Scott Connors is creating The Necromancer's Song: A Critical Biography of Clark Ashton Smi
27

patrons

$421
per month


     Clark Ashton Smith is one of three writers most associated with Weird Tales magazine, but unlike his friends H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard no full-length biography of him has yet to appear. Part of that is due to the  fact that very little actually happened in his life: he lived most of his life in the small town of Auburn, California, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, and except for a brief excursion to nearby Nevada never left the state. Therefore any biography of Smith must of necessity address his inner life. He spent his entire life caring for his parents, writing first poetry and then short stories, then experimenting with drawing and painting, before finally discovering a talent for carving macabre busts out of the minerals native to the region. Smith was one of those “ultra-romantic minds” described by George Santayana, whose fascination with the infra-natural causes them to “detest [being] caged even in an indefinite world, if there is any order in it.” But during his life he created some memorable poetry as well as over a hundred tales of “inconceivable fear and unimaginable love”  that were polished, ironic, and unabashedly macabre. These have won him a small but appreciative readership that has spread across the world to Finland, Japan, Turkey, Russia, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and other countries.   
      Clark Ashton Smith is not a literary appendix to H. P. Lovecraft. From the latter’s first gushing letter to Smith in 1922—a correspondence that Lovecraft initiated after he was introduced to Smith’s work during a visit to Samuel Loveman—until his death in 1937, Smith was the only writer among his circle of associates that Lovecraft considered to be his peer. Smith was already well known in American and British literary circles long before he began to correspond with Lovecraft. Beginning with his first book of poetry, The Star-Treader and Other Poems (1912), Smith’s work was widely reviewed in both West Coast and East Coast periodicals as well as in Great Britain. Smith was mentored by the poet George Sterling, who was widely regarded as the leader of the San Francisco Bohemians. Smith’s work was read and praised by such figures as Ambrose Bierce, Jack London, Edwin Markham, Arthur Machen, and Vachel Lindsay. The Book Club of California honored him in 1918 by publishing a selection of his work as Odes and Sonnets. By the time that Smith published his second major collection, Ebony and Crystal: Poems in Verse and Prose in 1922, the type of poetry championed by Smith and Sterling had been eclipsed by the Modernist poesy of Harriet Monroe’s Poetry: A Magazine of Verse and Ezra Pound’s Imagists. Yet despite this history, and despite Smith’s recent inclusion in the Penguin Classics (The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies, 2014), there are a mere forty-seven entries for Smith in the Modern Language Association Bibliography, of which all but a handful were published in non-academic journals.
     Publication of a full biography that discusses Smith’s relationship both to literary modernism as well as to the alternate literary modernism espoused by Lovecraft would be a significant step in rectifying this situation, just as interest in Smith’s writings has grown exponentially since his poetry and prose have been brought back into print in standard editions. As Smith himself noted in a letter to an unexpectedly positive reviewer, “Poetry, particularly work like mine, which is so far removed from the everyday interest of the immense bulk of mankind, stands in little danger of being overestimated in these days. Therefore I am so much the more grateful for your appreciation, and desirous of thanking you for it.” It is not expected that Clark Ashton Smith will ever attain the popularity of his two literary comrades, Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, but to paraphrase his poem “The Sorcerer Departs,” we are sure that his volumes and his philtres shall abide. 
     I have been researching Smith's life since my first visit to Auburn in the 1970s, where I met such friends of his as Helen and Marion Sully, Robert B. Elder, Ethel Heiple, Violet Nelson Heyer, John Robinson, etc. Since then I edited or co-edited twelve books by or about Smith, including The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith (five volumes, Night Shade Books); Selected Letters of Clark Ashton Smith (Arkham House); In the Realms of Mystery and Wonder: Collected Prose Poems and Artwork of Clark Ashton Smith (Centipede Press); and The Freedom of Fantastic Things: Selected Essays on Clark Ashton Smith (Hippocampus Press). I have been twice nominated for the International Horror Guild Award and am the receipient of the special Founder's Award of the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon for my scholarship on Smith and other writers. 



"Scott Connors has established himself as the leading authority on Smith,  both in his co-editing of the Collected Fantasies and other volumes and in his trenchant critical and biographical studies, which it is hoped will be melded into a full-length biography." S. T. Joshi, author of I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H. P. Lovecraft.

"Mr. Connors ranks chief among those who have achieved solid work based upon the pioneering scholarship that I did on Ashton Smith during the 1950's and 1960's. Mr. Connors has already produced some ten books related to Ashton Smith and other figures active as writers during the first half and beyond of the 1900;s. These ten books rank high in quality and general accomplishment, as well as in pioneer status." Donald Sidney-Fryer, author of The Golden State Romantics; Emperor of Dreams: A Clark Ashton Smith Bibliography; and editor of Smith's Poems in Prose.

"As a scholar myself, I never cease to be impressed by Scott’s professionalism, meticulous approach, and astonishing command of the most recondite detail of Smith’s literary milieu, works and life, which have provided a rich base for Scott’s prolific output of articles, essays, introductions, and edited books." William A. Dorman, stepson of Clark Ashton Smith and literary executor of Clark Ashton Smith


Tiers
Avoosl Wuthoqquan
$1 or more per month 5 patrons
My sincerest gratitude and thanks, and the knowledge that they made it possible for me to complete the life of Clark Ashton Smith.

Access to my patrons-only feed for news and excerpts posted each month (minimum of three thousand words per month).

Eibon
$5 or more per month 10 patrons
My sincerest gratitude and thanks, and the knowledge that they made it possible for me to complete the life of Clark Ashton Smith.
Access to my patrons-only feed for news and excerpts posted each month (minimum of three thousand words per month).

A signed thank-you card.


Tomb Dweller
$10 or more per month 3 patrons
My sincerest gratitude and thanks, and the knowledge that they made it possible for me to complete the life of Clark Ashton Smith.
Access to my patrons-only feed for news and excerpts posted each month (minimum of three thousand words per month).

A signed thank-you card.
For those who have contributed at this level for at least three months, I will sign up to three copies of my books at a time that you care to send. (You must include return postage.)



Inquisitor Morghi
$25 or more per month 7 patrons
My sincerest gratitude and thanks, and the knowledge that they made it possible for me to complete the life of Clark Ashton Smith.

Access to my patrons-only feed for news and excerpts posted each month (minimum of three thousand words per month).

A signed thank-you card.

For those who have contributed at this level for at least three months, I will sign up to three copies of my books at a time that you care to send. (You must include return postage.)
For those who have contributed at this level for at least six months, I will list your name among the acknowledgements in the completed book.
Those who contribute at this level for at least six months will receive a PDF copy of the completed manuscript or other eBook format.


Outsider
$50 or more per month 0 patrons
My sincerest gratitude and thanks, and the knowledge that they made it possible for me to complete the life of Clark Ashton Smith.

Access to my patrons-only feed for news and excerpts posted each month (minimum of three thousand words per month).

A signed thank-you card.

For those who have contributed at this level for at least three months, I will sign up to three copies of my books at a time that you care to send. (You must include return postage.)

For those who have contributed at this level for at least six months, I will list your name among the acknowledgements in the completed book.

Those who contribute at this level for at least six months will receive a PDF copy of the completed manuscript or other eBook format.
Those who contribute at this level for at least six months will receive an inscribed copy of the published book.


Thaisadon
$100 or more per month 2 patrons
My sincerest gratitude and thanks, and the knowledge that they made it possible for me to complete the life of Clark Ashton Smith.

Access to my patrons-only feed for news and excerpts posted each month (minimum of three thousand words per month).

A signed thank-you card.

For those who have contributed at this level for at least three months, I will sign up to three copies of my books at a time that you care to send. (You must include return postage.)

For those who have contributed at this level for at least six months, I will list your name among the acknowledgements in the completed book.

Those who contribute at this level for at least half of the period before the completion  will receive a PDF copy of the completed manuscript or other eBook format.
Those who contribute at this level for at least six eight months, An inscribed copy of the completed book, plus your name listed on the dedication page.


Goals
$421 of $1,300 per month
I've been researching and writing about Clark Ashton Smith and related writers off and on since the 1970s, but I have always supported myself through my nursing career. A downturn in my health has left me in a precarious situation, but I want to complete my biography of the Emperor of Dreams before the situation becomes too dire. I've completed most of my research (although there are still some things I'd like to check out), and am in the process of actually putting my findings into at least a rough form. $1300 a month will allow me to keep a roof over my head and food on the table so that I write without too much stress making my occassional bouts with the black dog too severe.
1 of 2


     Clark Ashton Smith is one of three writers most associated with Weird Tales magazine, but unlike his friends H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard no full-length biography of him has yet to appear. Part of that is due to the  fact that very little actually happened in his life: he lived most of his life in the small town of Auburn, California, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, and except for a brief excursion to nearby Nevada never left the state. Therefore any biography of Smith must of necessity address his inner life. He spent his entire life caring for his parents, writing first poetry and then short stories, then experimenting with drawing and painting, before finally discovering a talent for carving macabre busts out of the minerals native to the region. Smith was one of those “ultra-romantic minds” described by George Santayana, whose fascination with the infra-natural causes them to “detest [being] caged even in an indefinite world, if there is any order in it.” But during his life he created some memorable poetry as well as over a hundred tales of “inconceivable fear and unimaginable love”  that were polished, ironic, and unabashedly macabre. These have won him a small but appreciative readership that has spread across the world to Finland, Japan, Turkey, Russia, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and other countries.   
      Clark Ashton Smith is not a literary appendix to H. P. Lovecraft. From the latter’s first gushing letter to Smith in 1922—a correspondence that Lovecraft initiated after he was introduced to Smith’s work during a visit to Samuel Loveman—until his death in 1937, Smith was the only writer among his circle of associates that Lovecraft considered to be his peer. Smith was already well known in American and British literary circles long before he began to correspond with Lovecraft. Beginning with his first book of poetry, The Star-Treader and Other Poems (1912), Smith’s work was widely reviewed in both West Coast and East Coast periodicals as well as in Great Britain. Smith was mentored by the poet George Sterling, who was widely regarded as the leader of the San Francisco Bohemians. Smith’s work was read and praised by such figures as Ambrose Bierce, Jack London, Edwin Markham, Arthur Machen, and Vachel Lindsay. The Book Club of California honored him in 1918 by publishing a selection of his work as Odes and Sonnets. By the time that Smith published his second major collection, Ebony and Crystal: Poems in Verse and Prose in 1922, the type of poetry championed by Smith and Sterling had been eclipsed by the Modernist poesy of Harriet Monroe’s Poetry: A Magazine of Verse and Ezra Pound’s Imagists. Yet despite this history, and despite Smith’s recent inclusion in the Penguin Classics (The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies, 2014), there are a mere forty-seven entries for Smith in the Modern Language Association Bibliography, of which all but a handful were published in non-academic journals.
     Publication of a full biography that discusses Smith’s relationship both to literary modernism as well as to the alternate literary modernism espoused by Lovecraft would be a significant step in rectifying this situation, just as interest in Smith’s writings has grown exponentially since his poetry and prose have been brought back into print in standard editions. As Smith himself noted in a letter to an unexpectedly positive reviewer, “Poetry, particularly work like mine, which is so far removed from the everyday interest of the immense bulk of mankind, stands in little danger of being overestimated in these days. Therefore I am so much the more grateful for your appreciation, and desirous of thanking you for it.” It is not expected that Clark Ashton Smith will ever attain the popularity of his two literary comrades, Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, but to paraphrase his poem “The Sorcerer Departs,” we are sure that his volumes and his philtres shall abide. 
     I have been researching Smith's life since my first visit to Auburn in the 1970s, where I met such friends of his as Helen and Marion Sully, Robert B. Elder, Ethel Heiple, Violet Nelson Heyer, John Robinson, etc. Since then I edited or co-edited twelve books by or about Smith, including The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith (five volumes, Night Shade Books); Selected Letters of Clark Ashton Smith (Arkham House); In the Realms of Mystery and Wonder: Collected Prose Poems and Artwork of Clark Ashton Smith (Centipede Press); and The Freedom of Fantastic Things: Selected Essays on Clark Ashton Smith (Hippocampus Press). I have been twice nominated for the International Horror Guild Award and am the receipient of the special Founder's Award of the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon for my scholarship on Smith and other writers. 



"Scott Connors has established himself as the leading authority on Smith,  both in his co-editing of the Collected Fantasies and other volumes and in his trenchant critical and biographical studies, which it is hoped will be melded into a full-length biography." S. T. Joshi, author of I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H. P. Lovecraft.

"Mr. Connors ranks chief among those who have achieved solid work based upon the pioneering scholarship that I did on Ashton Smith during the 1950's and 1960's. Mr. Connors has already produced some ten books related to Ashton Smith and other figures active as writers during the first half and beyond of the 1900;s. These ten books rank high in quality and general accomplishment, as well as in pioneer status." Donald Sidney-Fryer, author of The Golden State Romantics; Emperor of Dreams: A Clark Ashton Smith Bibliography; and editor of Smith's Poems in Prose.

"As a scholar myself, I never cease to be impressed by Scott’s professionalism, meticulous approach, and astonishing command of the most recondite detail of Smith’s literary milieu, works and life, which have provided a rich base for Scott’s prolific output of articles, essays, introductions, and edited books." William A. Dorman, stepson of Clark Ashton Smith and literary executor of Clark Ashton Smith


Recent posts by Scott Connors

Tiers
Avoosl Wuthoqquan
$1 or more per month 5 patrons
My sincerest gratitude and thanks, and the knowledge that they made it possible for me to complete the life of Clark Ashton Smith.

Access to my patrons-only feed for news and excerpts posted each month (minimum of three thousand words per month).

Eibon
$5 or more per month 10 patrons
My sincerest gratitude and thanks, and the knowledge that they made it possible for me to complete the life of Clark Ashton Smith.
Access to my patrons-only feed for news and excerpts posted each month (minimum of three thousand words per month).

A signed thank-you card.


Tomb Dweller
$10 or more per month 3 patrons
My sincerest gratitude and thanks, and the knowledge that they made it possible for me to complete the life of Clark Ashton Smith.
Access to my patrons-only feed for news and excerpts posted each month (minimum of three thousand words per month).

A signed thank-you card.
For those who have contributed at this level for at least three months, I will sign up to three copies of my books at a time that you care to send. (You must include return postage.)



Inquisitor Morghi
$25 or more per month 7 patrons
My sincerest gratitude and thanks, and the knowledge that they made it possible for me to complete the life of Clark Ashton Smith.

Access to my patrons-only feed for news and excerpts posted each month (minimum of three thousand words per month).

A signed thank-you card.

For those who have contributed at this level for at least three months, I will sign up to three copies of my books at a time that you care to send. (You must include return postage.)
For those who have contributed at this level for at least six months, I will list your name among the acknowledgements in the completed book.
Those who contribute at this level for at least six months will receive a PDF copy of the completed manuscript or other eBook format.


Outsider
$50 or more per month 0 patrons
My sincerest gratitude and thanks, and the knowledge that they made it possible for me to complete the life of Clark Ashton Smith.

Access to my patrons-only feed for news and excerpts posted each month (minimum of three thousand words per month).

A signed thank-you card.

For those who have contributed at this level for at least three months, I will sign up to three copies of my books at a time that you care to send. (You must include return postage.)

For those who have contributed at this level for at least six months, I will list your name among the acknowledgements in the completed book.

Those who contribute at this level for at least six months will receive a PDF copy of the completed manuscript or other eBook format.
Those who contribute at this level for at least six months will receive an inscribed copy of the published book.


Thaisadon
$100 or more per month 2 patrons
My sincerest gratitude and thanks, and the knowledge that they made it possible for me to complete the life of Clark Ashton Smith.

Access to my patrons-only feed for news and excerpts posted each month (minimum of three thousand words per month).

A signed thank-you card.

For those who have contributed at this level for at least three months, I will sign up to three copies of my books at a time that you care to send. (You must include return postage.)

For those who have contributed at this level for at least six months, I will list your name among the acknowledgements in the completed book.

Those who contribute at this level for at least half of the period before the completion  will receive a PDF copy of the completed manuscript or other eBook format.
Those who contribute at this level for at least six eight months, An inscribed copy of the completed book, plus your name listed on the dedication page.