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Who’s Lost in What Greenwood?

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More on my new book:  Lost in the Greenwood explores two sets of tapestries, the Hunt of the Unicorn in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Lady and the Unicorn series in the Musée du Moyen Age in Paris.  These two sets differ in style, subject, history, in every way except date, and the fact that both include unicorns, though even the unicorns are different.  Yet one set is rarely discussed without some reference to the other.

The Hunt of the Unicorn is set in thick green woods.  Who’s lost? The poet, of course.  There are three sources for this work, the Hunt, the Lady and the reflections, questions, suppositions and imagination of the writer.

Find it at: https://www.ellenrobertsyoung.com/books.html

My Unicorns Have Escaped

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My new book, Lost in the Greenwood, is out in the world. 

The poems circle around the unicorn tapestries of 500 years ago.  There’s much more than unicorns: the making of the tapestries, the world that made them, magic, nature, belief. 

It’s a book of poems about all of this, but I still think of these poems as “my unicorns.”  And these unicorns are not the modern, friendly kind. They are goatlike, feisty and as dangerous as the world in which those who imagined them lived.

In their honor, I have a new website, http://www.ellenrobertsyoung.com

The book is available at atmospherepress.com, or by contacting me.

My Book is Out!

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Paley front coverAnd it is in my hands.  Due to a miscommunication with the publisher, the books had to chase me across the country, but I now have a batch to offer.  You can buy the book on the WordTech website, http://www.wordtechweb.com/order.htm

or you can contact me for a signed copy at a slight discount ($15 instead of $18, and mailing is included, as a special hot-off-the-press offer).

The poems in Made and Remade respond to William Paley’s book, Natural Theology, published in 1802.  Famous for his analogy, “suppose I had found a watch upon the ground . . . the inference we think is inevitable, that the watch must have had a maker . . . .,” the book presents Paley’s case for creation by design.  As cracks developed in a once coherent world view, we have been left with patches and pieces – the material of poetry – with which to make meaning.  The poems move in many directions, reflecting on how much has changed in 200 years.

Another Anniversary

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Today is the 116th anniversary of John Emerson Roberts’s departure from the Unitarian Church.  This move to leave the denomination and create his own “Church of this World” is what makes his an interesting story.  Without that move he would have been one of many successful liberal preachers in the denomination, hardly noticed in the world beyond.

In 1906, when Dr. Roberts decided to take a break from “the Church of this World” after nine years, a reporter for the Kansas City Journal declared that Roberts had fallen away from religion “because his name was Emerson.”  The writer (perhaps it was the paper’s editor) claimed that Roberts was imbued with “Emersonian mysticism.”  He didn’t address the fact that it was Dr. Roberts’s good Baptist parents who gave him this middle name.  Mysticism was not what led Dr. Roberts away from the denominations.  On the contrary, even the Unitarians had too much mysticism for his rational mind.

94933_CoverFrontThis June is also the second anniversary of the publication of my biography of Roberts.  A year ago I was giving talks about the book, which I enjoyed doing very much.  I had to admit, however, that the return on the cost of traveling was not worth it.  Through internet connections I did sell a few books, so this past winter I used LinkedIn ads to draw attention to this site when I posted selections from the book.  I got a nice increase in “views” but no sales.

I was ready to say, “Okay, I’ve done what I could.”  I’d sold some books.  I’d placed them in a few appropriate bookstores.  I’d sent review copies here, there and everywhere.  It seemed like time to put the project behind me.  Then two things happened this spring: the book was given a very favorable review in the Unitarian Universalist Historical Society Journal, and I was invited to write a short summary of Dr. Roberts’s success for Free Inquiry Magazine.  I wait to see what the 117th year since John Emerson Roberts left the Unitarian Church to create his “Church of this World” will bring.