Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

A Man Out of Time 

Donald Sidney-Fryer reads at the "Tentacle Sessions"

Wednesday, Apr 12 2000
It would be remiss to consider poet Donald Sidney-Fryer without first exploring his literary lineage: As one of the last living West Coast romantic poets, his connection to belletristic history is nearly as vital as his own work, which has kept alive a poetic form long abandoned by modern writers.

In 1892, George Sterling, a writer who was later to greatly affect symbolist poets and the likes of Baudelaire, fell under the tutelage of one Ambrose Bierce, after Bierce published one of Sterling's epic poems in his Prattle column for the San Francisco Examiner. In 1926, shortly before Sterling swallowed a vial of cyanide that he had carried for some years, it was suggested by taste-maker H.L. Mencken that Sterling was the natural selection for America's poet laureate. Before his demise, Sterling took a protégé by the name of Clark Ashton Smith, a baroque writer of poetry and weird fiction (for which H.P. Lovecraft frequently expressed gratitude) who penned the unparalleled poem "The Hashish-Eater." Sidney-Fryer was Smith's pupil and the direct heir to a tradition of "pure poetry" that stretches back as far as Keats and Shelley.

Overflowing with rich, Cimmerian images where emotions are like mountains and the bodily senses are a latticework on which to hang nightmares and heavenly apparitions, Donald Sidney-Fryer is a man out of time. And for that we are fortunate. Sidney-Fryer's intimate knowledge of his forerunners has made him the superlative editor of several collections of Clark Ashton Smith's work, as well as the horror and fantasy poetry of Ambrose Bierce. Tonight's reading will be in two parts: The first will feature "The Hashish-Eater" read in its entirety; the second will include selections from Sidney-Fryer's own resplendent work. Absinthe-drinkers and gothy goths take note -- this is a rare opportunity to touch the real thing.

About The Author

Silke Tudor


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"