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CAS' poem "Dominion"
Posted by: Oldjoe (IP Logged)
Date: 8 August, 2020 11:43AM
I've been reading through CAS' collected poetry on a more-or-less "poem a day" schedule. Today's selection was "Dominion", which of course is available right here on The Eldritch Dark:

[www.eldritchdark.com]

It appears to me that the subject of the poem is the Greek goddess Demeter. Although she is most strongly associated with agriculture, she also was linked to the underworld and a cult of the dead.

I'd be curious if any participants in this forum have a different interpretation of this poem? Either way, I think it's one of CAS' better poems, and well worth a read.

I wrote also about this poem on my blog:

[www.desertdweller.net]

Re: CAS' poem "Dominion"
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 9 August, 2020 12:37AM
What a splendid idea. It's rare finding discussions on CAS's individual poems, so your blog is most interesting! Actually, I'm both shocked and disappointed in myself realizing you've been at this for some time, because I've been looking for something like this! I wonder if more people here would be interested in discussing his poems individually?

As to the poem at hand, I was surprised you saw Demeter in it, but based on the chthonic imagery, the mention of furrows, and CAS's penchant for Greek mythological references, this makes much sense to me. Her daughter, the goddess Persephone, is likewise linked with fertility and the underworld, even serving as a chief deity of ancient Greek necromancers.

When reading this poem, I didn't think of any specific goddess, but I did sense this was about a muse whose existence inspired profound feelings and ideas in men, especially of an occult and otherworldly nature. Perhaps this was a woman CAS had been wooing, or had profound memories of. A woman clueless of her effect on his being?



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 9 Aug 20 | 12:48AM by Hespire.

Re: CAS' poem "Dominion"
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 9 August, 2020 02:29AM
Also, I wasn't sure if you would be notified of this on your blog, but I posted a comment on your page regarding Smith's "A Dream of Vathek", asking if there is any means of reading the entire poem online, or of you sharing it somewhere somehow. As an admirer of both CAS and Beckford, I'd love to read the thing in its entirety, even if it's just juvenilia.

Re: CAS' poem "Dominion"
Posted by: Oldjoe (IP Logged)
Date: 9 August, 2020 11:23AM
Hespire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What a splendid idea. It's rare finding
> discussions on CAS's individual poems, so your
> blog is most interesting! Actually, I'm both
> shocked and disappointed in myself realizing
> you've been at this for some time, because I've
> been looking for something like this! I wonder if
> more people here would be interested in discussing
> his poems individually?
>
> As to the poem at hand, I was surprised you saw
> Demeter in it, but based on the chthonic imagery,
> the mention of furrows, and CAS's penchant for
> Greek mythological references, this makes much
> sense to me. Her daughter, the goddess Persephone,
> is likewise linked with fertility and the
> underworld, even serving as a chief deity of
> ancient Greek necromancers.
>
> When reading this poem, I didn't think of any
> specific goddess, but I did sense this was about a
> muse whose existence inspired profound feelings
> and ideas in men, especially of an occult and
> otherworldly nature. Perhaps this was a woman CAS
> had been wooing, or had profound memories of. A
> woman clueless of her effect on his being?

I love the idea of discussing CAS' poems individually, or at least a selection of his poems that seem to merit further analysis and discussion. Perhaps we could start such a discussion group right here in the forums on The Eldritch Dark?

And I am quite persuaded by your notion that in the poem "Dominion", CAS may not be addressing a specific goddess, but rather drawing on mythological associations to speak of an earthy muse, someone of CAS' own acquaintance. That's a compelling idea, and certainly lends the poem an even more dramatic reading, wherein CAS weaves a mythological and occult tapestry around a woman who had some sort of profound impact on him.

Re: CAS' poem "Dominion"
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 9 August, 2020 01:15PM
An entire thread for discussing Smith's poems would be most welcome, but only if one or two other members would be interested! This is a rather slow website, like the lonely haunted tombs Smith would have described, so I'm not sure how much activity there would be.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 9 Aug 20 | 01:18PM by Hespire.

Re: CAS' poem "Dominion"
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 10 August, 2020 05:23PM
An entire general thread for discussing Smith's poems, would be welcome and interesting. I read all of his Selected Poems, and was very impressed. But some poems passed over my head, and I have never before been so obviously and at the same time bafflingly confronted with another man's towering cosmic intelligence, compared to my own. I felt very small on those occasions. Also I am not familiar enough with the Age of Fable and Classic Mythology, to get a smooth deep reading of the poems that use such references.
It would be curious to take part of other readers' interpretations.

Re: CAS' poem "Dominion"
Posted by: Oldjoe (IP Logged)
Date: 11 August, 2020 10:13AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> An entire general thread for discussing Smith's
> poems, would be welcome and interesting. I read
> all of his Selected Poems, and was very impressed.
> But some poems passed over my head, and I have
> never before been so obviously and at the same
> time bafflingly confronted with another man's
> towering cosmic intelligence, compared to my own.
> I felt very small on those occasions. Also I am
> not familiar enough with the Age of Fable and
> Classic Mythology, to get a smooth deep reading of
> the poems that use such references.
> It would be curious to take part of other readers'
> interpretations.

It sounds like we may have a few forum members interested in discussing CAS' poetry. Perhaps we could pick a poem to start with. Any suggestions for a specific poem that would be of interest? I'll nominate "To the Nightshade", but I'd be happy to start with any of his poems!

[www.eldritchdark.com]

I'm thinking we can start a new forum thread on this topic once we decide where we want to start :)

Re: CAS' poem "Dominion"
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 11 August, 2020 12:16PM
Oldjoe Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> I'm thinking we can start a new forum thread on
> this topic once we decide where we want to start
> :)

The person who starts the thread, gets first pick. :) If no one responds, it continues to flow from there.

I will be interested to read, but doubt I can contribute much of value. Some specific poems may spark my fire, so I likely blurt out unqualified, or even extraneous, but still enthusiastic sputterings.

What is an appropriate, open-ended title for the thread? Simply "The poems of Clark Ashton Smith", or "A closer look at the poems of Clark Ashton Smith", or ...

Re: CAS' poem "Dominion"
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 11 August, 2020 12:45PM
I was tempted to write a thread with the title "The Scant Gold I Bring", in honor of OldJoe's blog (and also to spread a little awareness of it), but anything will do! I think "Closer Look..." makes it clear we are delving into the poems, and not merely approaching his poetry broadly.

As to the matter of participation, it can't be such a bad thing to make enthusiastic sputterings, though I must admit I'm also not qualified to rightfully analyze poetry. When I comment on OldJoe's blog posts, I have very little to say in terms of poetic quality, but I enjoy discussing the images, symbols, atmosphere, execution, ideas, etc. Although if that is not what we are looking for I will gladly try to up my game.

"To The Nightshade" sounds like a great start, and I personally vote for it, as it's been one of my favorite CAS poems for years now.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11 Aug 20 | 12:55PM by Hespire.



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