Sunday, August 12, 2018

To George Sterling

Read "To George Sterling" at The Eldritch Dark:

This brings us to an interesting phase of Clark Ashton Smith's (CAS) career, as the poet George Sterling proved to be a huge influence on his own writing.  So much so that this is just one of several poems that CAS wrote with the exact same title.  

This specific poem was written prior to CAS coming into contact with Sterling himself, although that would change soon, initially via mail correspondence and later via face-to-face meetings.  

I believe that CAS discovered Sterling through the latter's "A Wine of Wizardry", which is quite something in itself and well worth reading:

However, my focus is on "To George Sterling", and it's interesting how CAS pays tribute to the older poet here (right off the bat he's described as a "High priest") while identifying himself as a humble but worthy acolyte:

Mayhap the note that I have sung,
          Obedient to the Muse's call,
          Is not in vain; the coronal

Of fragile flowers not voidly flung.

CAS may have been as young as seventeen when he wrote "To George Sterling", and it's had to ignore his confidence.  He's not exactly equating his poetic powers to those of Sterling, but certainly indicating that he's trying to make his music in the same register.

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