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A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: OConnor,CD (IP Logged)
Date: 12 July, 2012 01:01PM
The little voices of art, those you won't find on the best sellers list and must traverse parched lands to find, while the sun scorches your face and every bone in your body aches, is sometimes the most rewarding. They can teach you more than popular artists. This idea came to me after previewing the forward to Robert Nelson's book, which I intend to purchase soon. What a wonderful young man! In his own way he has touched me, like R.H. Barlow, to continue. Artists must have mental nourishment to survive and Mr. Nelson is indeed that. I sure hope he is gazing down upon us in Kadath, smiling and at peace, realizing his efforts weren't in vain. Below is the link to him and his family's grave markers. I hope anyone who views this link will be inspired to live their dream. And please post your thoughts. Too many times writers clash. We must cease this juvenile behavior and help each other out. :)

[desturmobed.blogspot.com]

Re: A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 9 August, 2012 01:52AM
I love the volume of Robert Nelson's poetry that I obtain'd at Amazon, and I wish I knew more about the lad himself. How frightfully young he was when he ended his life. Oft times, there is a genius in youth that burns out after mid-life. I think I am especially tugged by domed young artists because of an ex-boyfriend, who was the most authentic poet I have ever encountered and who died in my arms at age twenty-eight. Life, and drug addiction, were already crucifying his poetic talents; but he had, in his early twenties, a rare poetic genius that sometimes made me reflect on Rimbaud and the work that the very young Clark Ashton Smith accomplished.

The nourishment we need to continue as artists, for me, is Art herself. There is immortality in Art. I feel the presence of H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith with far more intensity--and with a kind of intimacy--than I do most of the people I meet in this lurid modern world. Lovecraft is a vital friend with whom I can now not live without. Lovecraft's art has such depths, I discover more and more aspects of wonder in it the deeper I explore it; & then I read the critical works of such amazing geniuses as S. T. Joshi and Robert H. Waugh, and they open up portals of understand, of intellectual and artistic discoveries, that I could never locate on my clumsy own.

Art! I now live solely and completely in its holy realm.

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

Re: A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 13 November, 2012 05:30PM
Speaking of Barlow, I picked up an old copy of Katunob(No. 16, 1981, University of Northern Colorado), a Mexican anthropology journal, which deals with him. It has a pic of Barlow from 1950 taken by James Forster [www.facebook.com] , and some amusing anecdotes about him during his Activist poet/pre-anthropology-period, by poetess Jeanne Hart:

"Since I was one of the three original Activists, and Barlow joined us not long after, I knew him very well, and have many memories of a Barlow possibly quite different from the Barlow that you knew: Barlow rattling a popcorn sack to show disapproval of what was being said in the first class he wandered into: coming back next time with a very funny burlesque of modernist work: coming back yet again with a serious poem done with much wilder romantic imagery than any he had disapproved of: Barlow being driven home from a class, pretending he couldn't find his apartment, and taking us over half of San Francisco hunting: coming to my house in Oakland with a friend, claiming they had invented a new dance routine, and performing it--under my living room rug: Barlow proposing, before a party, to bite a particularly pompous antagonist on the leg, and then horrifying everybody by doing it: Barlow and poet-anthologist Louis Untermeyer (deadly enemies at sight) fighting a duel in somebody's kitchen with an exchange of increasingly bawdy limericks--he could be outrageously funny in those days (but--he was very young then.)" [pp. 15-16]

Re: A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 13 November, 2012 08:08PM
Gavin Callaghan Wrote:hey Gavin, thanks for this - my estimation goes up with anyone who duels with limericks - I once had such an evening with John Ciardi (best translation of Dante), his best: As Mozart composed a Sonata,
His maid bent to straighten her garter,
He wrote down with sighs
as he glanced up her thighs,
"Un poco piu appassionata!" -
My response:
When Bach was a lad of just twenty,
The women that he knew were plenty,
E'en if they were Gorgons,
He'd play on their organs,
Staccato, Adagio, then Lenti -
I think he won - but then we were friends - Hmmm wonder why Barlow didn't like old Louie?
-------------------------------------------------------
> Speaking of Barlow, I picked up an old copy of
> Katunob(No. 16, 1981, University of Northern
> Colorado), a Mexican anthropology journal, which
> deals with him. It has a pic of Barlow from 1950
> taken by James Forster
> [www.facebook.com]
> 7633&set=a.289312334520972.66984.100003266238530&t
> ype=3 , and some amusing anecdotes about him
> during his Activist poet/pre-anthropology-period,
> by poetess Jeanne Hart:
>
> "Since I was one of the three original Activists,
> and Barlow joined us not long after, I knew him
> very well, and have many memories of a Barlow
> possibly quite different from the Barlow that you
> knew: Barlow rattling a popcorn sack to show
> disapproval of what was being said in the first
> class he wandered into: coming back next time with
> a very funny burlesque of modernist work: coming
> back yet again with a serious poem done with much
> wilder romantic imagery than any he had
> disapproved of: Barlow being driven home from a
> class, pretending he couldn't find his apartment,
> and taking us over half of San Francisco hunting:
> coming to my house in Oakland with a friend,
> claiming they had invented a new dance routine,
> and performing it--under my living room rug:
> Barlow proposing, before a party, to bite a
> particularly pompous antagonist on the leg, and
> then horrifying everybody by doing it: Barlow and
> poet-anthologist Louis Untermeyer (deadly enemies
> at sight) fighting a duel in somebody's kitchen
> with an exchange of increasingly bawdy
> limericks--he could be outrageously funny in those
> days (but--he was very young then.)"

Re: A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 14 November, 2012 06:01PM
calonlan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
Hmmm
> wonder why Barlow didn't like old Louie?

Hate at first sight?

Re: A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 16 November, 2012 12:22PM
could be - maybe anti-semitic? - who knows - Louie did a pretty good anthology as I recall

Re: A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: Scott Connors (IP Logged)
Date: 18 November, 2012 02:09PM
Haven't heard anything to suggest that Barlow had any anti-semitic leanings. His dislike of Untermeyer may have been due to the latter's dispargement of the type of poetry that George Sterling and CAS wrote.

Re: A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 18 November, 2012 05:52PM
Scott Connors Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Haven't heard anything to suggest that Barlow had
> any anti-semitic leanings. His dislike of
> Untermeyer may have been due to the latter's
> dispargement of the type of poetry that George
> Sterling and CAS wrote.


Very likely, none of it showed up in his anthology -

Re: A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 19 November, 2012 05:44PM
What is it about Robert H. Barlow, that is so interesting to some people? I don't understand. What's the deal here? I know he was a correspondent to Lovecraft, and that he took care of some of Lovecraft's manuscripts. Was he a great writer too? I have read two of his collaborations with Lovecraft, "Collapsing Cosmoses" and "The Night Ocean", and they didn't make a very lasting impression on me.

Re: A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 20 November, 2012 05:37AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What is it about Robert H. Barlow, that is so
> interesting to some people?

He died young, and by his own hand. Some people find that sort of thing very romantic.

Re: A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: Chipougne (IP Logged)
Date: 20 November, 2012 06:42AM
Possibly also the fact that Lovecraft considered him a precocious genius and made no mystery about how much he admired him.

Re: A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 20 November, 2012 07:04AM
Without Barlow, there would be no Lovecraft collection at the John Hay Library. He convinced them that HPL was a writer worthy of notice, and donated his own considerable collection of manuscripts.

As a writer, he showed great promise, but he virtually stopped writing fiction when HPL died.

Re: A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: australianreaderdotcom (IP Logged)
Date: 20 November, 2012 07:35AM
Martinus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As a writer, he showed great promise, but he
> virtually stopped writing fiction when HPL died.

In many areas, he fulfilled that promise. He became a successful poet, expanding beyond his earlier reliance on more purely formalist work to a form of modernism that echoed his interest in Mesoamerican cultures. And he has proved a pivotal figure in the study of Indigenous Mexican cultures, reflected in his reputation as a scholar beyond the narrower world of Lovecraft studies.

And there is an area where he has yet to find a place in, queer studies: he has a place there, even if he is being ignored. His biographical pieces on his developing sexuality have been largely ignored by gender theorists, and I suspect that there is an unstated and implicit element of queering in his literary works.

Of course, I am attracted to Barlow both as a fellow poet and a fellow queer writer, hence my interests in him. I can see he has an importance for others beyond my narrow fields, though, and that wider approach to him needs to be both taken and maintained.

Re: A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 20 November, 2012 11:36AM
Myself, I find "The Night Ocean" (which was largely by Barlow himself; Lovecraft's role was much more limited than was thought") a very fine, subtle story. The gradual intimations of the icursion of the unreal, never specified but increasingly felt, is handled with a skill enviable even in a very seasoned writer, let alone someone so young.

"Collapsing Cosmoses" (as with "The Battle That Ended the Century") is, frankly, nothing but a lark. It was intended as a send-up of the space opera of the day, and is openly juvenile both in approach and intent. Some of "The Annals of the Jinn", as I recall, are rather good as well; and some of his verse is very accomplished as well.

If you'd like more information on what it is others see in Barlow as a writer, separate from his role in preserving Lovecraft's work or as a correspondent of Lovecraft, I'd suggest picking up a copy of Massimo Berruti's Dim Remembered Stories, which is a critical analysis of Barlow and his works. I would agree that Barlow didn't realise his full potential as a writer, but what he did accomplish is often quite notable nonetheless.

Re: A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 21 November, 2012 05:35PM
I love Barlow's story "Origin Undetermined." It's one of my favorite weird stories, and indeed strikes me as almost a perfect weird story.

Barlow's biography interests me as part of my larger (and at one time very intense) interest in literary eccentrics.

Re: A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 26 November, 2012 02:46PM
I was quite young when I read "The Night Ocean", before I had learned to appreciate subtle and ambiguous stories, which are spiritual more than material. I found Algernon Blackwood boring at that time too. If I read the story today, I may well appreciate it more.

Re: A sad, beautiful find.
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 26 November, 2012 03:59PM
Such is certainly possible. Trite as it sounds, our tastes grow as we grow.



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