New York: Hippocampus Press, 2012; $75.00 hc in 3 volumes; 1284 pages
Volume One: The Abyss Triumphant
Volume Two: The Wine of Summer
Volume Three: The Flowers of Evil and Others
The way to review something as massive as The Complete Poetry and Translations by Clark Ashton Smith is to just stop and force yourself to do it. There are hundreds of poems here, many of them previously unpublished, not even counting the translations from French and Spanish poetry, and it would take years to truly master all of them. You could find yourself dipping in and discovering something new indefinitely and never get around to writing the review.
First, let me say that this paperback edition is an event of considerable importance. Inasmuch as Clark Ashton Smith, the noted Weird Tales author and colleague of H.P. Lovecraft, can be accounted a major American poet, it is impossible to exaggerate how important this edition is. It makes Smith’s poetic oeuvre available for the first time ever. Before this in 2002, Hippocampus (and the same editors) brought out a much smaller collection of the best fantastic poems of Smith, called The Last Oblivion (hopefully not a prophetic title), which on a smaller scale made Smith’s poetry available to the general reader for the first time.