Monday, May 10, 2010

THREE MORE BOOK REVIEWS

RICHARD L. TIERNEY ; A BIBLIOGRAPHICAL CHECKLIST by Charles Lovecraft, (Sydney; P'rea,2008) pb ISBN9780980462500.  Copies can be ordered from the imprint's sole US dealer that I have posted earler.

If you are a serious collector of genre poetry or of writers in the 'Weird Tales' tradition or a serious collector of writers who work in the Lovecraft canon then this is a necessary part of your research library.  What more can be said.

EMPERORS OF DREAMS SOME NOTES ON WEIRD POETRY by S. T. Joshi (Sydney; P'rea,2008) pb ISBN9780980462531  Copies can be ordered from the imprint's sole us dealer that I have posted before.

Joshi is one of the leading scholars on weird fiction and poetry and on Lovecraft and his circle in particular.  The book is a collection of esays on six major poets of the weird; George Sterling, Clark Ashton Smith, H. P. Lovecraft, Samuel Loveman, Donald Wandrei and Frank Belknap Long plus a short essay on some more recent poets of the weird.

This is an important book on several levels .  The most important from my perspective is that before World War II there was considerable overlap between mainstream commercial and literary poetry  and poets who were more focused on genre and popular fiction markets.  Smith and Loveman were particularlly individuals who acted as links between some parts of the mainstream poetry community in America, especially the San Francisco writers and poets who wrote for the popular and pulp magazines, especially WEIRD TALES.  I wish I had read this book before I  blogged about how poetry in America is a collection of ghettoes that do very little communicating with each other.  I never appreciated the linkage among different communities of poets before World War II that seems so minimal today except for those who use haiku and other Japanese forms.  If I had a quibble I think Wandrei could have been dropped and an essay on Lorraine Lillith put in place or perhaps on the small group of  women poets who wrote for WEIRD TALES and then continued with F&SF after the war.  To me Wandrei was more famous as the writer who didn't do work for forty-five years than for his actual output. 

As far as I can tell Sterling had no direct contacts with poets of the weird beyond being a protege od Ambrose Bierce.  His importance comes from the impact his work had genre poets.  Loveman wrote and met many poets of the weird including Lovecraft but his own work appeared in mainstream and literary publications and never in genre or pulp publications with the exception of Lovecraft's  own amateur magazine THE CONSERVATIVE. 

I loved this book and hope that Joshi expands it into a general history of weird and horror poetry.  My only problem and this is  being egotistical is that he did not use my book CONTEMPORARY ,SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY AND HORROR POETRY ; A RESOURCE GUIDE AND BIOGRAPHICAL DIRECTORY (Westport CT; 1989,Greenwood)

And now for a book that I disliked intensely.

AMERICAN RENDERING by Andrew Hudgins (Boston; 2010, Houghton Mifflin) ISBN 978-0-547-24962-9

Yes I know that Hudgins is considered a major star in mainstream American poetry.  That also means that his work is well crafted stuff about himself, his family and of course all that is wrong woth America.  Now I do admit to watching THE O REILY FACTOR  on Fox but I balance it off with watching that saucy Rachel Maddow (and she is my favorite pundit) on MSNBC.  I am a retired politician who reads magazines of all political stripes, (MOTHER JONES, NATIONAL REVIEW, NEW REPUBLIC) AND i APPRECIATE THAT THEY ALONG WITH OTHER POLITICAL MAGAZINES PUBLISH POETRY BUT I FIND THAT POEMS IN POLITICAL MAGAZINES ARE EMINENTLY FORGETTABLE.  There I feel better now but I still dislike the Hudgins collection. 

I do plan to review non-sf/f/h poetry collections from time to timw and maybe I shall like some of them.  After all I did enjoy the movie 'JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS.

1 comment:

  1. Yep. I seem able to leave comments, Scott.

    Larry Santoro

    ReplyDelete