Marly Youmans

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Marly Youmans
Marly Youmans on a panel of "Poets Who Write Other Genres" at the 2012 West Chester University Poetry Conference
Born Susan Marlene Youmans
(1953-11-22) November 22, 1953 (age 62)
Aikens, South Carolina
Occupation poet, novelist, and short story writer
Language English
Nationality American
Genre poetry, novels, short stories, books for children
Literary movement New Formalism

Marly Youmans (born Susan Marlene Youmans November 22, 1953, in Aiken, South Carolina) is an American poet, novelist and short story writer.


Marly Youmans grew up in Louisiana, North Carolina, and elsewhere. She currently lives in the village of Cooperstown, New York, with her husband and three children. She graduated from Hollins College, Brown University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She taught at State University of New York but quit academia after receiving promotion and tenure in her fifth year.[1]


Her published work consists of four books of poetry, six novels and two fantasies for young readers, as well as uncollected short stories, essays and poems. Across all these idioms, her work displays a commitment to rhythm, the sound of words, imagery and complexity of form and allusion. Thaliad, for example, is an epic poem that tells a compelling story of children who survive an apocalypse to begin a new society, written as though a spoken history remembranced in blank verse a generation on. Her novels have been described as 'literary fiction at its finest' in Books and Culture[2] while The Advocate has cited her skill at mastering poetic forms.[3]

Her books demonstrate a number of continuing interests: in lives lived close to nature, whether in the past (Catherwood) or the future (Thaliad), magic, faith and redemption (Val/Orson, The Foliate Head) and the individual’s journey from youth to adulthood (Inglewood, A Death at the White Camelia Orphanage). Visual art is often referenced in her work and Thaliad and The Foliate Head were both collaborations with the artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins with decorations throughout the texts. She provided the title poems for an illustrated anthology, The Book of Ystwyth: Six Poets on the Art of Clive Hicks-Jenkins.[4]


The Baton Rouge Advocate named Ingledove Best Young Adult Fiction of 2005, and cited The Curse of the Raven Mocker as Best Children's Book of 2003. Books and Culture Magazine named Val/Orson Book of the Year in 2009, and noted The Curse of the Raven Mocker in The Top Ten Books of 2003. She is the winner of The Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction for The Wolf Pit,[5] her third novel, which was also on the short list for The Southern Book Award. She is a two-time winner of the Theodore Hoepfner Award for the short story and the winner of the New Writers Award of Capital Magazine (New York), also for the short story. She has held fellowships from Yaddo, New York State, and elsewhere. Her latest award is The Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction for A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage (Mercer University Press, 2012.)

She was a judge of the 2012 National Book Awards.[6]




  • Thaliad (Montreal, CA: Phoenicia Publishing, 2012) ISBN 978-0-9866909-3-8
  • The Foliate Head (UK: Stanza Press, 2012) ISBN 978-1-848634-60-2
  • The Throne of Psyche (Mercer University Press - Poetry, 2011) 0881462322 / 9780881462326 (dual hard/softcover)
  • Claire: poems (Louisiana State University, 2003), ISBN 0-8071-2901-1 (dual hard/softcover)

Books for young readers[edit]


  • 'Fire in the Labyrinth' in Simon Callow, Andrew Green, Rex Harley, Clive Hicks-Jenkins, Kathe Koja, Anita Mills, Montserrat Prat, Jacqueline Thalmann, Damian Walford Davies and Marly Youmans, Clive Hicks-Jenkins (2011: Lund Humphries) ISBN 978-1-84822-082-9, pp. 99–123


  1. ^ Joseph M. Flora, Amber Vogel, Bryan Albin Giemza, eds. (2006). Southern writers: a new biographical dictionary. LSU Press. ISBN 978-0-8071-3123-7. 
  2. ^ Linda McCullough Moore, Books and Culture, May 2012
  3. ^ Greg Langley, The Advocate, 30 January 2013
  4. ^ Bonta, Dave, Callum James, Andrea Selch, Catriona Urquhart, Damian Walford Davies and Marly Youmans, The Book of Ystwyth: Six Poets on the Art of Clive Hicks-Jenkins (2011: Carolina Wren Press) ISBN 978-0-932112-89-7
  5. ^ "SON'S PASSION FOR CIVIL WAR LED HER TO WRITE AWARD-WINNING BOOK". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. June 26, 2002. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  6. ^ National Book Awards 2012


External links[edit]