Thursday, January 19, 2006

Lovecraftiana: Winifred Virginia Jordan Part IV

Lovecraft jumps to the defense of Virginia in a Kleicomolo [1] letter dated April 1917. Maurice, apparently, had been harsh in his critique of her poem Insomnia. "I was ... interested in ... Mrs. Jordan's singularly graphick {sic} verses entitled "Insomnia" {published Oct. 1916} ... my personal opinion of "Insomnia" is ... favourable ... the confusion of images as an intentional reproduction of the chaotic thoughts of the insomnious brain ... I have had moods of this semi-imagism myself..."

Deflecting the criticism, Lovecraft goes into the closest thing to a love poem I believe I've ever read by him.

A Garden
by Lewis Theobald, Jr. [2]

"There's an ancient, ancient garden [3] that I see sometimes in dreaming,
Where the very May time sunlight plays and glows with spectral gleams,
There's a sadness settles o'er me, and a tremor seems to start -
For I know the flow'rs are shrivell'd hopes - the garden is my heart."

Things progress because we read on May 5, 1918, "Mrs. Jordan's recovery has not been as rapid as one might wish, but a copy of The London Daily Mail lately came from her, addressed in her own hand writing ... hence I assume she is much improved."

Then on July 14, 1918, we read, "In treating New England, Mrs. Jordan chooses aspects I seldom touch upon. She is affected by its bleaker features, whilst I pass over these, & dwell upon those things which resemble Old England. But I have a wholesome respect for her rugged marine pieces - even though I should not be likely to parallel them in my own metrical effects. I think her "Song of the North Wind" {1916}, was a tremendously powerful poem."

This Edwardian romance spanned a few years, perhaps, but it did not last.

1 Kleicomolo is a round robbin series of correspondences by Rheinheart Kleiner, Ira Cole, Maurice Moe, and Howard Lovecraft. Letters to Rheinheart Kleiner, Joshi & Schultz, 2005.

2 Theobald is Lovecraft's pseudonym.

3 Lovecraft fancied himself an experienced poet and read the classics. He well knew that garden is a sexual metaphor, but it is unknown if he meant it that way. Both of the stories he wrote for Virginia involve a great deal of meadows, forsts, green scenery, blue oceans, water falls and singing of eerie songs.

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