Loveman, Samuel

Loveman, Samuel
   Poet, playwright, and longtime friend of HPL. Loveman, a native of Cleveland, joined amateur journalism around 1905 and published much of his verse—most of it of a classicist, fin-de-sieclecast —in the amateur press and, later, in little magazines. He wrote to Ambrose Bierce in 1908 and later sent him his first book, the slim self-published volume Poems (1911). He published Bierce’s letters to him as Twenty-one Letters of Ambrose Bierce (Cleveland: George Kirk, 1922), with a preface that HPL quoted extensively in “Supernatural Horror in Literature.” He later got in touch with George Sterling (1869–1926) and Clark Ashton Smith. HPL had been reading Loveman’s poetry in old amateur papers since at least 1915; at that time he wrote the poem, “To Samuel Loveman, Esq., on His Poetry and Drama, Writ in the Elizabethan Style” ( Dowdell’s Bearcat,December 1915). In 1917 HPL wrote to Loveman (then stationed in Fort Gordon, Georgia) expressing admiration for his verse. At HPL’s urging Loveman began contributing again to the amateur press, publishing three issues of his own little magazine, The Saturnian (June–July 1921, August–September 1921, March 1922), containing his own poems as well as his translations from Heine, Baudelaire, and Verlaine. In December 1919 HPL had a dream involving himself and Loveman, which he wrote almost verbatim into the story “The Statement of Randolph Carter” (1919). About a year later Loveman figured in another dream, which HPL wrote as the prose poem “Nyarlathotep” (1920). HPL first met Loveman in April 1922 in New York. In August 1922 HPL visited him and Alfred Galpin in Cleveland; by this time Loveman had become a close friend of the young Hart Crane, and he introduced HPL to Crane’s friends, including William Sommer, William Lescaze, Edward Lazare, and Gordon Hatfield, whose homosexuality offended HPL. The manuscript of HPL’s “Hypnos” (1922) bears a dedication “To S.L.” In 1922–23 Loveman assisted HPL in editing The Poetical Works of Jonathan E.Hoag (1923). Loveman appeared occasionally in later issues of HPL’s Conservative,notably with the controversial poem “To Satan,” printed on the front page of the July 1923 issue. HPL had anonymously praised Loveman’s poetry effusively in the “Bureau of Critics” column of the National Amateur(March 1922); this review served as the springboard for an attack on Loveman himself by the amateur critic Michael Oscar White in an installment of his series “Poets of Amateur Journalism” ( Oracle,December 1922). In turn, White was attacked and Loveman defended by Frank Belknap Long (“An Amateur Humorist,” Conservative, March 1923) and Alfred Galpin (“A Critic of Poetry,” Oracle,August 1923). HPL himself responded to White in the “In the Editor’s Study” column of the Conservative,July 1923.
   In September 1924 Loveman came to New York, following Hart Crane and settling at 78 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights. For the next year and a half he and HPL were closely in touch as members of the Kalem Club. They met Hart Crane on several occasions in late 1924. By September 1925 Loveman had secured a job at Dauber & Pine bookshop (Fifth Avenue and 12th Street) and worked there for the next several years. In March 1926 he arranged for HPL to be paid to address envelopes for three weeks, one of the few remunerative positions HPL secured during his New York stay. Loveman later made the spectacular claim (unsupported by documentary evidence) that HPL was so depressed during the latter stages of his New York stay that he carried poison on his person so that he could commit suicide if he felt unduly depressed (see Joshi, H.P.Lovecraft: A Life,pp. 388– 89). In 1926 W.Paul Cook published Loveman’s long neo-Grecian poem, The Hermaphrodite,which HPL had read and admired years earlier. The July 1926 United Amateurincluded a poem by Loveman about HPL, “To Mr. Theobald.
   After HPL returned to Providence, he and Loveman communicated chiefly by correspondence; but Loveman did come to Providence in January 1929, after which the two of them visited Boston, Salem, and Marblehead for a few days. Loveman advised Adolphe de Castro and Zealia Bishop to approach HPL for revision work. On December 31, 1933, HPL attended a New Year’s Eve party at Loveman’s apartment in Brooklyn Heights, at which time he met Hart Crane’s mother. On this occasion Loveman alleges that his friend Patrick McGrath spiked HPL’s punch, so that HPL began speaking very volubly (see “Lovecraft as a Conversationalist”). HPL gives no indication of such a thing and probably would have detected alcohol in his drink. Loveman and HPL spent two days in Boston in October 1935. In 1936 the Caxton Press issued Loveman’s The Hermaphrodite and Other Poems,the only substantial volume of his poetry to be published.
   After HPL’s death Loveman wrote two memoirs, “Howard Phillips Lovecraft” (in Cats) and “Lovecraft as a Conversationalist” ( Fresco,Spring 1958); both are in LR. Gradually—in part perhaps because of correspondence with Sonia H.Davis around 1947, when she revealed to him the depth of HPL’s anti Semitism—Loveman began turning against HPL. In a vicious article, “Of Gold and Sawdust” (in The Occult Lovecraft, ed. Anthony Raven [1975]), Loveman accuses HPL of being a racist and a hypocrite. It appears that Loveman destroyed his letters from HPL, as almost none survive (in “Lovecraft as a Conversationalist” he claims to possess 500 pages of HPL’s letters). The few that do survive were published in HPL’s Letters to Samuel Loveman and Vincent Starrett (Necronomicon Press, 1994). Loveman is now perhaps best known as a friend of Hart Crane. He wrote numerous articles about Crane and assisted in Brom Weber’s Hart Crane: A Biographical and Critical Study (1948); an interview with him about Crane was published as a pamphlet, Hart Crane: A Conversation with Samuel Loveman (New York: Interim Books, 1964). His play The Sphinx (which HPL read and admired) was published by W.Paul Cook in 1944.

An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. .

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