Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.

--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Early bird review!

Novelist Midori Snyder has written a thoughtful and very early review of Maze of Blood at her site, In the Labyrinth. Since I can't possibly thank her enough for writing an entire review when she was asked for a mere blurb, be sure and go and noodle around her website and take a look at her books, too! That would make a great thanks, and her site is an especially interesting one.


And since the book will not be out until fall, I'll just remind people that my current in-print books are Glimmerglass, A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage, Thaliad, The Foliate Head, and The Throne of Psyche. Click on the tabs above to find out more about them.

Image: Detail with wing and name, cover for Maze of Blood... from the wonderful hands and brain-maze of Clive Hicks-Jenkins. See the finished image here!


First released pictures for Maze of Blood, my upcoming novel from Mercer with art from Clive Hicks-Jenkins and design from Mary-Frances Glover Burt, can be seen here.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Birds and snow and jacket--

detail, "The Congregation of Birds"
Clive Hicks-Jenkins, 2009
And I'm looking at how well
these colors go with Glimmerglass...

Ventured out in the blowing snow as far as a bird conservatory with my husband and youngest child. Saw lots of birds--Gouldian finches and blue-neck and paradise tanagers and many more--and odd, stray creatures, lizards and tortoises and a sloth and mud skippers. On the way home, the world was mostly whited-out, all long snow-fields with a few sketchy trees and a blurred line of forest in the distance.

Now I need to do some work...

But what I keep thinking is that I cannot wait to see Clive's jacket image for Maze of Blood on Monday!

Glimmery, etc.

First Things
John Wilson's article "Books of 2014" is now available on the website of print magazine First Things. If you are a novel-reading maniac and don't want to hear about beetles and more (me, I like beetles and desert fathers), scroll down to the letter C and you'll find six novels from 2014, including Glimmerglass.

And if you want more Glimmerglass, take a peek at the post just prior, with links to a multi-part interview with me, conducted by Suzanne Brazil and published in various places on the web. It's a painstaking interview, done over time, each question emerging out of prior conversation.

Mons Nubifer Sanctus workshop
If you're near the Catskills and want to sign up for a February workshop (analysis and writing) on scripture and language, related writing exercises, and poetry in beautiful Lake Delaware, take a look at Mons Nubifer Sanctus, Holy Cloud-Bearing Mountain, a center for contemplative life.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Long interview just up--

A long two-part interview with me conducted by Suzanne Brazil is now up at The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Blogcritics, and will be at the interviewer's own website. The interview came about after Suzanne Brazil wrote a review, also at The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Blogcritics. (As for the interview itself, I'm not quite sure why the Seattle paper sub-titled it with "poet and writing instructor," as I seldom do workshops, and we talk about Glimmerglass and other novels as well as poetry, but that's okay by me--I'm grateful to be with them.) It's a very long interview, and Suzanne asked interesting questions, so take a look...

The interview was conducted over a long period of time, each new question coming after the answer to a prior one. So this is the first time I have seen the whole series as one large interview and had a sense of what was talked about as a whole. I was horribly honest, so there might be some things you find curious or intriguing.

But now that I see all the questions together, I wish we had talked about collaboration with artists as something I value deeply, particularly my collaboration with Clive Hicks-Jenkins. Maybe that's the subject for another interview! It would be fun to do a three-way interview with Clive and me and Suzanne Brazil... Hmm? I also think it would be fun some time to do something about the collaborations with Paul Digby on poetry videos. I have done other collaborative projects as well, with Makoto Fujimura and others. It's an interesting topic...
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
part 1 and  part 2
and Blogcritics  part 1 and part 2
Suzanne Brazil will be re-posting on her website, Suzanne Brazil: Living the Writing Life, and on her Facebook page as well.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Glimmerglass at First Things

Clip from "Books of 2014: John Wilson takes us from beetles to the Desert Fathers," First Things, March 2015 (print), pp. 45-48--
Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times but in tune with the ages. Glimmerglass is set in the present in a fictional village patterned on Cooperstown. It's a sweetly uncanny mix of the quotidian and the magical, a portrait of the artist (and this is such a refreshing change) as a middle-aged woman recovering her vocation. There's a very odd house, too, with Gothic chambers, and a family secret, and much more.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day

A happy St. Valentine's afternoon to you--
Photo courtesy of John McMurdo of the UK and

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Good morning, snow--

Woke up at 5. Groped my way downstairs, turned up the heat, and went back to bed. Woke up a bit later with Theodora the long-haired calico diva pressed against one side of me and the Puffcat (the please-comb-me blue Persian) on the other. Suddenly realized there was an enormous bird splayed out just below the Puffcat. Perhaps it was a gull, only its beak was more like that of a toucan, and a little uneven under my fingertips. Dead or just tired? I glanced down at the floor and saw a black box of playing cards with tall white letters: INFINITY. So exhausted I fell asleep anyway. Woke up again and Michael is telling me that gulls have lice, and that this gull has lice. Fell asleep anyway and woke up when the alarm went off at 6:45, cats gone, bird gone, INFINITY cards gone back to INFINITY... 
The Glimmerglass giveaway is over. 1,564 people signed up for a chance, and the winner is T. Lee Deprospero of Florida. Confetti!

Question of the day: Why am I, a Southerner, not in Florida instead of living in a snow heap with more lovely snow falling steadily out of the rather low sky? Bonus question: Why do I have 20/20 vision in dreams?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Finding the new

copy belonging to artist/illustrator/writer
Jackie Morris
art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins
Since my short Goodreads giveaway for Glimmerglass will end in less than a day (1125 signed up at this moment), I think it's time for a Glimmerglass note...

I am a fan of novelist Scott G. F. Bailey's blog, Six Words for a Hat, and am always interested in what he says about books and writing. Currently he is talking about the need for "a story where a writer keeps working as he goes along, rather than sets up a game board and then simply unspools the plot."

Being but mortal, I am especially fond of what he says about my books (so far):
I have been meaning to write more about Marly Youmans' latest novel Glimmerglass, the second half of which features an adventure that is part fever dream, part mystical experience, and part thrilling escape. The protagonist of the tale encounters characters from scripture, myth, from literary history, and from her own subconscious. There is an admirable angel character who may or may not be Satan; it works either way, which is some trick. Some day soon, hopefully, I'll write about it, but for now I want to say that this is a book where the writer continues to push things, to work with her materials and find something new all along the course of the narrative. Yes, that's what I want to say, and that's what I want to find in a story.
Earlier he wrote about the first half of the book

Scott Bailey has a novel of his own, now in a reprint from MDA Books (originally published by Rhemalda.) The late critic David Myers wrote a wonderful  review of The Astrologer on his A Commonplace Blog. It's still waiting in my big To Be Read stack because someone who writes in such an interesting fashion about books is a writer I must read. (My husband has already stolen the book away and enjoyed it very much, I should add.) Scott Bailey also has some short stories in collections and is a writer and blogger well worth following.