The Book of the Red King



“Marly Youmans is brilliant, perhaps a genius. Her poems tell a story, offering us a vision of, well, I would say the Trinity, but that is only one possible interpretation. After a difficult and sometimes dangerous journey, a Red King, a Fool, and Precious Wentletrap converge into one, a resurrection that is heavenly. Is it true, or is it fable or fairytale? “When I want to write a new book,” she has said, “I run across the land and leap off the edge of the known world.” Her formal poems are impeccable and include sestinas, villanelles, rondels, rhyming schemes she may have invented, and perfect metrical patterns. Every poet can learn from this poet, and the reader—the reader will be spellbound.”

–Kelly Cherry, poet, novelist, and former Poet Laureate of Virginia


“The Book of the Red King by Marly Youmans is an ambitious, magical book about the nature of power and language.  The Red King and the Fool, while they control different realms, make us consider whether it is better to rule on earth or in one’s imagination. In these gorgeous poems, Youmans makes the case for both.  Whatever side we take, Youmans reminds us of the paradox in each.  Even if we side with the Fool in this world of “hurt joy,” we are left with the realm of poetry.   It is not a bad trade.  For those who love well-formed poems and for those who love fantasy, this is a must-read and a distinctive, evocative voice. There is no one like Marly Youmans.”

–Kim Bridgford, celebrated poet, editor, and director of the global conference, Poetry by the Sea


“Marly Youmans occupies an imaginative space that straddles both the present and the mythological past. It is the territory of Yeats and Tolkien, and Youmans shares not only a taste for primal imagery with these great poets, but also their love of rhyme, rhythm and sound.”

–A. M. Juster, award-winning poet and translator


The Book of the Red King by Marly Youmans, is published by Phoenicia Publishing. Cover art and illustrations by Clive Hicks-Jenkins. Designed by Beth Adams. Copies may be purchased directly from the publisher:



4 thoughts on “The Book of the Red King

  1. WordPress does not love me any more! But I shall try one more time… Thanks to viejecita for being a fan: so sweet! Thank you. I’m so glad that Clive and I have danced together again… And Clive, thank you for posting (although I’ll never manage to fill the blurb-boots of that Kelly Cherry comment.)

  2. Thank you Clive, for the notice. I went to ‘HERE’ the moment I finished reading your post, and bought the book. Looking forward to the day it will arrive. (I know I shall have to wait, but I do not care, as long as I know it is coming),
    Thanks to you, Clive, I have become a great fan of of Marly Youmans. I would hate to miss anything by her, especially a book with your illustrations.

    ¡ Enhorabuena a los Dos !
    Best whishes, and Love from Madrid

    • viejecita,

      Oh, what a nice note! Thank you. And I agree–especially a book with Cliive’s illuminations! And thanks for ordering; I hope you enjoy the poems as much as Cliive’s art…

      Clive, thank you for posting. I doubt I can live up to the first blurb, particularly where I am known, hahaha! xo Marly

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