It being the month in which we nationally celebrate verse, I happily present Savage Menace and Other Poems of Horror by Richard L. Tierney. This delightful hardcover collection was first published in 2010 by the esteemed P’rea Press of Australia.
There is a delectable diversity of horrors to be found in the pages of this wonderful volume. Whether it be the folksy opener “Autumn Chill”, the Tolkein-inspired “Khazad-dûm”, the creepily Lovecraftian “Kingsport”, the Robert E. Howard homage “The Doom of Hyboria”, the two moody translations of Charles Baudelaire, or the hilarious Joseph A. West pastiche “Turn on the Heat”, we time and again encounter carefully-wrought and thought-provoking verse. Some of the most effective pieces, in my opinion, are the “King in Yellow” contributions, such as “Tatters of the King” and “The Passing of Cassilda”, as well as the longest poem in the collection, “Visions of Golconda”, which is absolutely stunning in its execution.
As S. T. Joshi so aptly points out in his illuminating introduction: “There is not a word out of place, not a line that is other than musical, not a stanza that cannot be considered a triumph of quiet eloquence.” Truer words could not be spoken, for in Richard L. Tierney we encounter a venerable sage borne of Literature.
The book itself is beautifully produced, featuring many excellent interior illustrations, and is unique in numerous other ways, best exemplified perhaps by the “welcome” we receive on its opening page: “Through gates of unparalleled dream, P’rea Press bids you a thousand welcomes…”
I highly recommend a visit to P’rea Press, which is owned and operated by Charles Lovecraft. There are many poetical enticements worthy of one’s attention, not the least of which is a Richard L. Tierney bibliographical checklist penned by Mr. Lovecraft himself, as well as a volume paying homage to Clark Ashton Smith and George Sterling.
In additional to this excellent collection, I also recommend Mr. Tierney’s Collected Works: Nightmares and Visions, which was published in 1981 by Arkham House. Both it and the present volume belong on the shelves of anyone who holds weird fantasy and horror dear to their still-beating hearts.