A Previously Unknown Biographical Sketch of Clark Ashton Smith


[The following first appeared in Principal Poets of the World, Volume I (1930-31) (London: The Mitre Press, 1932), p. 182]

SMITH, Clark Ashton, born January 13th, 1893, in Long Valley, California, USA, of Anglo-American parentage. American nationality. Is largely self-educated. In addition to poetry, he has written prose fiction, and has made translations from the French, both in prose and verse. He is also an artist, and has done numerous paintings and drawings, which have been exhibited in San Francisco and New York. He began to write at an early age, and his first volume of verse, The Star-Treader, was published when he was nineteen. At present he is particularly interested in short-story writing, and is contributing to several fiction magazines. Whatever the medium in which he works, his interests and endeavors are toward the purely imaginative rather than the realistic. He is unmarried, and has led an outwardly uneventful life. Address: Auburn, California, U.S.A.


Love, will you look with me
Upon the phosphor-litten labour of the worm—
Time's minister, who toils for his appointed term,
And has for fee
All superannuate loves, and all the loves to be?

Love, can you see, as I,
The corpses, ghosts and demons mingled with the crowd?
The djinns that men have freed, grown turbulent and proud;
Alastor, Asmodai?
And all-unheeded envoys from the stars on high?

Know you the gulfs below,
Where darkling Erebus is driven
Between the molecules–atom from atom riven,
And tossing to and fro,
Incessant, like the souls on Dante's wind of woe?

Know you the deeps above?
The terror and the vertigo of those who gaze too long
Upon the crystal skies unclouded? Are you strong
With me to prove
Even in thought or dream the dreadful pits above?

Know you the gulfs within?
The worms and dragons of the charnal caves undared?1
The sombre foam of seas by cryptic sirens shared?
The pestilence and sin
Borne by the flapping shrouds of liches met within?

From "Sandalwood." Also published in "Weird Tales."


The Star-Trader [sic] (A. M. Robertson, 1912);
Odes and Sonnets (Book Club of California, 1918);
Ebony and Crystal (Journal Press, 1922);
Sandalwood (Journal Press, 1925).

Contributor to:

London Academy, London Mercury, Munsey's Magazine, Town Talk, Bohemia, Overland Monthly, Lyric West, Smart Set, The Sonnet, Thrill Book, Midland Magazine, Troubadour, Aria, Poetry, Tom-Tom, The Buccaneer, Weird Tales, Oriental Stories, Yale Review, Pearson's Magazine, The Measure, The Recluse, Art World, Bookfellow, Ainslee's.


Continent's End (Book Club of California).

Source: Continuity (Scott Connors)

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