On ‘Dogwood’ Poetry and Its Place Within Weird Fiction

HP Lovecraft, who is, as some of you might have noticed, my self-appointed paragon of literary beauty, tried his hand at poetry only a few times in his tragically cut-short life.  Having read several of these attempts, I can confirm the belief that poetry of prose does not directly correspond with poetry of verse.  Kindle erotica writers, with the help of Sir Mix-A-Lot, might be able to moonlight as lyricists for Nicki Minaj (id est “Anaconda”), but it seems that not all authors are born with the gift of songwriting.  Regardless: it is Lovecraft’s prose, not his verse, that defines the genre of weird fiction (see my thoughts on that here).  Which begs the question, “Does poetry have a place within Lovecraft’s genre?”

I prefer my poetry in forms of Andrea Gibson and Taylor Mali, but I’m into the weirder side of things, too.  And, going back through old copies of the locally (to me) edited, nationally published Dogwood literary magazine, I would argue that “Sea Stories” by Derek Sugamosto (published in Dogwood 2013) and “The Moths” by Jan Bailey (published in Dogwood 2003) would both feel at home, to one extent or another, in a journal of weird (in the Lovecraftian sense) poetry.  To me, at least, it’s about the minuscule details that illuminate the larger concepts: the strands of DNA that house remnants of a long-dead sun.  The best of Lovecraft’s work lingers on each living moment, something that all great fiction should do.  And I suppose the only thing that separates weird fiction from popular fiction is that it gets to the inner workings and the ultimate truths of the universe not through everyday human drama but through celestial geometry and the fever dreams of discarded youth.

So yeah, if you’re into that sort of thing, feel free to join us.  Cthulhu bakes a mean cookie.

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From “To Popularise Literature in the States” by Algernon de Vivier Tassin (1916)

“From a very early date editors had been keenly conscious of the need for variety. The New England Magazine, 1758, price eight pence a number of sixty pages, gave in an advertisement this description of its contents:

CONTAINING AND TO CONTAIN:

Old-fashioned writing and Select Essays,

Queer Notions, Useful Hints, Extracts from Plays;

Relations Wonderful and Psalm and Song,

Good Sense, Wit, Humour, Morals, all ding dong;

Poems and Speeches, Politicks, and News,

What Some will like and others Some refuse;

Births, Deaths, and Dreams, and Apparitions, Too;

With some Thing suited to each different Geu (gout?)

To Humour Him, and Her, and Me, and You.”

Here’s hoping that this is a set of guidelines for future posts.

For further reading on the value of creative mish-mash and seemingly structureless variety, take a glance in this direction.