Three Poems by Simon Perchik, a Sampler & Link—These Are Lovely Poems!

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Three Poems

Simon Perchik

***

You still eat roots the way each footstep
put together this hillside
as if it was once a pond and slowly

dried for the afternoon–a simple life
when each meal stays warm
though you were lowered with the same rope

mourners bring as in Here it is
and the grass flows clearer
than the way you go around

with both hands folded as if your grave
was born joined to these others
sweetened by them and time to time.

Click below to read the other two poems over at Conjunctions Online:

http://www.conjunctions.com/online/article/simon-perchik-05-08-2018?utm_source=WEBCONweekly050818&utm_campaign=WEBCON050818&utm_medium=email

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Drawing Down—A Poem by Sanguine Woods, 2018

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Photo: aukjevanderwal.nl

Drawing Down

Bequeath me sight not as it seems—
A sphere of light to capture screams;
Come, toll the word of moons and beams—
Exhume the heft of youthful dreams.

Purvey the slice that leaves no scar—
A sliver of bewitchèd glass;
A drop to stir; enflame the pall—
Un bâton rouge pour faire l’étoile.

Encerclez! thou thornèd crown—
Each pented point a waning sun;
Le sang va embrasser le sol—
And bring the circle ‘round.

(C)2018 Sanguine Woods

Her Kind, a Poem by Anne Sexton

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Her Kind

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

– Anne Sexton

Does Lovecraft Matter? What Do the Critics Say?—Part 1 of a Series on the Literary Importance of the Work of H. P. Lovecraft

Does Lovecraft Matter? What Do the Critics Say?

Lovecraft, Howard Phillip (1890–1937)

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Author, H. P. Lovecraft.

‘Virtually unknown during his lifetime, the writer and critic Howard Phillips (H. P.) Lovecraft attracted a huge readership for cult science fiction, fantasy, and Gothic terror. According to the author and critic Joyce Carol OATES, the posthumous publication of his collected stories made the greatest impact on HORROR NARRATIVE since the writings of Edgar Allan POE. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, to a deranged mother and syphilitic father, Lovecraft developed verbal acumen in childhood and retreated into a fictive world of terror and extraterrestrial phantasms inspired by the fantastic Pegana tales of Edward Plunkett, Lord Dunsany.

Lovecraft created his own mythic cycle popu- lated with MONSTERS such as those that permeate “The Call of Cthulhu” (1928), a murky nether world where titans speak an unknown language. Emphasizing perverse science, NECROMANCY, occultism, LYCANTHROPY, cannibalism, and demonology, he wrote a distinctive brand of horror for the pulp magazines Weird Tales and Astounding Stories. He took the time to admire a peer, poet Walter DE LA MARE, and to lavish encouragement and advice on a field of young, promising Gothic writers, including a contemporary, Clark Ashton Smith, author of “The Hashish-Eater” (1922). Lovecraft was also quick to single out the fakes and flakes, including the American horror writer Robert William Chambers, author of the play The King in Yellow (1895)*, which Lovecraft castigated for its lack of thought.

Like Poe, Lovecraft expressed his debt to ATMOSPHERE. In the critical volume Supernatural Horror in Literature (1945), he extolled the worth of surroundings above plot mechanics as the source of a sensation, a concept introduced by the Gothic master Ann RADCLIFFE in 1794.

As a result of Lovecraft’s control of setting and TONE, he produced unrelentingly pessimistic views of humankind in a world in which evil and savagery prevail, both in reality and nightmares, as found in “The Beast in the Cave” (1905), an early tale in which a tourist in Mammoth Cave kills an albino being resembling a prehistoric human. In a posthumous collection, The Dream Cycle of H. P. Lovecraft: Dreams of Terror and Death (1995), his tales of urban dread fuse midnight phantasms with waking horror. In “Azathoth” (1922) and “The Descendent” (1926), his doomed characters cringe before threatening worlds where fearful, whirling phantasms reach beyond land into sky and sea.

In “The Rats in the Wall,” one of the tales collected in The Best of H. P. Lovecraft (1987), the author exploits the oldest human dread, fear of the unknown. His hapless protagonist digs into the tiled floor of Exham Priory to discover a horror—the remains of people who died in a state of panic: “and over all were the marks of rodent gnawing. The skulls denoted nothing short of utter idiocy, cretinism, or primitive semi-apedom” (Lovecraft, The Best, 33).

The revelation suits a prevalent theme in Lovecraft sagas—the degeneracy of a family into crime, immorality, and madness. Underlying this and other nihilist views is Lovecraft’s atheism and the hopelessness for humanity, themes replicated in Fred Chappell’s Dagon (1968) and in the pessimistic urban Gothic of Leonard Lanson Cline’s The Dark Chamber (1927) and John Ramsey Campbell’s To Wake the Dead (1980) and New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (1980).’

*This is incorrect. “The King in Yellow” is a short story written by Robert W. Chambers, in which a play by the same name, when read, drives its reader insane. It is one of a very popular, critically lauded, collection of stories. “The [King in Yellow] is named after a play with the same title which recurs as a motif through some of the stories. The first half of the [collection] features highly esteemed weird stories, and the book has been described by esteemed critics such as E. F. Bleiler, S. T. Joshi and T. E. D. Klein as a classic in the field of the supernatural.” I cannot comment on Lovecraft’s opinion of Chambers/his work. See:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_KingBibliography

Clements, Nicholaus. “Lovecraft’s ‘The Haunter of the Dark,’” Explicator 57, no. 2 (winter 1999): 98–100.
F5A32AF8-0D8E-48C2-9801-1D12E90315E4Heller, Terry. The Delights of Terror: An Aesthetics of the Tale of Terror. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987.
Lovecraft, H. P. The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre. New York: Del Rey, 1987.
Oates, Joyce Carol. Telling Stories. New York: W. W. Nor- ton, 1998.
Price, Robert M. “H. P. Lovecraft: Prophet of Human- ism,” Humanist 61, no. 4 (July 2001): 26.
Wohleber, Curt. “The Man Who Can Scare Stephen King,” American Heritage 46, no. 8 (December 1995): 82–90.

(Source: Mary Ellen Snodgrass, The Encyclopedia of Gothic Literature, 2005)

The Complete Horror Timeline–Part 3 of 3: Mid-End of the 20th Century (1970 – 1999)

Blair Witch Project

Image: The Blair Witch Project, the first “found-footage film, 1999.

The Complete Horror Timeline

Part 3 of 3: Mid-End of the 20th Century (1970 – 1999)*

Go to Part 1: Pre-20th Century * Go to Part 2: 1900-1969

Complete Biography


1970s
This is the decade where film really started to see how far it could go in terms of gritty and sordid realism as America reeled from the images and their eventual loss of the Vietnam War. As Robert de Niro so prosaically put it: ‘Each night… I have to clean the come off the back seat. Some nights I clean off the blood.’ Outside the genre, violent movies were drawing the crowds, the like of Taxi Driver, The Godfather and The Deer Hunter, following on from 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde. It was also the decade of the (s)exploitation movie, though for the horror fan the most notable of these is Spermula, by its title alone (we’re not sure if The Sexorcist counts).

1970s
While there are certainly individual novels of great merit in the genre up to this point, fiction had been dominated by the short story since the demise of the Gothic Novel in the previous century. That all changed in this decade, and the novel would soon be the dominant form. Preceded by such successes as Levin [1967], Fred Mustard Stewart’s The Mephisto Waltz (1969) and Blatty [1971], the deluge began in 1973, soon finding Stephen King [1974] as a champion.

1970s
The re-growth of the popularity of horror on the stage started slowly this decade, the first real indication being Don Taylor’s The Exorcism (1975), playing at London’s Comedy Theatre, starring Honor Blackman and Brian Blessed. The show didn’t last long due the death of another lead, Mary Ure, but received rave reviews. The Rocky Horror Show [1973] and other successes had already occurred, including major adaptations of Blithe Spirit (originally by Noel Coward in 1942) and Sherlock Holmes (1974), with America taking the hint with The Crucifer of Blood (Paul Giovanni) three years later. Another American version of Dracula (1979) [1927] was a ‘miracle of production design and barely concealed eroticism’, though the English tour somehow turned high drama into comic absurdity [16]. This all set the stage, so to speak, for greater things to come, in the [1980s]

1970
A critical year for all death and speed metal, gloom and doom rock fans with the release of Black Sabbath’s first album. Make all the cracks you want about their imbecility, their inability to play their instruments beyond the most rudimentary of levels, their pretentiousness, whatever — the fact remains that there could have been no satanic/death/end of the world/crazed killer from beyond the pale metal without these Birmingham lads. — Tristan Riley

1971
Getting the whole gritty-film-thing off to a fine start was Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, based on Anthony Burgess’ novel of 1962. With its alienating view of rape, ultra-violence and Beethoven, it engendered a rather large amount of controversy, but also carried its own message about the rights of the individual. Not strictly a horror story, excess pushes it into the genre. Stanley Kubrick’s other major horrific foray was The Shining (1980). ‘At 14 [David Duchovny] saw A Clockwork Orange “which didn’t necessarily make me want to be an actor, but did make me want to be a criminal!”‘ [interview in The Sun-Herald, 21/1/96]. [Clippings]

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The Complete Horror Timeline–Part 2 of 3: Into the 20th Century (1900 – 1969)

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Image from the film, Häxan, a 1922 Swedish-Danish documentary-style silent horror film written and directed by Benjamin Christensen.

The Complete Horror Timeline

Part 2 of 3: Into the 20th Century (1900 – 1969)

Go to Part 1: Pre-20th Century * Go to Part 3: 1970 – 1999

Complete Bibliography


1902
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is published. As an exploration of the darker side of the soul it deserves mention, and is also considered the first twentieth century novel. Francis Ford Coppola moved the premise into Vietnam to see what would happen in 1979, whereas Nicholas Roeg’s telemovie (1994) was set in the original’s time period.

1902
‘The Monkey’s Paw’ is W. W. Jacobs’ contribution to the genre, and a significant one it is — probably the most famous short horror story, certainly of those written this century.

1904
The first collection from M. R. James, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, is published, heralding one of the most respected of this century’s horror authors, particularly in his speciality of the quiet but creepy ghost story.

1907
The Listener is published, a book of short stories by Algernon Blackwood containing his best-regarded work, ‘The Willows’. Blackwood was only one of a number of successful authors belonging to the Order of the Golden Dawn, an occult society created in 1888 by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, and whose most infamous member was Aleister Crowley. Other notable members were William Butler Yeats, Arthur Machen (debuting with ‘The Great God Pan’ in 1894), Lord Dunsany and the incredibly popular (in his time) Sax Rohmer who gave the world Dr Fu Manchu. This group represented not only most of the weird fiction originating in the UK at the time (one report lists Bram Stoker as a member), but is the last flourishing of English horror literature till James Herbert and Clive Barker [1984].

1908
Among the first experiments with film there were a number of gruesome and fantastic scenes, but the first real horror movie was probably William N. Selig’s 16 minute version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde [1885].

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The Complete Horror Timeline–Part 1 of 3: Pre-20th Century (1235 – 1899)

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Black Manor by unknown (Pinterest).

The Complete Horror Timeline

Part 1: Pre-20th Century

Go to Part 2: 1900 – 1969 * Go to Part 3: 1970 – 1999

Complete Bibliography

1235
An order comes out of the Vatican, authorising the commencement of an Inquisition to re-establish the orthodoxy of the faith. The charge of heresy soon becomes entangled with the charge of witchcraft, and in this form took until the seventeenth century to die away. [Article]

1307 – 1321
La Comedia, or The Divine Comedy as it came to be known, of Dante Alighieri is written in Italy. This semi-autobiographical poem sets forth one of the most influential descriptions of Hell in the literature, though Dante’s vast and intricate plan has, in the public eye, been superseded by Milton’s vision [1667]. Even less well-known are the two sections after Inferno that complete the poem, Purgatorio and Paradiso. [Article]

Nothing ere I was made was made to be
Save things eterne, and I eterne abide;
Lay down all hope, you that go in by me.

— trans. Dorothy L. Sayers

1456
Vladislav Basarab of Transylvania gains the crown of Wallacia for the first time (until 1462, and again briefly in 1468). From his father he earned the nickname ‘Dracula’, son of the Dragon, but he earned for himself the name Vlad the Impaler, for his favourite method of execution. Despite a large amount of slander by his political opponents, many of the tales of his cruelty were true (he is said to have killed over 40,000 people in his reign). He was also a staunch defender of Christendom from the Turkish threat. [1897]. [Article]

1470 – 1516
The Dutch artist Hieronymous Bosch in this period produced paintings of religious theme and nightmarish impact — the best known is The Garden of Earthly Delights. They came to the attention of the Inquisition after his death, but powerful patrons protected the collection. [Article]

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