Thursday, November 25, 2010

Retro Literary Luminescence: Creep to Death by Joseph Payne Brennan

Originally published in 1981 by Donald M. Grant, the late Joseph Payne Brennan’s (1918 – 1990) strange poetry book Creep to Death was a limited signed edition of 795 copies. The illustrations by Jane F. Kendall match the chilling austerity of Brennan’s poetry. The places in this book are cold, barren and windswept autumnal landscapes of unrelenting despair. Although Brennan is best known as a writer of supernatural fiction, his poetry was equally acclaimed and this volume demonstrates why. Here Brennan describes cornstalks as “…whispering, rows of desiccated witches, rooted in earth, unwilling to die.” Joseph Payne Brennan is nearly forgotten today, except perhaps by a few of us bibliophiles. What horror writers today have yet to learn was mastered by Joseph Payne Brennan in his weird poetry and chilling tales. Less is more. You can find Brennan’s books with on-line booksellers at affordable prices. And so one night, under a full moon and with the wind moaning in the eves, why not find one of his books, begin reading and turn the page…

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