On the 17th of September, at 7pm readers eagerly awaited the arrival of talented poet, Marly Youmans. The crowd gathered round to hear Youmans present her latest collection of poems, The Book of The Red King, at Scuppernong Books, and with poems holding such depth and beauty, the audience was not to be disappointed.
Novelist and poet Marly Youmans, is a graduate of Hollins College, Brown University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work includes themes that tend to explore salvation, magic and nature.
Such themes are offered in her latest publication, which she stated, “is one of those books that you don’t quite know where it came from, it just sort of starts to appear and I’ve never quite figured out if this is our world, or another realm in the multiverse…I’m not really sure.”
The group of ten or so endearing fans that surrounded Youmans, refused to allow any distraction peel their loyalty away from her mystifying words. From the moment she opened her book, to the pauses she took to collect her thoughts, all means of attention settled at the turn of her pages.
‘The Book of the Red King’ meets at the intersection of the fantastic and the poetic, where the Fool and the King’s stories intertwine, to capture readers and bring them throughout each of their journeys.
Youmans began by saying, “I will start by reading the opening poem [which] is one of the two versions of the Fool meeting the Red King. I figured that since Genesis can give us two versions of creation, I can give you two versions of that meeting. The first one is called Starry Fool.”
Perhaps the limited amount of context given by Youmans was intentional, as one member of the audience later asked, “Were you collecting poems for years before you realized they were stories you could put together? Or did you start out writing a story of poems?”
Youmans’ response was rather surprising, however it clearly defined her innate talent. She stated, “Sort of neither, these just sort of appeared as a big sluice where I had three months where they just kept popping up. You know, sometimes I would write three of four, a day.”
As she admitted that sometimes her poems were inspired by friends, her own personal endeavors, or even her dreams, Marly Youmans’ ability to weave together these curious details into a streamlined series of stories, while maintaining space for the reader’s imagination to explore her world, yet again, points towards her natural talent for the art.
At the request of a fan, Youmans closed with a final reading of her poem, ‘Direction for a Birthday Hat’, before the myriad of readers dispersed to find their own copy.