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Monday, May 08, 2006

Donald Sidney-Fryer reads the poetry of George Sterling




Donald Sidney-Fryer returns to The Book Collector on Sunday, May 14th to read the Poetry of George Sterling from a recently released Sterling collection of writings titled The Thirst of Satan.

Donald Sidney-Fryer is the last in this great line of poets and writers that reaches from Ambrose Bierce to George Sterling and Nora May French, from Sterling to his protigi Clark Ashton Smith, and from Smith to his pupil Sidney-Fryer. Carrying on the tradition of "pure poetry" of Keats and Shelley long after it was abandoned by the mainstream poetry establishment, the California Romantics created two monuments in verse in Sterling's epic A Wine of Wizardry and Smith's even more astonishing The Hashish-Eater.

Specialist of mediaeval romance and epic poem, Donald Sidney-Fryer has interested himself in this poetic genre not only as people practised it in the 12th and 13th centuries but also as they have continued to practise it over the course of the centuries following, and as such modern poets as the California Romantics have understood how to renew it at the beginning of the 20th
century.

Donald Sidney-Fryer has edited Clark Ashton Smith's Selected Poems as well as Smith's story collections Other Dimensions, The City of the Singing Flame, The Monster of the Prophecy and The Last Incantation. Sidney-Fryer also assembled the mordant horror and fantasy poetry of Ambrose Bierce under the title A Vision of Doom.

His own first collection of verse, Songs and Sonnets Atlantean, was the final book to appear from Arkham House (originally dedicated to publishing the works of Howard Phillips Lovecraft) under the personal supervision of that press's founder, August Derleth, one of the many people in the related arena of horror literature that Sidney-Fryer has known over the years.

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George Sterling was the pupil of Ambrose Bierce and the mentor of Clark Ashton Smith, Sterling achieved early fame with such cosmic poems as The Testimony of the Suns and A Wine of Wizardry. But these two works are just the most celebrated of many poems of fantasy and terror written by Sterling over a career that spanned three decades. His latest collection, The Thirst of Satan, the first selection of Sterling's verse in more than thrity years, will demonstrate why Sterling was so revered by Bierce, Theodore Dreiser, H.L. Mencken, and especially Clark Ashton Smith.

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