Wednesday, December 2, 2020

A diversion: CAS on love poems

I've found the love poems of Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) to be something of a mixed bag, so it's interesting to come across the following from a letter* that CAS wrote to August Derleth in 1934, critiquing three poems that Derleth had shared with CAS:

These convey well the effect of emotion on a sensitive nature; and the only objection I can think of is one that applies to nearly all love-poetry: that is to say, the underlying sameness inevitable in the expression of feelings so universal.  But perhaps this is not an objection at all: certainly I know that it isn't to one who is in love: at that time the universal becomes the unique.

CAS wrote quite a lot of love-poetry, so it's fascinating to learn that he well understood the difficulties inherent in working with such a familiar genre.

*See letter #188 in Eccentric, Impractical Devils: The Letters of August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith published by Hippocampus Press.

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