ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
Emperors of Dreams: Some Notes on Weird PoetryEmperors of Dreams: Some Notes on Weird Poetry by S.T. Joshi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


[Disclaimer: I have a small mention in this book. I won’t be discussing it in this review.]

This slim collection of essays on six major weird poets – George Sterling, Clark Ashton Smith, H.P. Lovecraft, Samuel Loveman, Donald Wandrei, & Frank Belknap Long – reprints five of those essays from previous collections edited by Joshi. In addition, there is a very useful introduction (a brief summary of weird poetry & poets leading up to the modern era), and a final chapter entitled “Some Contemporaries.” Since the book itself came out in 2008, this chapter is slightly dated, though notable for including mention of both American & Australian poets. Special mention is also given to Californian weird poets past & present.

The essays themselves vary widely in scope, although Joshi’s personal approach to literary criticism prevails throughout. Generous samples of each subject’s work are provided, along with endnotes. Those seeking an accessible yet scholarly overview of these six poets won’t be disappointed, though the book may be somewhat difficult to find.




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ankh_hpl: (Ankh)
Dreams from a Black NebulaDreams from a Black Nebula by Wade German

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is a generously-sized collection of (mainly) formal dark verse, skewing toward the Clark Ashton Smith end of the weirdness spectrum. The poems are divided into five sections, one of which seemed to be a loosely-connected sequence (“Songs from the Nameless Hermitage”).

Wade German is a relative newcomer to weird poetry, but he’s a fine technician in a wide variety of forms – sonnets are a particular favorite in this collection – and knows how to vary them for effect. His free verse is also well-structured and effective, though possibly less musical.
The overall effect of these poems is rich and dreamlike, and I found myself taking them a few at a time rather than rushing through.

Recommended for fans of traditional genre poetry, Weird Tales-style dark fantasy, or both.




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ankh_hpl: (Ankh)
While I was tangled up with another project (more news on that soon, I hope!), the StarShipSofa podcast made not one, but two visits to Diane Severson's ( [livejournal.com profile] divadiane1) Poetry Planet. These visits cover all the SFPA Rhysling Award winners & runners-up for 2013.

6 of these 7 remarkable poems can be found on Sofa episode # 309, but one requires -- and merits! -- a bit more space.  Thus, the second visit in episode # 310, for Wade German's "The Necromantic Wine."  Fans of Clark Ashton Smith, or atmospheric fantasy in general, shouldn't miss this one.

This feature of StarShipSofa seems to improve with each episode, & I'm grateful to both Tony C. Smith & Diane S. for giving speculative verse a place on the Sofa.


ankh_hpl: (Ankh)
Deepest, Darkest Eden, an anthology of Clark Ashton Smith-inspired tales of Hyperborea, is almost upon us. Edited by Cody Goodfellow & published by Miskatonic River Press, this compilation of prehistoric fantasies features a TOC I'm proud to be a part of:


Nick Mamatas – “Hostage”
Joe Pulver – “To Walk Night…Alone”
Darrell Schweitzer – “In Old Commoriom”
Ann K. Schwader - ”Yhoundeh Fades” (poem)
Cody Goodfellow - ”Coil Of The Ouroboros”
John R. Fultz - ”Daughter Of The Elk Goddess”
Brian R. Sammons - ”The Darkness Below”
Dieter Meier - ”The Conquest Of Rhizopium”
Lisa Morton - ”Zolamin And The Mad God”
Brian Stableford - ”The Lost Archetype”
Ran Cartwright - ”One Last Task For Athammaus”
Don Webb - ”The Beauties Of Polarion”
Robert M. Price - ”The Debt Owed Abhoth”
Marc Laidlaw - ”The Frigid Ilk Of Sarn Kathool”
Charles Schneider - ”The Return Of The Crystal”
John Shirley - ”Rodney LaSalle Has A Job Waiting
in Commoriom“
Zak Jarvis - ”The Winter Of Atiradarinsept “
Jesse Bullington - ”The Door From Earth”
Ann K. Schwader - ”Weird Of The White Sybil” (poem)


More information -- and a glimpse of the gloriously pulpish cover -- may be found here.

With a bit of luck (or sorcery), this anthology should go to press the last week of August.

ankh_hpl: (Default)
Devotees of the richly scented verse of Clark Ashton Smith -- or any fan of the well-crafted weird -- will be happy to learn that a new anthology of poetry inspired by CAS & George Sterling is available now from Australia's P'rea Press.

Avatars of Wizardry (ed. by Charles Lovecraft, with foreword by S.T. Joshi ) includes both Sterling's "A Wine of Wizardry" and Smith's "The Hashish-Eater," but also offers contemporary responses to these works by Richard L. Tierney, Leigh Blackmore, Alan Gullette,  Bruce Boston, Earl Livings,  Wade German, Michael Fantina, & Kyla Lee Ward.

I was fortunate enough to read this anthology earlier this year.   This is definitely one for the long winter nights -- filled with  substantial,  deeply strange, often hallucinatory poems which take the time they need to deliver their impact.

Find more information (including extracts from the poems!) here.
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