►►► "Odes and Sonnets" by Clark Ashton Smith ◀◀◀
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Word count: 3,704 words (≈ 15 minutes)
Published in: 1918
Categorie(s): Fiction, Poetry
Odes and Sonnets by Clark Ashton Smith:
Long before the association with "Weird Tales" magazine and H.P. Lovecraft that led to his enduring fame, Clark Ashton Smith was a well-regarded regional poet whose tastes ran to the romantic and the fantastic. This collection of poems -- originally published in 1918 -- presents some of his best early work.
About Clark Ashton Smith:
Clark Ashton Smith (13 January 1893 – 14 August 1961) was a self-educated American poet, sculptor, painter and author of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories. He achieved early local recognition, largely through the enthusiasm of George Sterling, for traditional verse in the vein of Swinburne. As a poet, Smith is grouped with the West Coast Romantics (alongside Ambrose Bierce, Joaquin Miller, Sterling, Nora May French, and others) and remembered as 'The Last of the Great Romantics' and 'The Bard of Auburn'. As a member of the Lovecraft circle, (Smith's literary friendship with H. P. Lovecraft lasted from 1922 until Lovecraft's death in 1937), Smith remains second only to Lovecraft in general esteem and importance amongst contributors to the pulp magazine Weird Tales, where some readers objected to his morbidness and violation of pulp traditions. (It has been said of him that "Nobody since Poe has so loved a well-rotted corpse.") His work is marked chiefly by an extraordinarily wide and ornate vocabulary, a cosmic perspective and a vein of sardonic and sometimes ribald humor.
Smith published most of his volumes of poetry in this period, including the aforementioned The Star-Treader and Other Poems, as well as Odes and Sonnets (1918), Ebony and Crystal (1922) and Sandalwood (1925). His long poem The Hashish-Eater; Or, the Apocalypse of Evil was written in 1920.
Smith wrote most of his weird fiction and Cthulhu Mythos stories, partially inspired by H. P. Lovecraft. Creatures of his invention include Aforgomon, Rlim-Shaikorth, Mordiggian, Tsathoggua, the wizard Eibon, and various others. In an homage to his friend, Lovecraft referred in some of his stories to a great dark wizard, "Klarkash-Ton."
Smith's weird stories form several cycles, called after the lands in which they are set: Averoigne, Hyperborea, Mars, Poseidonis, Zothique. To some extent Smith was influenced in his vision of such lost worlds by the teachings of Theosophy and the writings of Helena Blavatsky. Stories set in Zothique belong to the Dying Earth subgenre. Amongst Smith's science fiction tales are stories set on Mars and the invented planet of Xiccarph.
His short stories originally appeared in the magazines Weird Tales, Strange Tales, Astounding Stories, Stirring Science Stories and Wonder Stories.
Clark Ashton Smith was the third member of the great triumvirate of Weird Tales, with Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard.
Many of Smith's stories were published in six hardcover volumes by August Derleth under his Arkham House imprint. For a full bibliography to 1978, see Sidney-Fryer, Emperor of Dreams (cited below). S.T. Joshi is working with other scholars to produce an updated bibliography of Smith's work.
Smith's best-known tales:
"The Last Incantation", "A Voyage to Sfanomoe", "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros", "The Door to Saturn", "The Planet of the Dead", "The Gorgon", "The Letter from Mohaun Los", "The Empire of the Necromancers", "The Hunters from Beyond", "The Isle of the Torturers", "The Light from Beyond", "Xeethra", "The Flower-Women", "The Treader of the Dust", "Necromancy in Naat", "The Maze of Maal Dweb".
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