01 - Claire: Poems by Marly Youmans Oct 21, 2008 22:14:42 GMT 2
Post by shayepoet on Oct 21, 2008 22:14:42 GMT 2
"Youmans began her writing career as a poet, so I am glad to see her returning to her first love after years of writing fiction. Claire, her first book of poems, shows her facility with language and formal structure, as well as her gift for weaving the personal and the mythic into an elegantly textured narrative."
--Kathryn Stripling Byer
Snow House Stories
Our district's bedtime tales of snow are cruel.
The steps of toddlers, moving back and forth
Between two doors, the sled runs to a pond.
At Mirror Lake a woman slipped through ice
And drank the cold. In blue twilight she saw
Lucent souls of lost unlucky children
Suspended in the ice, or floating past
In sodden hoods and gowns, unharmed by smiles
Of pike. Claire spoke; then she forgot all words.
The man detected nothing. Logged, his sleeve
Now strained in silence that the blackbirds fled.
He felt the world attending as he fished.
Next he could feel the stars kneel at his back.
And he could feel the planets stare to think.
Then particles were getting in his eyes.
And afterward he proved the orphic voice
To be a kind of choking, stop and start.
The leastmost tendril crept across his wrist.
She didn't want to come. She didn't want
That birth. Claire wanted nothing. Still, she was
Upraised by hair from water's placid womb.
It seemed there was no link with nature's dark.
And after all, she lived. The neighbors sprang
From shining homes to help him lift her forth.
The snow kept on, tireless, wide spaced as stars.
*originally published in Carolina Quarterly
Praise and reviews:
"Rereading these fine poems has given me a sense of returning home to a place of good things: wisdom, courage, goodness, and beauty preserved against so many brutal assaults. It may be in the country, in the past, in dreams, or in art, but Claire finds always what another poet called ‘a place for the genuine.’ The reader is given convincing details—names, places, and flowers—with the stamp of authenticity in the sure handling of language and music. Time and again, I hear what seems to be perfect wording and pacing. Youmans’s poems address a world accurately registered and carefully kept—in gracious reminders of old meanings of ‘keep’: care, attention, heed, notice. I wish more poems were like these.
"Readers of Marly Youmans know her supple, sensuous prose. In Claire she shifts to the more nervous rhythms of poetry, exploring the dark, rich realms of childhood. Claire’s universe is alive with activity, birds, beasts, and flowers, to use the Laurentian title. But really it is Tennyson she reminds me of, the melody, the melancholy of ‘Lady in a Tower, 1870.’
About the author:
Marly Youmans is the author of Val/Orson (limited edition hardcover short novel, forthcoming in late 2008 from P. S. Publishing in the U.K.), Ingledove (fantasy set in the Southern mountains, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005), Claire (Louisiana State University - poetry series, 2003), The Curse of the Raven Mocker (fantasy set in the Southern mountains, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003), The Wolf Pit (novel, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001), Catherwood (novel, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1996), Little Jordan (short novel, David R. Godine, 1995). Her awards include the 2001 Michael Shaara Award for The Wolf Pit, two Theodore Hoepfner awards, and the New Writer's Award of Captiol Magazine (Albany, NY).
ISBN13: 9780807129012, 64 pages
Trade paper: $15.95
Louisiana State University Press
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