Haefele to contribute essays to recently revived publication

CoC 56From 1981 to 2001, Robert M. Price, a theologian, pulp-scholar and writer, edited many dozens of semi-pro, staple-bound periodicals—including Crypt of Cthulhu. Aficionados of the iconic Weird Tales magazine, especially its more famous authors, which includes H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, appreciated Crypt’s occasional fiction-themed issues but especially the nonfiction.

In late 2017, Price resurrected Crypt to appear irregularly, though probably not less than three or four times each year.

Allied Authors is pleased to report that Price has accepted two essays by John D. Haefele for publication. Both will shed new light regarding a Wisconsin author’s impact on the fantasy field in two important areas.

• “Serendipitous Canonization”—appearing in the next issue of Crypt of Cthulhu, No.110 (2018)—uncovers August Derleth’s role in the important transition of H. P. Lovecraft’s status from “genre” to “mainstream.”

• “First and Final Estimates: August Derleth Looks at Weird Tales Magazine”—to be included in Crypt of Cthulhu No. 112 (late 2018 or early 2019)—builds upon Haefele’s earlier discussion in August Derleth Redux: The Weird Tale 1930-1971 (H. Harksen Productions, 2009), emphasizing Derleth’s positive impact on the reputation of Weird Tales magazine.

ET 7Along with the aforementioned essays, Haefele’s short story “One Starry Night” will be published in Eldritch Tales—a periodical that originally ran during the 1970s and ’80s and which also was revived by Price.

“One Starry Night,” appearing next year in Eldritch Tales Vol. 2, No. 7, is a weird tale inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft and August Derleth. The short story is one in a series that also includes “Little Bastards” and “The Sculptures in the House,” both of which have been previously published.

Both Crypt of Cthulhu and Eldritch Tales are currently published by Necronomicon Press.

Allied Authors bound for WisCon

For the first time in the organization’s 80-plus years, the Allied Authors of Wisconsin will attend WisCon.

Among the world’s largest science fiction conventions with a feminist/social justice focus, WisCon features panels, academic programming, readings and parties. It will be held May 25 to 28 at the Concourse Hotel in Madison, Wis.

Learn more about WisCon.

In addition to enjoying all that the convention has to offer, members of Allied Authors will participate in a group reading as well as host a table in the Dealers Room.

Allied Authors Reading

AAW members will read excerpts from their published novels and works in progress from 4 to 5:15 p.m. Friday, May 25, at Michelangelo’s Coffee House, 114 State St.

Feature readers include:

  • Mark J. Engels, Always Gray in Winter (anthropomorphic/paranormal sci-fi thriller)
  • A.J. Lamont, Wedding Hell (horror/urban fantasy)
  • Maureen Mertens, The Kayak Connection (general fiction)
  • Christopher Whitmore, Saviour (post-apocalyptic fantasy)
  • David Michael Williams, If Souls Can Sleep (slipstream/hybrid fantasy)

Allied Authors Table

Stack of books written by members of the Allied Authors of Wisconsin

Photo by Mark J. Engels

WisCon attendees are encouraged to visit the Allied Authors table in the Dealers Room to learn more about the organization, meet members and peruse the published works of the Allied Authors. Some unique items from Arkham House — a Sauk City, Wis. publishing house specializing in weird fiction and founded in 1939 — will also be for sale on Saturday and Sunday.


4 announcements for Spring 2018

The first three months of 2018 has already given the Allied Authors of Wisconsin plenty to celebrate:

Whitmore welcomed into AAW ranks

AAW is thrilled to introduce its newest member, Christopher Whitmore.

A longtime fan of science fiction and fantasy in their many forms, the Fond du Lac native has been writing for most of his life. He recently released his debut novel, Saviour, available in paperback and for Kindle at Amazon.com.

Engels’ novel nominated for Ursa Major

bear logo for the Ursa Major AwardsMark J. Engels’ paranormal sci-fi thriller Always Gray in Winter has been included in the “Best Novel” category of the Ursa Major Awards, also called the Annual Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Award.

In addition to the story itself—which features a modern-day remnant of an ancient clan of werecats torn apart by militaries trying to exploit their deadly talents—the cover art also has been nominated for an Ursa Major Award.

Voting is open to the public and continues through the end of March. Winners will be announced in early May.

Haefele’s weird tale will appear in upcoming magazine

John D. Haefele’s “One Starry Night” is scheduled to appear next year in Eldritch Tales Vol. 2, No. 7, published by Necronomicon Press. Noted scholar, editor and publisher Robert M. Price revived the periodical, which originally ran during the 1970s and ’80s.

“Starry Night” is a weird tale inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft and August Derleth. The short story is one in a series that also includes Haefele’s “Little Bastards” and “The Sculptures in the House,” both of which have been previously published.

Williams’ short story published in anthology

"Ghost Mode" cover featuring a brunette woman in a black tank top holding up a glowing white coin“Ghost Mode,” written by David Michael Williams, was among 40 short stories comprising the One Million Project Fantasy Anthology. Available in paperback and for Kindle, the collection raises funds to fight cancer, homelessness and social injustice.

Williams donated “Ghost Mode,” a sci-fi story that takes augmented reality to a chilling extreme, not only because of the synergy between the publication’s name and the name of his own publishing company (One Million Words), but also as a tribute to his father, who is battling multiple myeloma.

Williams kicks off strange new series

Genre-bender explores life, death, dreams

Cover of If Souls Can SleepAfter years of being haunted by the day his daughter drowned, Vincent Cruz faces a new nightmare—one that reaches into the real world and beyond the grave.

If Souls Can Sleep, a new novel by Fond du Lac fiction writer David Michael Williams, introduces a hidden world where gifted individuals possess the power to invade the dreams of others. Two rival factions have transformed the dreamscape into a war zone where all reality is relative and even the dead can’t rest in peace.

The 368-page paperback captures elements of science fiction, fantasy, suspense, and metafiction, covering such disparate topics as Norse mythology and neuroscience.

“After years of focusing exclusively on sword-and-sorcery fantasy, as both a writer and a reader, I made it my goal to write something very different. I wanted to create a book I had never read before, something very unusual and unique,” Williams said.

“It was time to take a risk,” he added.

While categorizing If Souls Can Sleep can be tricky, Williams sees the mashup of genres as a strength because the story has something for readers of many backgrounds. He describes the narrative as complex yet accessible, peculiar yet relatable.

“This book has no shortage of paradoxes. I tried to break the rules without ending up with a broken story,” Williams said. “Fortunately, early feedback suggests the experiment was successful.”

If Souls Can Sleep will be published through Williams’ indie publishing company, One Million Words, on Jan. 30. The book is currently available for preorder as a paperback at Amazon.com and as an e-book through the Kindle Store. Other e-book formats will follow at various online retailers starting in May 2018.

If Souls Can Sleep serves as the first book of The Soul Sleep Cycle. The sequel, If Sin Dwells Deep, is scheduled for a fall 2018 release, with a third installment, If Dreams Can Die, slated for spring 2019.

Williams is also the author of The Renegade Chronicles, a fantasy trilogy comprised of Rebels and Fools, Heroes and Liars, and Martyrs and Monsters. He joined the Allied Authors of Wisconsin in 2005.

His website, david-michael-williams.com, features a blog about his fiction and the craft of writing.

Engels will sell, sign books Nov. 11

On the heels of the release of Always Gray in Winter, Allied Author Mark Engels will make a Fond du Lac appearance to promote his debut novel.

According to the Chapter 52 Bookstore press release:

Local author Mark J. Engels will sell and sign copies of his paranormal sci-fi thriller, Always Gray in Winter, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, November 11, at Chapter 52 Bookstore, next door to the Fond du Lac Public Library at 52 Sheboygan St.

His book, the first in a series, tells the tale of family of werecats, who, in modern-day Midwestern United States, are standing up to violent persecution by genetically enhanced soldiers and battling their way through an ancient clan feud. It’s an example of the subgenre anthropomorphic fiction, where characters have uniquely human characteristics and qualities despite being nonhuman.

Engels grew up in Michigan and followed boyhood interests in trains and electronics into a career as an electrical engineer for railroads and rail transit agencies. His longtime interests in anime, manga and anthropomorphic fandoms grew into writing genre fiction. He lives in Fond du Lac with his wife and son.

Chapter 52 Bookstore sells used books, movies, music and magazines for all ages at deep discounts. For more information, call (920) 322-3957 or visit www.fdlpl.org/chapter52.

Related news:

Cat is out of the bag with AAW member’s first novel

Allied Author’s own Mark J. Engels recently made his literary debut with Always Gray in Winter.

The paperback novel, published by Thurston Howl Publications, features a family of werecats and straddles several genres, including military fiction, science fiction and anthropomorphics.

Members of the Allied Authors of Wisconsin had the privilege of hearing excerpts from the book while Engels was working on it. As of Aug. 10, the story is available to the public at Amazon.com.

The back-cover synopsis hints at many layers of intrigue and action:

A distant daughter. A peculiar device. A family lineage full of secrets. When werecat Pawlina Katczynski finally resurfaces, her location previously unknown to anyone close to her, the reunion is short of welcomed. Instead, she finds herself thrust tooth and nail — tooth and claw — into a feud between opposing werecat clans as her family and their enemies reignite a battle that has raged for years. Always Gray in Winter invites the reader to join the feud and see if blood is truly thicker than water…

Engels will be promoting the book on the Speculative Fiction Cantina internet radio program on Aug. 11 and on the South Afrifur Pawdcast on Aug. 13. He also will attend Furry Migration in Minneapolis from Aug. 25 to 27.

A sequel is already in the works.

For more information about Always Gray in Winter, including artwork inspired by the novel, visit the author’s website at www.mark-engels.com.

Williams interviewed for fantasy webcast

A weekly webcast that covers science fiction, fantasy, horror, alternate history, steampunk, cyberpunk, and “things weird and wonderful in the world of books and writers” recently featured a member of the Allied Authors of Wisconsin.

David Michael Williams was the featured guest of Speculative Fiction Cantina on May 26. Topics included challenges in today’s publishing world, writing inspiration, Williams’ past and present writing projects, as well as other literary matters. He also read an excerpt from one of his novels.

Williams is the author of The Renegade Chronicles — a sword-and-sorcery fantasy trilogy comprised of Rebels and Fools, Heroes and Liars, and Martyrs and Monsters — which he published through his One Million Words imprint in 2016. He is currently working on a science fiction series called The Soul Sleep Cycle.

Williams has been a member of the Allied Authors since 2005.

AAW member releases Great Depression memoir

A writing project that spanned decades reached fruition today when Thomas P. Ramirez published That Wonderful Mexican Band: A Memoir of The Great Depression.

Book cover of "That Wonderful Mexican Band"Ramirez began the memoir in the late 1960s when he wrote a short story focusing primarily on his family’s short-lived musical career. He returned to the project in the 1980s, recording episode after fascinating episode and ultimately transforming them into a 388-page paperback.

This excerpt from the back cover sheds additional light on the subject and spirit of the memoir:

Welcome to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, a small Midwestern town struggling through the Great Depression. The misadventures of a poor minority family with big dreams, as told by oldest son Thomas, reveal a deep love in the face of serious struggles and a rich life in spite of poverty. The Ramirezes’ story is humorous, bittersweet, and—above all—honest.

That Wonderful Mexican Band is sure to strike a chord with anyone who grew up during the Great Depression or ever wondered what it was like to live “way back then.”

In addition to the memoir, Ramirez has written more than 150 paperbacks—spanning such genres as mystery, military, and erotica—though much of his writing has been published under pen names. He joined the Allied Authors of Wisconsin in 1955.

Hawk & Whippoorwill: Derleth’s Overlooked Imprint

(Part 3)

[Read Part 1 and Part 2]

(Hawk & Whippoorwill: Poems of Man and Nature) is a new little magazine devoted to the subjects suggested in its subtitle. It will be published irregularly, which is to say whenever the editor feels that enough good material has been accepted to fill an issue … the editor will read all work submitted, short or long, and he hopes in time to have a sufficiently large subscription list to enable him to pay for poems.

August Derleth


A short essay in Oak Leaves, “The Writer and the ‘Little’ Magazine,” was the first indication August Derleth would edit and publish Hawk & Whippoorwill.

Derleth treasured a large fund he had saved of similar magazines, stating, “I find myself dipping into these slender issues from time to time very much in the same way that I refresh myself by looking into Frost and Thoreau and Emerson” in “The Editor’s Post” (Hawk & Whippoorwill, Spring 1960)—to which he would add a title of his own. The announcement at the top, excerpted from a 1960 broadside printed on separate stock, likely shared the same mailing envelope with Oak Leaves.

Derleth would produce Hawk & Whippoorwill for three years. But then he stopped abruptly, admitting later that “the overwhelming mass of poetry submitted was so very bad that editing the magazine soon became a depressing chore, and I was not unhappy to suspend it finally” (“My Life in Poetry”).

At his core Derleth was a businessman, and it was actually the economics that doomed the magazine. Hawk & Whippoorwill failed to attain a semi-pro status, yet Derleth would “pay” contributors two or three copies based on submission length and never required they become subscribers, as was common practice.

I had not, in any event, visualized extended publication, and the economic facts really permitted of no other solution. True, I had 170 sets bound and priced them at $10 the copy—of these perhaps half sold; the other half remain to be sold. The entire venture, exclusive of book publication, lost me a total of $1,706.50, or roughly $170 an issue. (“My Life in Poetry”)

In fact, Derleth’s venture had been beset with economic—not poetic—woes from the get-go:

Of poetry there was no dearth—there never is. The cost of production, however,  proved to be another matter entirely. It is always so with publishing, and particularly when the product makes its appeal to a relatively small if informed audience. It was obvious to me, through my work at Arkham House, that union printing for such a magazine was absolutely out of the question if I meant to hold to a per copy cost of [$]500. But I found that even a non-union printer asked a dollar an issue for a 500-copy magazine. Manifestly, this too, was impossible. So I went to England and paid $200 for the first issue of Hawk & Whippoorwill. Since the first year of the magazine, a twice-yearly publication, had a subscription list of 200, it must be apparent that I lost money from the beginning. Moreover, that loss was compounded by the fact that I seldom found it possible, after the first four issues to hold the magazine to 20 pages. (“My Life in Poetry”)

Derleth indeed “went to England” (though never in person), contracting with Villiers Publications, Ltd., of London. Villiers printed all ten issues of the magazine during its three-year run—the final double-sized—as well as several books under a Hawk & Whippoorwill imprint.


Which raises the question that has troubled this scholar for years: Why didn’t Derleth include the Hawk & Whippoorwill books in Thirty Years of Arkham House, the bibliography compiled in 1969, purportedly to list every title issued under all of his name-plates? In addition to Arkham House (AH), this did include Mycroft & Moran (M&M) and Stanton & Lee (S&L).

Derleth prepared the bibliography to help mark his “Thirtieth Anniversary!” as publisher, offering it for sale in the 1969 Stock List of Books from Arkham House / Mycroft & Moran. He promoted it as “a comprehensive bibliography of the publications of Arkham House and its subsidiary imprints throughout the 30 years of its existence, together with a brief history.”

Arkham House and Mycroft & Moran are both genre-imprints, but Derleth routinely included Stanton & Lee with both in combined catalogs and bulletins. That’s how he launched the imprint in 1945: “Stanton & Lee will be publishers of general books … books of comic panels, strips … will on occasion reprint books” (Books /Arkham House / Mycroft & Moran / Stanton & Lee / Books). These “reprints” would be comprised of out-of-print Sac Prairie and Wisconsin Saga books, a subtle indicator of Derleth’s high hopes at the time.

Initial success was short-lived, however. Sales for even the best titles were moderate, and Derleth allowed Stanton & Lee to grow especially moribund between 1960 and 1965, the same period he was publishing using the H&W imprint.

Is there a connection? S&L is in the bibliography, H&W is not.

Derleth’s introduction to Thirty Years is no help; catering to his largest category of clients, Derleth speaks mainly of Arkham House, writes little about Mycroft & Moran, inserts two lines about Stanton & Lee—and says not a peep about Hawk & Whippoorwill.

But in 1971, in the “My Life in Poetry” lecture, Derleth does refer to the H&W books, doing so with obvious pride:

Moreover, the magazine won rather speedy recognition. Some of the poems from its pages—by James Weil, William D. Barney, Dodi Schultz, Leah Bodine Drake, and Company—appeared in anthologies and textbooks—and I may add, some of the most excitingly different textbooks of poetry to have been offered to schools in the past decade, like Some Haystacks Don’t Have Needles, and A Gift of Watermelon Pickles & Other Poems, both of which have had wide circulation in hard and paperback. Many more appeared in collections—among them five under my own Stanton & Lee imprint—Jane Stuart’s Eyes of the Mole, Joseph Payne Brennan’s The Wind of Time, Mary Weeden Stiver’s Brief Argument, Grant Code’s This Undying Quest, and Frances May’s Night Letters. (“My Life in Poetry”)

However, by referring to The Wind of Time as a Stanton & Lee title, Derleth conflates the history of the imprints. And yet, what appears to be confusion may actually be warranted for what it reveals about the S&L-H&W relationship—the fact that a definite relationship does exist. Looking at other “cross-over” connections, among all of Derleth’s name-plates, helps uncover this bigger picture.

The first relevant cross-over—Hawk & Whippoorwill with Arkham House—appears in the Autumn 1961 issue of Hawk & Whippoorwill:

Our readers may like to know that Arkham House is publishing in November Fire and Sleet and Candlelight: New Poems of the Macabre ($4.00).

Among the contributors were these H&W poets: Jesse Stuart, Raymond Roseliep, Joseph Payne Brennan, Grant Code, Leah Bodine Drake, Francis Angevine Gray, Joseph Joel Keith, Anne Marx, Edna Meudt, Jocelyn Macy Sloan, and James Weil.

(Francis May, a poet with a poem in the Autumn issue, apparently entered the scene too late to be included in Fire and Sleet and Candlelight, but she would have a short story published in Dark Things, the 1971 anthology of weird tales Derleth edited for Arkham House.)


Also in the Autumn issue, this pertinent announcement:

We are inaugurating this year, in November, a book publishing program. Our first book will be The Wind of Time, by Joseph Payne Brennan. It will be priced at $3.50 … we will publish one collection each year until we decide to end our publishing venture.


This title was not the first Brennan book Derleth published. As recently as 1958, Arkham House issued Nine Horrors and a Dream, a collection of Brennan’s weird tales. The Wind of Time, however, would garner the distinction of being the first book Villiers printed and bound for Derleth—all previous Arkham House, Mycroft & Moran, and Stanton & Lee titles having been made in the United States by George Banta Company, Inc., of Menasha, Wisconsin.  

When Derleth retired Hawk & Whippoorwill magazine, he had the second H&W book already in progress. “Though this is the final number of Hawk & Whippoorwill, the imprint of the H&W Press will appear sometime within the next year on one other book—Brief Argument, by Mary Weeden Stiver.” Brief Argument duly appeared in 1964, printed by Villiers.

In 1966, Derleth resurrected the Stanton & Lee imprint, going local again with Banta, for Wisconsin Harvest, a book of short stories he agreed to edit for the Wisconsin Regional Writers Association, the first of what he hoped might become a series of Wisconsin authored books. Not only did S&L’s history with Wisconsin themes make sense of this, but “Stanton & Lee” must’ve sounded more appropriate to Derleth for this series than poetry-light “Hawk & Whippoorwill.”

However, the next Stanton & Lee offering would be another H&W-styled poetry book: Eyes of the Mole, a 1967 collection of verse by Jane Stuart, the daughter of Derleth’s close friend and fellow writer Jesse Stuart. It became the first S&L book Derleth used Villiers to print and bind.

Derleth turned to Banta again for the next S&L, New Poetry Out of Wisconsin, a 1969 follow-up to Poetry Out of Wisconsin, the anthology Derleth co-edited in 1937 for a different publisher. Of course, this was a collection of Wisconsin writers, not H&W poets.

But then came Le Sueur’s Corn Village: A Selection in 1970 (Villiers), Code’s This Undying Quest in 1971 (Banta), and May’s Night Letters in 1971 (Villiers).

Which all conspire to deepen our little mystery. Not only are three H&W books missing from Derleth’s bibliography, so are the Villiers-printed S&L’s. Fortunately, we now are able to reconstruct—with educated guesswork—much of what happened.

In 1960, Derleth deemed the name Stanton & Lee inappropriate for a Little Review filled with poems about man and nature. Moreover, he banked on Hawk & Whippoorwill quickly becoming self-funded—all the more reason to keep separate the new imprint from the old.

Three years later Derleth retired the magazine, but not the imprint—not the idea of abetting a line of books. As late as 1968, a couple of years after using S&L for Wisconsin Harvest, H&W (according to a Prairie Press blurb) was still in the mix:

[Derleth] lives in his home, Place of Hawks … where he also conducts the affairs of Arkham House: Publishers, with its associated imprints—Mycroft & Moran, Stanton & Lee, and the Hawk & Whippoorwill Press.” (Walden Pond: Homage to Thoreau)

Only then, during the next year, did something change. Perhaps Derleth simply deduced he would no longer need four imprints, but sometime before finalizing Thirty Years of Arkham House, in which he states unequivocally, “All Arkham House books—together with those under the Mycroft & Moran and Stanton & Lee imprints—have been printed by the George Banta Company, with the exception of The Arkham Sampler….”

The simple explanation for this statement would have Derleth unwittingly reusing the original passage on which it is based, which appears word-for-word in the Thirty Years of Arkham House predecessor, Arkham House: The First Twenty Years.

Otherwise the Banta-assertion is troubling, not just in light of the H&W omissions or even the missing Villiers-S&L books, but for two Arkham House books Derleth does include: Nightmare Need, a new 1964 collection of Brennan’s supernatural verse, and Something Breathing, a 1965 collection of macabre verse by Stanley McNail.

What’s possible is that both of these books were originally conceived as H&W books.

What’s undeniably true is that both were printed by Villiers in London.

But, here again, the big picture manifests only after studying the cross-over aspects. Whereas Arkham House would seem the logical imprint for two supernatural poetry volumes (and that’s ultimately what happened), the connection to H&W (and therefore Villiers) was stronger. Despite Derleth’s earliest H&W objectives, it was only natural, given his abiding interest in macabre fiction and poetry, that as the little review began to fade he would gravitate especially to Brennan and McNail.

Besides writing verse, both poets were publishing “little reviews” of their own. Brennan had two, Essence and Macabre, and McNail had The Galley Sail Review. Derleth himself was a catalyst for rejuvenating interest in supernatural poetry, the result of editing (with the help of his friend Donald Wandrei) and publishing in 1947 the massive anthology Dark of the Moon. Thus, in “August Derleth: Friend of Fantasy Poetry” (August Harvest, Magico, 1994), Steve Eng writes:

 A mainstream poet and horror-story writer, Brennan edited the verse magazine Essence (1950-1977), and Macabre (1957-1973) which used poetry. Brennan’s own modern style mostly escapes the perils of free verse due to its severe brevity and the poet’s genuine ear. Pessimism of the blackest hue is omnipresent, with refreshingly little melodrama. Much lighter was Stanley McNail’s … terse poems merging humor and horror. Craftsmanship in the verses perhaps reflects McNail’s studies under Lawrence Hart, mentor of the “Activist” school of imagist poetry in San Francisco in the fifties. McNail also edited The Galley Sail Review (1958-1971) and the macabre poetry journal Night Shade (1966-1968).


Everything fits when we overlay Derleth’s abiding H&W rationale, which was to publish contemporary poetry written by poets he could appreciate, whatever the genre. Whereas deceased or long-moribund poets—H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Donald Wandrei—would always be Arkham poets, it’s a safe bet the new Brennan and McNail collections were conceived as H&W books, and would’ve been had the imprint lasted. Rather than give these up, Derleth adhered to the tried-and-true (and less expensive) H&W formula, using Villiers to print the books but issuing them to his remaining (and much larger) base of clients as Arkham House books.

The theory pans out with a post-bibliography Arkham House verse collection published in 1970, L. Sprague de Camp’s Demons and Dinosaurs—though this fact is not found in the book itself, Arkham historian Sheldon Jaffery is on record (in Horrors and Unpleasantries) alleging Villiers did this one, too.

All minor points in the big picture—but nothing Derleth wished to call out.

Could there have been a simpler explanation?

I’ve never been convinced the meticulous Derleth would mistakenly or deliberately exclude titles that properly belonged in any of his bibliographies—not after studying once more the proper names of these imprints:

Arkham House: Publisher

Stanton & Lee: Publisher

Hawk & Whippoorwill Press

There in plain sight (my italics) is what I now believe to be the answer. The omissions hinge on how Derleth viewed his books. Those in the bibliography are the books he published—those he actively commissioned, edited, copyrighted, and promoted.

The Villiers titles, on the other hand, were merely passed to the London press for printing (some subsidized). In this regard, the non-Arkham Villiers books in his mind differed little, or not at all, from poetry collections of his own, those issued by Ritten House, James A. Decker, Prairie, or other small presses.

Everything now adds up, assuming Derleth did more with the Arkham-Villiers titles and, therefore, included them (though, as with the other Villiers books, they were not copyrighted).

Except for the curve Derleth threw in 1963: Arkham’s Autobiography: Some Notes on a Nonentity by H. P. Lovecraft was printed by Villiers. Certainly cost was a factor, but I continue to search, believing there’s more to be said. In 1963, Derleth was in the early stages of reissuing all of Lovecraft’s fiction. Perhaps he used Villiers because he originally meant to issue these unadorned booklets unofficially, at no cost, to promote Lovecraft…

And now there is the problem these titles present for imprint completists, for whom they reside irrevocably among the books they need to ferret out.

For their sake, here is the first complete list of the non-magazine titles printed in London by Villiers for each imprint:


Hawk & Whippoorwill Press

The Wind of Time, Joseph Payne Brennan (1961)

Hawk & Whippoorwill 1960-1963 (1963), bound, ten-issue run.

Brief Argument, Mary Stiver Welder (1964)


Arkham House: Publishers

Autobiography: Some Notes on a Nonentity, H. P. Lovecraft (1963)

Nightmare Need, Joseph Payne Brennan (1964)

Something Breathing, by Stanley McNail (1965)

Demons and Dinosaurs, by L. Sprague de Camp (1970)


Stanton & Lee: Publishers

Eyes of the Mole, Jane Stuart (1967)

Corn Village: A Selection, Meridel Le Sueur (1970)

Night Letters, Frances May (1971)


John D. Haefele contributed this article.
© 2016. All rights reserved.

Hawk & Whippoorwill: Derleth’s Little Review

(Part 2)

[Read Part 1 here.]

Perhaps it was natural that I should eventually gravitate to editing a little review of poetry. I had been reading such little reviews from the 1920’s onward, and I wanted to learn for myself what editing and publishing such a little review entailed. I began
Hawk & Whippoorwill in 1960 and ended it in 1963 after 10 issues. At the outset I hoped to publish a little magazine, limited to verse—“of man and nature,” as I announced it—along similar lines to Fred Lape’s Trails, one of the best such magazines of the 1930’s.

(1971: Lecture, “My Life in Poetry”)

The first hint that publishing a review was on August Derleth’s mind appeared in the January-February 1960 issue of Oak Leaves: A Magazine of Poetry. In the short essay “The Writer and the ‘Little’ Magazine,” Derleth reminded readers that the “principal function of the little magazine for the writer is to afford him an audience—very often his first audience.”

Portentously he adds: “not to be overlooked” are the publishers, “who are usually the editors,” and are “as much in the service of literature as the writer, and often at considerably more cost.”

Derleth was himself an editor and publisher, with three imprints of his own: Arkham House: Publisher, Mycroft & Moran, and Stanton & Lee. Personal experience had taught him that small publishers fill an important role by offering “encouragement or advice” to aspiring writers. He also knew the “mortality rate” among small publishers to be “very high.”

I had previously been associated with a rather costly little review, The Midwestern, published by a university student who had money enough to support it for two or three issues, really rather more a dilettante venture than a bona fide little magazine. And I had edited and published The Arkham Sampler, a trade quarterly specifically for the patrons of Arkham House, with the circulation of which I had no particular problem. Hawk & Whippoorwill, however, had no waiting audience, and, in contrast to the Sampler, which had no competition whatsoever, Hawk & Whippoorwill was but one of many such little reviews in the field. I planned a magazine of 20 pages, chiefly poems, with a modicum of reviews, and for the first issue I had poems from poets like Fred Lape, Jesse Stuart, Raymond Roseliep, Edna Meudt, Joseph Payne Brennan, Joseph Joel Keith and others—all bylines familiar to readers of contemporary poetry. (“My Life in Poetry”)

Derleth produced The Arkham Sampler only two years, 1948 and 1949, but for many years he edited the Arkham House advertising bulletins as if they themselves were Little Reviews, including prose, poems, appraisals and publishing news of interest to his customers. In an unpublished essay, “American Regional Poetry,” Derleth makes this observation: “Regional poets in the first forty years of this century had many outlets in scores of regional little reviews and in the national literary quarterlies. Today there are very few regional little magazines left.”

Cover of Hawk & Whippoorwill, Volume 1, Issue 1

Derleth decided to set an example.

That the contents of Hawk & Whippoorwill were on the whole appreciably superior to those of most of its contemporaries was not, of course, an accident. Most of the best poems were solicited from poets who had been friends for years. Jesse Stuart was a friend of almost 25 years’ standing; I had been the judge in the Kaleidograph book publication contest in the year that Edsel Ford’s initial book placed first; I had published Joseph Payne Brennan under my Arkham House imprint; I had shared programs with Helga Sandburg; some of the poets had contributed to Poetry Out of Wisconsin a quarter of a century before; and so on. Occasional excellent poems came in unsolicited, and in two cases my admiration for their work overcame a natural reluctance to approach poets I did not personally know and ask for work—and these were Gene Baro and William Stafford. (“My Life in Poetry”)

Derleth’s high standards extended behind the scenes:

I did have offers of funding; those same generous patrons whose names had appeared on the roster of patrons for many another little review offered support. I felt I could not accept such support; I wanted the magazine to make its own way or to cease publication. I intended to keep up a relatively high average in its contents, and to that end subsequent issues featured poems by, in addition to the poets already mentioned, Wendell Anderson, Felix Pollak, William D. Barney, Gene Baro, John Beecher, Lorna Beers, Grant Code, Carleton Drewry, John Engels, James T. Farrell, Edsel Ford, James Hearst, John Judson, Raymond E. F. Larsson, David Lytle, Barriss Mills, Sydney King Russell, Arthur Sampley, Helga Sandburg, Daniel Smythe, William Stafford, Felix Stefanile, Jane Stuart, James L. Weil, Norma Farber—whose long Frostian takeoff, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” was, I think, the most memorable poem to appear in the magazine—and by many other poets, whose names would be almost as well known to this audience, as these.

Though Derleth wrote verse prolifically throughout his career, only four of his poems appeared in the ten issues of Hawk & Whippoorwill—each issue 35 to 40 pages long, with the final issue twice that length. But he did contribute eight brief reviews of other writers’ books, prepare detailed notes for all ten installments of “The Editor’s Post,” and compile for the final issue a complete index of all ten.

In the Autumn 1963 issue, Derleth bid farewell to Hawk & Whippoorwill, in the short essay “On Publishing a Little Magazine,” which begins: “I undertook the publication of Hawk & Whippoorwill, determined to bring out at least ten issues….” He goes on to explain: “Four years of Hawk & Whippoorwill have persuaded me to conclude that there is very little room for such a magazine on a self-sustaining basis, for there is not a sufficiently large or interested public devoted.” To illustrate his point, he adds:

Subscribers to the first year of Hawk & Whippoorwill numbered approximately two hundred; subscribers to the last numbered less than half that number … It should be made clear at once, however, that no very great effort was ever expended to gain subscribers for the magazine; the press of my many obligations forbade it and left me no time in which to do more than assemble the magazine, proof it, and mail it to subscribers when it came from the printer….

But this scheduled, separate appearance of Hawk & Whippoorwill was not quite the end. After its mailing, Derleth calculated the number of complete sets of all issues that could be assembled from his file of unsold copies—and bound in cloth. Later that same year, he offered 170 of these in pale green.

Spine of the Hawk & Whippoorwill Anthology

Nor was that monument the end.

In 1973, two years after Derleth died, a new Little Review appeared, “edited, published and presented by the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.” This first issue of Hawk & Whippoorwill Recalled was entirely “devoted to the memory of August Derleth” and the “high literary standards of the original magazine” it emulated.

Cover of "Hawk & Whippoorwill Recalled"

The cost of this project was “jointly supported by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C.”

[Read Part 3.]

John D. Haefele submitted this article.
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