by Ann K. Schwader
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Schwader’s latest collection! Dark Energies released! Dark Energies is the powerful latest collection by American poet, Ann K. Schwader. New and hard-to-procure collected poems expand the vista of her artistic vision. These poems explore human plight in a dark cosmos and pitch historical, contemporary and futuristic observations in spellbinding metrical forms. As with all memorable poetry, t... [Read more]
Poetry Inspired by George Sterling and Clark Ashton Smith
George Sterling, Clark Ashton Smith, S. T. Joshi, and others.
Item type: Anthology
Format: C Format Paperback
Poetry readers and fantasy connoisseurs the world over have treasured “A Wine of Wizardry” and “The Hashish-Eater” for almost a century. Written by George Sterling in 1904 and Clark Ashton Smith in 1920 respectively, these poems have been the supporting lintel and threshold to a fantastic doorway of the imagination for generations of enthralled readers.
Now at last there is a contemporary response to these masterworks from poets as diverse and distinguished as Richard L. Tierney, Bruce Boston, Alan Gullette, Leigh Blackmore, Michael Fantina, Wade German, Earl Livings, and Kyla Lee Ward. Their magnificent poems evoke the enduring, timeless qualities of Sterling’s and Smith’s masterpieces and rework the spell to enthral a new generation.
We seem to be in the midst of a renaissance of fantastic poetry, as the present volume attests. The poets in this book have found in their work the inspiration to weave a tapestry of weirdness that stands as a substantial contribution to the fantastic verse of our own time. Connoisseurs of poetry know what aesthetic pleasures are in store for them when they read vivid, meticulously crafted work such as is contained in this book.
S. T. Joshi (author Supernatural Literature of the World, I Am Providence, H. P. Lovecraft: A Comprehensive Bibliography)
Inspired by George Sterling and Clark Ashton Smith, yet fueled by the twenty-first century talents of celebrated poets from both hemispheres, this collection of vintages has something for every rarefied taste. From hashish dreams to psychic expeditions through deep space-time, here are experiences not to be found elsewhere. Sip slowly, and revel in the flight.
Ann K. Schwader (author Twisted in Dream, In the Yaddith Time, Wild Hunt of the Stars)
A feast of fantastic verse, a special delight for Klarkash-tonians who need no further reassurance that the stately, cosmic tradition represented by such masterpieces as "The Star-Treader" and "The Hashish-Eater" is alive and well.
Darrell Schweitzer (author Pathways to Elfland, Windows of the Imagination, Exploring Fantasy Worlds)
Foreword, by S. T. Joshi
A Wine of Wizardry
The Hashish-Eater; or, The Apocalypse of Evil
Clark Ashton Smith
Visions of Golconda
Richard L. Tierney
Memoria: A Fragment from the Book of Wyvern
A Trip to the Hypnotist
Thirteen Ways of Looking At and Through Hashish
The Mantle of Merlin
The Necromantic Wine
Kyla Lee Ward
About the Contributors
Reviewed by Kenneth W. Faig, Jnr.
Editor and Acolyte Charles (Danny) Lovecraft has centered this collection on two classic poems by George Sterling (“A Wine of Wizardry”) and Clark Ashton Smith (“The Hashish-Eater”) and dedicated the collection: “For George and Clark.” Eight other poets─Richard L. Tierney, Leigh Blackmore, Alan Gullette, Bruce Boston, Earl Livings, Wade German, Michael Fantina and Kyla Lee Ward─contribute their own verse reflections on the rich drug-inspired visions of Sterling's and Smith's poems. It is an effective thematic gathering of work, meticulously produced and edited by Lovecraft.
Gavin O'Keefe, who does so much wonderful work for Fender Tucker's Ramble House, has contributed a striking cover illustration. Another nice feature of this edition is a collage of the poets as frontispiece and an “About the Contributors” appendix with photographs of many of the poets.
Certainly, there are other poets working in the domain of the fantastic─Donald Sidney-Fryer, Cardinal Cox, Ann K. Schwader and Acolyte Fred Phillips to name only a few─whose work would also have been welcome here, but no collection can truly hope to be comprehensive and furthermore I like Lovecraft's concept of an elegant, thin volume of choice contributions.
I would be less than honest not to admit that Smith's “The Hashish-Eater” is still difficult reading for me, despite its wealth of striking images and beautiful phrases. Reading it in the context of these other poetic reflections helps me to understand its relevance for those with stronger imaginations and better vocabularies than I who can appreciate it better. I think Clark Ashton Smith, in particular, would have been pleased with this volume, which mirrors in format his own thin poetry collections Spells and Philtres and The Dark Chateau from Arkham House in the 1950s. With a new comprehensive edition of Sterling's poetry in the works from Messrs. Joshi and Schultz, it seems we will be hearing more of the other featured poet in the years to come as well. A new biography of Sterling would help to foster appreciation of his work. The literary posterity of Clark Ashton Smith has already benefited from the scholarly work of Donald Sidney-Fryer; hopefully Scott Connors' biography of Smith will be joined to that work before too many more years elapse.
Since the death of August Derleth in 1971, Steve Sneyd of Hill-Top Press, Derrick Hussey of Hippocampus Press and Charles Lovecraft of P'rea Press have emerged as three of the most persistent publishers of the fantastic in verse. I hope Steve, Derrick and Charles will keep their torches burning for many years to come.
Review by John R Fultz on link
To let the book speak for itself and stand alone (as all good poetry will), here are some selected lines from the anthology:
... writhing vapors make
Dim augury, till shapes of men that were
Point, weeping, at tremendous dooms to be ...
And Satan, yawning on his brazen seat,
Fondles a screaming thing his fiends have flayed,
Ere Lilith come his indolence to greet ...
The blue-eyed vampire, sated at her feast,
Smiles bloodily against the leprous moon.
... continents of serpent-shapen trees,
With slimy trunks that lengthen league by league,
Pursue my flight through ages spurned to fire ...
Whereat my soaring ecstasy may stand
In amplest heavens multiplied to hold
My hordes of thunder-vested avatars,
And Promethèan armies of my thought ...
—Clark Ashton Smith
Leaving upon the glittering expanse
Like bright wave-stranded shells upon a beach,
Great gleaming ornaments of flaming gold
In shapes fantastical and demon-wrought ...
Whose naiad-shapen forms shed such a spell ...
—Richard L. Tierney
Strong anodyne and opiate I quaff
To lull me slowly from the waking world;
The air hangs heavy, hot and drugged ...
Throbs, as of some unending heartbeat, move
The heavens (filled with amaranthine light)
To violent turmoil. Veils of crimson cloud
Tear wild across the blazing welkin; fires
Outpour the rift in opal-flashing streams ...
And I floated there,
Borne on the inner tide until my birth,
A timeless span in sanguine twilight spent
Aware of nothing but the beating heart,
Dim songs, sharp laughter, and the wail of tears.
Once I emerge on the surface of the earth
the world is transformed to my bidding.
A glass carriage iridescent with northern lights
appears before me, its lucent seats cushioned
with extravagant pillows of liquid burgundy. ...
She devoured rubies
of the finest persuasion
from the hearts of lizards.
in the aqua vitae
of extraterrestrial streams ...
And then an alder tree, with skulls for fruit.
Their voices rise and fall, no wind, yet light
Pours out their eyes, with waves of splintered words,
A curse for those who sing without that gift
Of inspiration, salmon truths, dark tongue.
One skull shrieks, tosses wildly, drops between
My feet, splits open, swells into a cauldron
Bubbling with gushing, gaudy stars that whisper ...
For there are other ways to gain the roads
Which dark magicians tread to seek strange truths;
I need not raise a corpse from its repose
By crude reanimation, or invoke
The wraiths who linger at unquiet graves;
I need not deal with ghouls in catacombs
Who sup on foul corruption in the crypt ...
And so it is I leave and find a lane.
Now here it is I take the narrow path
Past idols tilting in the icy rain.
The road rides higher toward the mythic hills
Whereon the crowns of castles whitely bulge.
I travel leas I’ve traveled here before
In other dreams both evil or benign ...
I die, beyond a hundred crimson crimes.
Now as my judges bring the rod and flame
I cry for darkness, prodigal in shame
and only dread the work that they now do
will leave life's final shackle on my wrist.
All I have been brought screaming down to this ...
—Kyla Lee Ward
With such lines as these above strewn throughout the work like rockfall down a sere slope, one knows one has been transported to the badlands. Will one be able to get back? Find out for yourself.