Tag Archives: poetry

H.P. Lovecraft's Patriotic Poetry

H.P. Lovecraft’s Patriotic Poetry

Ol’ Lovecraft fancied himself a poet, and he had a bit of a Hallmark streak in him and often penned verse to national holidays. I’ve shared his Christmas versification in the past, and we looked at his Halloween verse. Here in the United States, our Independence Day celebrations are right around the corner so I thought it’d be fitting look at Lovecraft’s patriotic poem.


Ode for July Fourth, 1917

As Columbia’s brave scions, in anger array’d,
 Once defy’d a proud monarch and built a new nation;
’Gainst their brothers of Britain unsheath’d the sharp blade
 That hath ne’er met defeat nor endur’d desecration;
  So must we in this hour
  Show our valour and pow’r,
And dispel the black perils that over us low’r:
 Whilst the sons of Britannia, no longer our foes,
 Will rejoice in our triumphs and strengthen our blows!

See the banners of Liberty float in the breeze
 That plays light o’er the regions our fathers defended;
Hear the voice of the million resound o’er the leas,
 As the deeds of the past are proclaim’d and commended;
  And in splendour on high
  Where our flags proudly fly,
See the folds we tore down flung again to the sky:
 For the Emblem of England, in kinship unfurl’d,
 Shall divide with Old Glory the praise of the world!

Bury’d now are the hatreds of subject and King,
 And the strife that once sunder’d an Empire hath vanish’d.
With the fame of the Saxon the heavens shall ring
 As the vultures of darkness are baffled and banish’d;
  And the broad British sea,
  Of her enemies free,
Shall in tribute bow gladly, Columbia to thee:
 For the friends of the Right, in the field side by side,
 Form a fabric of Freedom no hand can divide!


The US got involved in The Great War in 1917, so it’s fair to say Lovecraft is offering up a bit of reflection for past events and the current situation in the world. I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for the whole national personification thing—it’s such a delightfully weird tradition.

Happy Independence Day, fellow Americans and happy Tuesday to everyone else.

🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸


Are you Lovecraft fan? Like cosmic horror? Like gritty urban fantasy? Why not check out my novels—they’re cosmic horror adventures set in a post-apocalyptic world after the return of Lovecraft’s monstrosities. Buy the series here read reviews over on Goodreads. All three are available in eBook or paperback.

The Bell Forging Cycle

 

My Top Five Posts of 2018

My Top Five Posts of 2018

The year is coming to an end in a few weeks, and in these twilight days of 2018, I’m one to reflect on the things I’ve accomplished. Last year, I revisited my top five posts of 2017, and I thought it’d be interesting to do that again this year.

This has been a banner year for my blog—I’ve seen a lot more traffic than I ever have before, which is always exciting. After all, I’ve wanted to make this site my primary focus rather than spreading bits and pieces of myself all over social media. My hope is that this becomes a place where readers can find more than just generic author-bloggy stuff but also interesting content. Based on my top posts, I think I’m finding that balance. So, let’s see what resonated, we’ll start at number five and work our way to number one.


Eight Writing Tips from Eight Different Writers5. Eight Writing Tips from Eight Different Writers

Writers are often asked to offer up their personal “rules” for writing, and unless you’re Jonathan Franzen, other authors (or aspiring authors) love to share and discuss their thoughts. I noticed a correlation between the number eight and decided to riff off that—and then things went out of control. There is good advice to be had here from masters in the field, glean from it what you can.


Mapping Resources for Authors4. Mapping Resources for Authors (and GMs)

My background is in graphic design, and as a reader, a good map has always drawn me in—many fantasy authors (and game masters) need maps for their various projects, and they don’t have the skill set to render them in a useful way. My hope with this post was to deliver a handy guide for the more artistically challenged authors (or GMs) by exploring the map creation software and sites currently available.


Your Fav is Problematic—That's Okay3. Your Fave is Problematic—That’s Okay

If there is one post I am most proud of this year, it’s this one—for a long time I thought it’d be number one. Consider this my manifesto. An appeal for the wicked, as it were. I want you to write fiction that makes people uncomfortable. Give us perspectives outside our echo chambers. Make us care. Let our hearts be in conflict.


The 2018 Lovecraft-Inspired Holiday Gift Guide2. The 2018 Lovecraft-Inspired Holiday Gift Guide

As always the internet loves a good gift guide. For the fifth straight year, my Lovecraftian gift guide has attracted all manner of visitors who are eager to see what strange and unusual items I’ve discovered over the year. This year’s list is no different. There’s a ton of great gifts, and there is still time to get your orders in on many of these products.


That brings us to number one… the most prominent post of 2018 was…


H.P. Lovecraft Really Liked Sending Christmas Poetry1. H.P. Lovecraft Really Liked Sending Christmas Poetry

I’ll be honest, this one took me by surprise. For a while now, during the holiday season, I’ve often shared Lovecraft’s weird Christmas poems, but this rarity quickly took off, in a single day it surpassed all other posts for the year. That’s the weird internet for you. Go figure.


So, there are the top five posts decided by you, the reader! I’m disappointed that none of my Raunch Review series made the top five, but I still have high hopes for those posts. I firmly believe they’ll eventually find their audience and I’ll get some crazy email from someone adamantly disagreeing with my judgments.

Thank you to all my readers who read, comment, and share the stuff I post on I Make Stories. Sharing my posts on your blogs and social media accounts makes a difference. It means a lot to see your excitement and that excitement makes it all worthwhile. With your help, you made 2018 the best year ever, and I’m excited to see what 2019 holds.

❄️ 💀 ❄️


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

H.P. Lovecraft Really Liked Sending Christmas Poetry

H.P. Lovecraft Really Liked Sending Christmas Poetry

Hey, it’s December 2nd, how’d that happen? For a while now, I’ve taken the holiday season as an opportunity to share some of Lovecraft’s more seasonal, often strange, and always festive poetry. I even put a handy guide together last year. Many of these poems are filled with inside jokes and were written for specific individuals (and sometimes cats.)

But there was one poem that, until recently, I hadn’t been able to track down. Lovecraft’s 1918 verse: To the A.H.S.P.C., on Receipt of the Christmas Pippinhplovecraft.com, my go-to respiratory didn’t have it, and it wasn’t in any of the books in my collections. After some searching, I finally found a copy on the Hungarian site hplovecraft.hu and I present it here as written.


 To the A.H.S.P.C., on Receipt
of the Christmas Pippin

Like some astronomer, whose dazzled gaze
Looks for a star, but finds the moon’s bright rays,
The carping critick trembles with surprise
As the new Pippin greets his awestruck eyes!
Precocious train, whose infant genius glows
In faultless verse and Addisonian prose;
Whose countless talents scintillate and shine
Thro’ polish’d paragraph and lustrous line;
What ag’d assemblage can compare with you?—
Your gifts so many, yet your years so few!
High o’er the band euphonious HARPER tow’rs,
Blest with a poet’s and a cynic’s pow’rs;
Who can with equal skill and vigour shew
A press club’s virtues, and November’s snow,
And hold with majesty the office of a MOE.
Not less in altitude, nor less in wit,
See mighty GALPIN on his dais sit;
Swiftest of bards, whose hasting pen can trace
Impromptu numbers—foremost in the race!
From him we turn to THAYER—refulgent star—
(Tho’ inter nos methinks we turn not far:)
Experience gleams thro’ each pathetic verse—
O leer ye not—some day you’ll suffer worse!
But see!—above the present’s tawdry theme
Soars a fleet WING, with high auspicious dream;
Prophetic singer! ere thy lines are done,
Rejoicing Freedom views the vanquish’d Hun!
All hail, FRANCISCO, who canst rhyme so well
Of the once-potent autocrat of h***:
Proud Lucifer a rival King must own,
Who keeps his evil, tho’ he lose his throne!
Now comes the prose, but sure, the change is slight
When we behold YEED’S ethereal flight:
With airy grace she sails celestial deeps,
And finds the wealth that pleasing Fancy keeps.
More fancy shines as we admiring look
At Santa’s tale—Pieria’s undamm’d brook;
With tranquil tide the stream melodious flows,
And poesy beams thro’ the faultless prose.
The page now blazes with collegiate fire,
As M. PATRICIA smites the sounding lyre;
In classic halls a virtuous phantom see,
To mould the lives of heroes soon to be!
Christmas again! This time a RYAN’S quill
Describes the w. k. season of good will;
Each reader praises, as his eyes behold
A noble theme, and classic style, unroll’d.
Such are the parts—what language can we find
To sing the merits of the whole combin’d?
Superlatives in vain the critick tries
In praise of aught so witty and so wise
Old age, with friendly grandpaternal glance,
Surveys each prodigy in swift advance:
If in the youthful mind such art appears,
What heights of glory wait your riper years?


As far as Lovecraftian holiday verse goes, it’s not my favorite (that honor goes to Yule Horror.) I have no idea why “hell” is censored when he uses it freely in other work. (Call of Cthulhu comes to mind, among others.) Maybe the AHSPC was more prudish?

For those wondering: a “pippin” is a type of apple, not a 90s NBA star. I’m guessing the capitalized words are names calling out members of the AHSPC. Galpin shows up in other works as well (and was reportedly the inspiration for Old Bugs.) Lovecraft didn’t stop with this poem, he also wrote a similar one thanking the AHSPC for the May Pippin. Because of course.

All this and much much more is collected in S. T. Joshi’s The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft so if you’re hankering for more of Lovecraft’s weird verse, it’s a solid collection and a good place to start (and end actually, it has everything.)


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Sing us a song, you're the Lovecraft Man... sing us a song tonight!

Nemesis & Piano Man

Last week on Twitter, Captain Video noticed that Lovecraft’s beloved poem, Nemesis has the same meter as Billy Joel’s Piano Man. Well, it didn’t take long for the internet to respond and the result was as charming as you’d imagine. You can listen to Julian Velard’s version below or over on YouTube.

This will come as no shock, but I find this absolutely brilliant. Lucky for all of us, it wasn’t the only rendition. The blog Birth. Movies. Death. put together a post sharing several other variations, you can check it out here.

Now, all we need is someone to write a chorus. I’m no poet, and I’m a lousy songwriter, but here’s my amateur attempt.


Spin us a tale, you’re the Lovecraft man
Spin us a tale tonight
Well, we’re all in the mood for a horror story
And you’ve got us feelin’ a fright


💀 🦑 💀

H.P. Lovecraft and his pumpkin pal

H.P. Lovecraft’s Halloween Poem

When he wasn’t writing cosmic horror about indescribable beings, H.P. Lovecraft considered himself a poet. I’ve mentioned his Christmas poetry in the past, and since today is Halloween, I thought it’d be fun to take a gander at another holiday poem.

Hallowe’en in a Suburb was originally published as In A Suburb in The National Amateur in March of 1926. The poem was later renamed. I spent some time researching why the name was changed, but I couldn’t find an answer. The poem stands on its own without the Halloween association, but there is a definite fall/harvest feel with reflection on sheaves and chill winds. Perhaps it was marketing?


Hallowe’en in a Suburb

The steeples are white in the wild moonlight,
And the trees have a silver glare;
Past the chimneys high see the vampires fly,
And the harpies of upper air,
That flutter and laugh and stare.

For the village dead to the moon outspread
Never shone in the sunset’s gleam,
But grew out of the deep that the dead years keep
Where the rivers of madness stream
Down the gulfs to a pit of dream.

A chill wind weaves thro’ the rows of sheaves
In the meadows that shimmer pale,
And comes to twine where the headstones shine
And the ghouls of the churchyard wail
For harvests that fly and fail.

Not a breath of the strange grey gods of change
That tore from the past its own
Can quicken this hour, when a spectral pow’r
Spreads sleep o’er the cosmic throne
And looses the vast unknown.

So here again stretch the vale and plain
That moons long-forgotten saw,
And the dead leap gay in the pallid ray,
Sprung out of the tomb’s black maw
To shake all the world with awe.

And all that the morn shall greet forlorn,
The ugliness and the pest
Of rows where thick rise the stones and brick,
Shall some day be with the rest,
And brood with the shades unblest.

Then wild in the dark let the lemurs bark,
And the leprous spires ascend;
For new and old alike in the fold
Of horror and death are penn’d,
For the hounds of Time to rend.


It’s not half bad as far as creep poetry goes, and it’s certainly better than his cat-centric silly Christmas poetry. The very talented Andrew Lehman cut a record for Cadabra Records where he reads several of Lovecraft’s poems including this one. The record doesn’t appear to be available anymore, but you can listen to Hallowe’en in a Suburb and The Cats below.


Have a happy and safe Halloween everyone! Remember that today is the last day to get FREE SHIPPING on any signed paperbacks from my store. Just use the code BFCMONTH on checkout. You can see all the details in this post.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →