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NEW BOOK (forthcoming from Hippocampus): David Park Barnitz's "Book of Jade"
Posted by: Mikeabo123 (IP Logged)
Date: 18 August, 2014 02:12PM

Dear CAS aficionados:

I am currently at work on a new edition of Park Barnitz's legendary (and mostly obscure) Book of Jade, a volume of unrelentingly morbid and nihilistic verse that CAS, HPL and co. were very fond of. Written when Barnitz was still a student at Harvard, and published shortly before his death in 1901 when he was in his early 20s, the Book of Jade has remained un-reprinted save for one edition, now prohibitively expensive and nearly as rare as the original, by David Tibet's Coptic Cat Press.

This volume will include newly-discovered essays by Barnitz, contemporary reviews of the BOJ, and a selection of critical essays that touch on everything from DPB's excoriation of Rudyard Kipling to his relationship with Hegelianism and pessimistic philosophy.

I am actively seeking new submissions of a scholarly bent concerning any facet of DPB's poetry or life. Interested parties are free to e-mail me with proposals for essays of any length.

Thank you!

Yours sincerely,
Michael Abolafia

Re: NEW BOOK (forthcoming from Hippocampus): David Park Barnitz's "Book of Jade"
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 18 August, 2014 05:28PM
I am greatly indebted to you for the loan of the Book of Jade, which I will return in a week or two. You are right about the mortuary poems being the best: some of them, such as the "Sonnet of the Instruments of Death," "Sepulchral Life" etc. are truly impressive, and, it seems to me, very original. There is a tremendous idea in the "Grotesques," also, in the second of the "Fragments." In the first section, the sonnet "Ennui" impressed me as being perhaps the best, or at least, the most perfect. Ennui and sheer corruption are both extremely difficult subjects to handle. I f I am ever in a position to edit an anthology, I will certainly include at least half-a-dozen if these poems.
Clark Ashton Smith to Donald Wandrei, 10 July 1925 (from Selected Letters of Clark Ashton Smith 78)

Did you ever see "The Book of Jade?" An admirer in Milwaukee has loaned me a copy of it. Aout half the poems are based on the idea that everything and everyone is dead and rotten! Some of them are very good, though it's not easy to make much out of sheer corruption, in poetry.
Clark Ashton Smith to George Sterling, 2 August 1925 (from Letters: George Sterling and Clark Ashton Smith 255)

I never read the "Book of Jade," but have seen some of its contents quoted and have heard it's author described--six feet high and weighing 110! The poor chap committed suicide at last. An imagination like his couldn't have been an agreeable guest.
George Sterling to Clark Ashton Smith, 29 September 1925 (from Letters: George Sterling and Clark Ashton Smith 257)

Re: NEW BOOK (forthcoming from Hippocampus): David Park Barnitz's "Book of Jade"
Posted by: cataclib (IP Logged)
Date: 30 August, 2014 07:59AM
I'm very hapy to learn that!

Speaking of obscure and decadent forgotten poets, another one who deserves at least as much attention as Barnitz is Count Stenbock.

His complete works in poetry was very rare and extremely expensive, but a new edition of all his poems are to be republished soon thanks to the effort of David Tibet (see coptic cat website for info).

Wikipedia entry

strange flowers


“Music and Sleep are one, and Love and Death
Are even as their brethren - let us die -
Or let me sleep where thou canst play to me,
Let thy violin-like voice flow over me,
Like oil poured forth upon the savage waves
That beat upon the prow of a dark ship
Which bears a load of shadows of despair.”
— Count Stanislaus Eric Stenbock


How sweet it is to fall -
Waters of grey, green, blue!
Walled with a yielding wall
Your liquid crystal through -
Here no foot may pursue,
Tho’ voices afar may call -
- Voices afar are few -
Sleep is the best of all.

World of wormwood and gall,
Whose myrtle is only rue,
Give me the cypress tall,
And moon-thrown shadows of yew.
Let weeping winters strew
Snow on my bed for a pall -
- This thing alone is true -
Sleep is the best of all.

Sweet - how I dream of you!
Do you dream of me at all? -
If you did, would you say too?
Sleep is the best of all.


It seemed, some halo of the moon,
Which lambent, carmine shadows threw;
The disc was wholly silver soon
Encircled with a ring of blue.

And in that silvern heart of space,
Slowly an image did arise,
Thy strange dark hair, thy strange pale face,
And thine unfathomable eyes."


Darling, would you be sorry
If you knew that I were dead?
Who loved you above all things,
Though never word I said.

Did you know dear, that I loved you?
One day your look was kind,
And one day - oh, so sad, love!
Were I dead, dear, would you mind?


Sleep on, my poor child, sleep;
Why must thou wake again?
Thou art but born into a world of woe,
Of agony, unending, deep,
Of long-protracted pain.

Wert though not born with tears and travail?
Thy first cry was a wail;
Life is a mystery strange and sad,
A wondrous riddle to unravel,
But who shall lift the veil?

‘Sleep on, my poor child, sleep,
Sleep on,’ the mother said.
‘I will sit here and weep.’
She looked on her child asleep,
And saw that the child was dead:
”Tis well,’ the mother said.

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