Letter to H. P. Lovecraft

From Clark Ashton Smith

[1] [20 March 1928]

Dear H.P.L. :

[. . .]

I am sorry your revisory work ties you down so much, and gives you so little time for creative effort, But I know how it is, all too well: my translations are about all that I succeed in keeping up with, and of late, I have felt so jaded that the quality — if not the quantity — of there is hardly up to the mark. I enclose ten or a dozen more, but have no spare copies at present of some that you might like, such as "Le Voyage", I have made drafts of nearly 130 out of 157 poems in Les Fleurs[1] to date, and could pick out enough passable ones — seventy or eighty perhaps — for a volume. All of them have been done since the end of December, which goes to show what system and regular application will accomplish.

[. . .] I have some ideas for weird stories, and will try to work them out at the first opportunity. I think of utilizing the local milieu — one of my conceptions concerns a man who takes a stroll on Boulder Ridge, the long, rambling, volcanic moraine on which I live, and suddenly finds that he has lost his way, and is wandering in a strange nightmare country, that affords all manner of discomforting and disagreeable scenes and incidents. [2]

[. . .]

Galpin [3] returned the French poems to me some time ago, with many helpful and illuminating criticisms. I think I'll be able to write some passable alexandrines now! [. . .]

As ever,
Your friend,


  1. Les Fleurs du mal (1857), a collection of poems by Charles Baudelaire. Three of Smith's translations from this volume appear in The Flowers of Evil, published by the Limited Editions club (London, 1940). Other translations from Les Fleurs du mal are included in SW and Selected Poems (1971); however, the majority of Smith's prose translations of Baudelaire's verse remain unpublished.
  2. "The Ninth Skeleton" (Genius Loci (1948)), published in the September 1928 issue of Weird Tales, was based on such a notion. The story was Smith's first fiction-sale to this magazine.
  3. Alfred Galpin, a correspondent of Lovecraft, Galpin had studied music in Paris, and was also a scholar in French literature.

From: Clark Ashton Smith: LETTERS TO H. P. LOVECRAFT, edited by and footnotes by Steve Behrends (July 1987) Necronomicon Press.

Printed from: www.eldritchdark.com/writings/correspondence/11
Printed on: December 18, 2018