stood in the kitchen Baking a loaf of bread. An angel flew in the window ‘We’ve a job for you,’ he said. ‘God in his big gold heaven Sitting in his big blue chair, Wanted a mother for his little son. Suddenly saw you there.’ from Charles Causley, "Ballad of the Breadman" A stable-lamp is

Q & A with a younger writer


Here's a portion of a  slightly altered (to disguise the innocent) Q and A from private messaging on Facebook, dealing with issues of revision and Beta readers and workshops. The accompanying images are covers / jackets of my books now in print, in lieu of doing a boring post about what's in print. (And The Foliate Head is somewhat in print--that is, copies still remain at online outlets.) *



I have just finished the Zaleski book, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings, and find that I have a feeling of intense nostalgia for something I never had and never could have: the camaraderie of young men together, with no women about, talking about art and philosophy and aspirations; the ability to go off on great, indulgent walking trips without the least notice to family as to

Emily Barton on Catherwood


Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1996 When a wonderful writer writes a essay about a book of mine that is more than twenty years old, well, I am more touched and grateful that I can easily express. It could not have come at a better time--a time when I, like Catherwood, have been wandering in a wilderness, though mine is not the same as hers but more the sort of Hansel and Gretel forest that a writer

Another poem at Autumn Sky


I've been seldom-seen in these airy rooms--lots of celebrations and time-consuming activities and also deadlines. But here's a little nibble: Icarus, Icarus, Paratrooper Homage to Charles Causley Slung down from heaven, torn silks whipped By precipitous wind, he tripped From air and rammed the blasting sea Read the whole poem here. And yes, I love the poems of the Cornish

Tea and poem

2016-11-12T09:58:32.860-05:00 Quite a week. I'm glad it is over. The hysteria still rages on social media and elsewhere, but maybe it's already time for a cup of tea and a poem. Also in the week's worry, my family's ridge-top solar envelope home in Cullowhee was saved from the wildfires by bold and brave firefighters. I thank them for that and think of them every day as

Another Veterans Day


My father is at far right, standing.Blaine Corbin, the waist gunner, had just been killed by flak,so the crew of nine is now eight. A Veterans Day post in memory of a 17-year-old Georgia sharecropper's boy who joined up with the Army Air Corps 91st Bomb Group and fought as tail gunner on the Incendiary Blonde during World War II... Requiescat in pace, Hubert L. Youmans. You traveled a long

More on medieval prayer-nuts


Prayer Bead, 1500-1530, Mouth of Hell Mouth of Hell Photo, The Globe and Mail: Ian LeFebvre Not so long ago I wrote a group of poems for the Phoenicia Publishing anthology on the Annunciation, and then let publisher Elizabeth Adams pick what she liked best. One of the poems was about a medieval prayer-nut, and it appeared in John Wilson's Books and Culture. Now there is some new research

All Saints Day


"They have all gone into the world of light" --Vaughan Candles for the dead at York Minster. A dash of the long-dead Henry Vaughan in honor of the day-- They are all gone into the world of light!  And I alone sit ling’ring here;  Their very memory is fair and bright,  And my sad thoughts doth clear.  It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast,  Like stars upon some gloomy grove,  Or those

All Hallows Eve


My daughter's pumpkin... If you want to see the rest of the family pumpkins, you'll have to go here. There's the traditional and the poop-emoji pumpkin and one spewing seeds. Have a good All Hallows Eve and a wonderful All Saints Day.

Autumn skies


Phone snap taken during a ramble down from the Canadian border through Saranac Lake and Lake Placid and the Cascades. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,     Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;  Conspiring with him how to load and bless     With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;  To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,     And fill all fruit with ripeness

Rerun: 4 Digby video poems from The Throne of Psyche


Mercer University Press, 2011, in hardcover or paperback Cover art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins Design by Mary-Frances Glover Burt Carving pumpkins, herding cats and progeny, writing some tight small poems in a pause mid-novel: I've been empty of blog posts somehow, so please take this little homage to and appreciation of Paul as an apology. More anon. Videos by UK-born Paul Digby, composer,

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