To a Dreamer: Best Poems of H. P. Lovecraft

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S.T. Joshi, editor: To a Dreamer: Best Poems of H. P. Lovecraft.  Cover art by Jason C. Eckhardt.  Necronomicon Press 2019.  228 pages, 6x9" Perfect bound and Limited Edition hardcover available
H. P. Lovecraft’s mother once said that her son was “a poet of the highest order.” That may be something of an exaggeration, but there is no question that much of his poetic work forms an important adjunct to his highly acclaimed fiction. In particular, his weird verse—the 36 sonnets of Fungi from Yuggoth, the long poems “The Poe-et’s Nightmare” and “Psychopompos,” and shorter poems such as “Nemesis” and “To a Dreamer”—has been hugely influential both in his own day and in the decades that followed.

This volume—the first major selection of Lovecraft’s entire poetic output since the long out-of-print Collected Poems (1963)—provides a cross-section of the very best of Lovecraft’s poetry. While his weird poems take pride of place, other bodies of work are not neglected. In particular, Lovecraft was skilled at satirical poetry, inspired by the pungent work of John Dryden and Alexander Pope. He condemned contemporary poetry in “Amissa Minerva” and also wrote an exquisite parody of T. S. Eliot’s Waste Land, titled “Waste Paper.” He even satirized himself in “The Dead Bookworm” and other verses.

Much of Lovecraft’s poetic output was “occasional verse”—poems written for a specific occasion or incident. Virtually any event—from the birth of a friend’s child (“To an Infant”) to the death of a beloved cat (“Sir Thomas Tryout”)—could trigger a striking bit of poetry. Lovecraft also found political events, the change of seasons, and affairs in the amateur journalism movement a rich source of poetic inspiration.

The volume has been assembled by S. T. Joshi, a leading Lovecraft scholar and editor of Lovecraft’s complete fiction, poetry, essays, and letters.