Thursday, May 05, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing a Day No.126: The Fungi from Yuggoth & Other Poems

We've visited Lovecraft's The Fungi from Yuggoth sonnet cycle once before in audio format - indeed, weird poetry seems to me to be best enjoyed via an aural medium (although I'm less a fan of audiobooks). In any case, Fungi is, in my opinion, the masterwork of weird/cosmic verse, and this is one instance where Lovecaft's poetry outstrips that of Poe. It also remains my favourite of Lovecraft's works. My first encounter with some of the Fungi sonnets were as chapter headings to L. Sprague de Camp's biography of HPL; I later picked up the complete cycle by way of the Necronomicon Press' chapbook edition (which I'm currently unable to locate, so it may make an appearance at a later date). More recently I picked up the volume presented here, with Frank Utpatel's illustrations. A new edition, illustrated by Jason Eckhardt, is also on its way from Hippocampus Press.

By way of a short review, The Fungi from Yuggoth spans the entire scope of the Lovecraftian ouevre, from whistful, dreamlike scenes of exotic wonder to the stark nihilism of Lovecraft's trademark cosmic horror. Throughout all of this, though, a very Lovecraftian exploration of landscape and architecture - presented primarily as sources of 'adventurous expectancy' - operates as a unifying aesthetic, often around themes of loss and longing (the sonnet entitled 'Evening Star' I find almost heartbreaking). In this respect, of all of Lovecraft's work, I also find this to be his most personal.

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