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Poet Robert Nelson "Under the Tomb"
Posted by: mikehunchback (IP Logged)
Date: 12 August, 2009 10:38AM
Does anyone have any information on young poet Robert Nelson? Robert Weinberg's inclusion of his poem (as well as Mr. Weinberg's blurb on him) in the FAR BELOW anthology is intriguing. Here are both for those who haven't read it, pick up a copy of FAR BELOW for more incredible Weird Tales curios.

Robert Nelson was a young Illinois fan of WEIRD TALES who had several unusual poems published in the magazine before his untimely death at the age of seventeen. Farnsworth Wright thought very highly of his work, all of which has remained unprinted until now.

UNDER THE TOMB
Robert Nelson

Dread beings grope and sport in gory lakes,
A foul mist creeps and feeds on swollen slugs:
From beds of perfumed plants squirm fetid snakes,
And like a flower grown from sable drugs,
A moon of steel drips blood upon a sky
Darkened by what mad phantoms prophesy.

By this hath ceased and passed, and now in that
Mephitic, crumbling woodland 'neath the tomb
The dead sup with the dead o'er flowing vat,
And searing candles cleanse the rotting gloom;
And they who stood in sorrow's joy and pain,
Tread now through hell's ecstatical refrain.

Far still beneath, where bloated babes are kept
In glacial rooms, and skulls are lit as lamps
To guide through life beyond, and where are swept
Green veils of oozing slime and deadly damps,
There is an everlasting resonance
Pealed by the tomb in glad deliverance.

Re: Poet Robert Nelson "Under the Tomb"
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 12 August, 2009 12:17PM
I bet something was troubling the young man.

Re: Poet Robert Nelson "Under the Tomb"
Posted by: Scott Connors (IP Logged)
Date: 13 August, 2009 07:01PM
He killed himself. He corresponded briefly with Lovecraft and CAS.

Scott

Re: Poet Robert Nelson "Under the Tomb"
Posted by: walrus (IP Logged)
Date: 4 April, 2012 03:19PM
Scott Connors Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> He killed himself. He corresponded briefly with Lovecraft and CAS.

Scott, where did you learn that he killed himself? In letters HPL seems to refer to a quick illness, e.g. Letters to Robert Bloch (supplement), p. 14. And I hear that he possibly mentions tuberculosis in correspondence with Duane Rimel. Illinois death records give Nelson's place of death as Elgin (while the 1930 census has him in the nearby St. Charles, IL, where he was buried three days later according the same records) -- this might indicate that he was hospitalised in Elgin. Yet in O Fortunate Floridian his death on 22 July 1935 is noted as a suicide by the editors. Well, I guess I could ask Schultz about that...

Lovecraft mentions an obituary having appeared in some fanzine in his reply to Nelson's mother, does anyone know what exact venue that was? Phantagraph?

(Bringing up this old thread since HPL's letters to Nelson have just surface on eBay.)

Juha-Matti

Re: Poet Robert Nelson "Under the Tomb"
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 4 April, 2012 06:27PM
HPL's letters to Nelson have been posted at ye Lovecraft eZine.

"I'm a little girl."
--H. P. Lovecraft, Esq.

Re: Poet Robert Nelson "Under the Tomb"
Posted by: Scott Connors (IP Logged)
Date: 4 April, 2012 09:15PM
Farnsworth Wright (who had met Nelson when the latter visited his offices) reacts to Nelson's suicide in a letter to CAS that I have a copy of. Unfortunately, I'm in the midst of a move and can't get to it just yet.

Scott

Re: Poet Robert Nelson "Under the Tomb"
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 4 April, 2012 11:30PM
It's strange how the fate of some writers, especially those who die so young, can affect one. Perhaps this is especially true for me because my boyfriend died in my arms after snorting street smack, and he was one of the most brilliant, authentic poets I have ever known. Bobby Barlow and his fate affects me the same way. I feel tugged emotionally and aesthetically by their tragick early demise. I shall spend tonight writing a poetic vignette in memory of Robert Nelson and send it to ye Lovecraft eZine.

"I'm a little girl."
--H. P. Lovecraft, Esq.

Re: Poet Robert Nelson "Under the Tomb"
Posted by: walrus (IP Logged)
Date: 5 April, 2012 10:50AM
Scott Connors Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Farnsworth Wright (who had met Nelson when the latter visited his offices) reacts to Nelson's suicide in a letter to CAS that I have a copy of.

So that's where it comes from. I'd be much obliged if you can at some later point uncover that letter (I'm trying to round up the facts -- what little there is -- about Nelson for use in the EOD, and later elsewhere). If Nelson actually died of illness as Lovecraft tells his correspondents, it might be good to set the record straight. I wonder how Wright came by that information, almost surely, I would think, not from Nelson's parents (Elmer and Ella Nelson) who evidently told Barlow and Lovecraft that he died after an illness of "seventeen days".

JM

Re: Poet Robert Nelson "Under the Tomb"
Posted by: OConnor,CD (IP Logged)
Date: 11 April, 2012 11:20AM
Walrus,
I'd be happy to supply you with a copy of both Lovecraft's letter to Robert Nelson's mother and the legible type written version. I posses a copy of them both. Will tonight be alright? Just click my name and my email should be posted. I would do it right now but don't know if posting it here on the board will invoke trouble on my end. But from what I read it was indeed suicide. At least, that's what HPL says. He heard it from R.H. Barlow. Email me or comment back if this sounds good.

-O'Connor,CD

Re: Poet Robert Nelson "Under the Tomb"
Posted by: OConnor,CD (IP Logged)
Date: 11 April, 2012 11:22AM
Which e-zine was that my friend? Can I locate it online?

Re: Poet Robert Nelson "Under the Tomb"
Posted by: walrus (IP Logged)
Date: 11 April, 2012 01:11PM
OConnor,CD Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Which e-zine was that my friend? Can I locate it online?

I think this is the e-zine in question: [lovecraftzine.com]

In fact I cannot see your email address from the profile link. But I set my own email as visible in my profile. So is this a different letter than the one which was sold on eBay just before the four letters to Robert Nelson himself, that you are referring to? (In an unpublished letter to Duane Rimel HPL repeats the same statement as to Bloch about Nelson having died after "an illness of 17 days".)

By the way, I don't suppose ayone knows what the fanzine was that according to Lovecraft "printed a brief notice" of the passing?

Juha-Matti

Re: Poet Robert Nelson "Under the Tomb"
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 17 June, 2012 10:05AM
Douglas Anderson has published a small collection of Nelson's poems: [www.nodensbooks.com]

Re: Poet Robert Nelson "Under the Tomb"
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 17 June, 2012 12:43PM
Yeehaw! Just order'd it on Amazon! Very excited to read this wee collection.

"I'm a little girl."
--H. P. Lovecraft, Esq.

Re: Poet Robert Nelson "Under the Tomb"
Posted by: walrus (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2012 04:02PM
I recently noticed that in The Weird Tales Story, Robet Weinberg quotes Farnsworth Wright's Eyrie notice of the death of Nelson, from the November 1935 WT:

"Once again it becomes our sad duty to record the death of a valuable contributor. Robert Nelson died at his home in St. Charles, Illinois, after two weeks' illness. Though he was a young man in his early twenties, he had developed a deep poetic feeling and a keen sensitivity to the overtones and undertones of words. He received his first encouragement from no less a poet than Clark Ashton Smith himself. His work gave clear promise that he would some day occupy an important place among the great poets; a promise, that now, alas!--can never be fulfilled."

Essentially the same facts (?) as Lovecraft related to his correspondents. (But as I said above, Illinois death records have Nelson's place of death as Elgin, not St. Charles.)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 19 Jun 12 | 04:03PM by walrus.

Re: Poet Robert Nelson "Under the Tomb"
Posted by: OConnor,CD (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2012 10:48PM
Is there any way to learn more about this fascinating young Robert Nelson? I assume not, right?



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