The Song of the Sun: Collected Writings of Leah Bodine Drake
Trade Paperback – Hippocampus Press – 2020 – 770 pages
American poet Leah Bodine Drake (1904–1964) attained celebrity with the publication of A Hornbook for Witches (1950), the first book of poetry issued by the legendary small-press publisher Arkham House. But that slim volume is only the tip of the iceberg of her writing.
Drake published only one other book of verse, The Tilting Dust (1955), and an anthology, The Various Light (1964), coedited with Charles Arthur Musès. She had assembled another volume of poetry, Multiple Clay, but it was never published. This volume gathers, for the first time, the entirety of Drake’s poetic output—more than 360 poems, including hundreds of uncollected and unpublished poems. Drake published her work in such distinguished magazines as the Atlantic Monthly and the New Yorker. Most of her poetry is not weird, but her fantasy and horror verse did grace the pages of Weird Tales, the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and other venues.
In addition, this volume contains four of her short stories (two of which were published in Weird Tales), an assortment of her essays and reviews, and letters to August Derleth, Anthony Boucher, Joseph Payne Brennan, and select others.
The editor, David E. Schultz, has consulted Drake’s own scrapbooks of her poetry, allowing for chronological arrangement of her verse presenting a thorough account of Drake’s life and a comprehensive bibliography of her published and unpublished work.
Drake’s well-crafted poetry draws upon myth, legend, and history to underscore her deep understanding of human life and emotions. This definitive compilation will establish Leah Bodine Drake as a significant voice in twentieth-century poetry.