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The Last Oblivion: Best Fantastic Poetry of Clark Ashton Smith

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Clark Ashton Smith could well be considered one of the great poets of the twentieth century, and much of his verse explores the realms of fantasy, terror, wonder, and the supernatural. In this volume—the first major selection of Smith's poetry in more than thirty years—editors S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz have presented an extensive array of poetic work that fully reve Clark Ashton Smith could well be considered one of the great poets of the twentieth century, and much of his verse explores the realms of fantasy, terror, wonder, and the supernatural. In this volume—the first major selection of Smith's poetry in more than thirty years—editors S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz have presented an extensive array of poetic work that fully reveals Smith's exotic language, imaginative range, and metrical precision. Including work from as early as the precocious Star-Treader and Other Poems (1912) and as late as the posthumously published The Hill of Dionysus (1962), The Last Oblivion features such celebrated works as "Nero," "Ode to the Abyss," and Smith's exquisite elegies to his mentor George Sterling and to his colleague in fantasy, H. P. Lovecraft. Poems on Zothique, Averoigne, and Atlantis, realms in which many of his prose tales are set, are also featured. More than two dozen unpublished or uncollected poems, never previously included in any of Smith's books, make The Last Oblivion a must for Smith devotees. Two full-color illustrations by Clark Ashton Smith and an exhaustive glossary of unusual words and names used in Smith's poetry enhance the volume.


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Clark Ashton Smith could well be considered one of the great poets of the twentieth century, and much of his verse explores the realms of fantasy, terror, wonder, and the supernatural. In this volume—the first major selection of Smith's poetry in more than thirty years—editors S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz have presented an extensive array of poetic work that fully reve Clark Ashton Smith could well be considered one of the great poets of the twentieth century, and much of his verse explores the realms of fantasy, terror, wonder, and the supernatural. In this volume—the first major selection of Smith's poetry in more than thirty years—editors S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz have presented an extensive array of poetic work that fully reveals Smith's exotic language, imaginative range, and metrical precision. Including work from as early as the precocious Star-Treader and Other Poems (1912) and as late as the posthumously published The Hill of Dionysus (1962), The Last Oblivion features such celebrated works as "Nero," "Ode to the Abyss," and Smith's exquisite elegies to his mentor George Sterling and to his colleague in fantasy, H. P. Lovecraft. Poems on Zothique, Averoigne, and Atlantis, realms in which many of his prose tales are set, are also featured. More than two dozen unpublished or uncollected poems, never previously included in any of Smith's books, make The Last Oblivion a must for Smith devotees. Two full-color illustrations by Clark Ashton Smith and an exhaustive glossary of unusual words and names used in Smith's poetry enhance the volume.

30 review for The Last Oblivion: Best Fantastic Poetry of Clark Ashton Smith

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ryan McCarthy

    Most people will have heard about Clark Ashton Smith, if at all, because of his tales, and he's generally considered along with HP Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard to be a paragon of the weird tale genre. Much of his poetry shares the themes of that genre, but one could also say that these themes carry over from Romanticism and Symbolism, and Smith is very much a latter-day American Symbolist, but who imbues this tradition with his own cosmicism. In fact, prior to Modernism, much of English poetry Most people will have heard about Clark Ashton Smith, if at all, because of his tales, and he's generally considered along with HP Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard to be a paragon of the weird tale genre. Much of his poetry shares the themes of that genre, but one could also say that these themes carry over from Romanticism and Symbolism, and Smith is very much a latter-day American Symbolist, but who imbues this tradition with his own cosmicism. In fact, prior to Modernism, much of English poetry was fantastic- one need only mention works like Paradise Lost, the Faerie Queene, or a Midsummer Night's Dream. It's only after convulsive imagination and elevated language were deprecated by the likes of Pound, Eliot, and Frost that poetry like Smith's appears locked in a genre to the popular mind. Baudelaire, Verlaine, Poe, Shelley, and Milton all show their influences in Smith's verse, which bears the same decadent and sensuous proclivities one finds in his stories, in language, imagery, and outlook. The themes tend to be cosmic, hedonistic, and pessimistic- at times one feels Omar Khayyam's sensibilities writ large over a dying universe populated by warring gods and mythic beasts, and unearthly, forbidden pleasures. Some of the poems, particularly from his younger years, have amateurish qualities, and Smith's delight in arcane or exotic words might seem quaint or frustrating to some readers. Still, I highly recommend this volume not only to readers of weird fiction, but anyone with a taste for florid, imaginative poetry.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zac Hawkins

    Reads like a hymn book of an entirely alien culture, been immersing myself slowly into the vast body of Ashton-Smiths work and his fantastical elements melding with the weird makes for something truly special, and I'm excited to read more of his short prose. Reads like a hymn book of an entirely alien culture, been immersing myself slowly into the vast body of Ashton-Smiths work and his fantastical elements melding with the weird makes for something truly special, and I'm excited to read more of his short prose.

  3. 5 out of 5

    GORDON

    The nadir of the nacre of tales and orisons around necrous, cities, civilizations and lives by the raconteur terrible of the Lovecraft Circle.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mark Singer

    Excellent collection of the better poems from the fantasist Clark Ashton Smith. I actually read this several years ago but recently added the book to my Goodreads list, and spent the past several weeks re-reading it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Scarlett

  6. 4 out of 5

    Charles Schneider

  7. 5 out of 5

    Eric Larsen

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mighty

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kip

  10. 4 out of 5

    Roztoxx

  11. 4 out of 5

    John Allen

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  13. 5 out of 5

    AT

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Jerpe

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ian Magee

  16. 5 out of 5

    OTIS

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chris Gruber

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lanny

  20. 4 out of 5

    Thjodbjorn

  21. 4 out of 5

    Moudry

  22. 5 out of 5

    Edward

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Hunter

    I am a great admirer of CAS's short stores, but his poetry is not for me. I am a great admirer of CAS's short stores, but his poetry is not for me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jan

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bokeshi

  26. 5 out of 5

    May Chonchaiya

  27. 4 out of 5

    Keith Thomas

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nick Rowley

  29. 5 out of 5

    Neil B

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brian

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