Samuel Loveman

Samuel E. Loveman (January 14, 1887 – May 14, 1976) was an American poet, critic, and dramatist probably best known for his connections with writers H.P. Lovecraft and Hart Crane.

Early life and career

He spent the first 37 years of his life in Cleveland. He worked first as a cost accountant. Between 1905 and 1908 he published many poems, and again between 1919-26 in such amateur journals as Clevelander, Cartoons, Sprite, The National Amateur, and The United Amateur.

In 1918 he was drafted and spent the next year and a half at Camp Gordon, Georgia. Bronchial trouble, bad eyesight and heart trouble prevented him from being sent overseas. Upon his return to Cleveland he was unemployed for some years. Around this time he met Hart Crane and became closely associated with the 'Hart Circle'.[1] In the early 1920s he translated Charles Baudelaire and Paul Verlaine from the French, publishing them in his little magazine The Saturnian (June–July [1920]; Aug-Sept [1920]; March 1922). The third issue of this included Loveman's translations from Heinrich Heine (on which he had worked since 1909). He was a self-taught specialist in Elizabethan prose and drama, and Ancient Greek poetry. His own exotic and imaginative verse included The Hermaphrodite (begun Feb 1921; 1926) described as "a long, gorgeously evocative poem that flawlessly recreates the atmosphere of classical antiquity" and The Sphinx (a prose drama begun as early as 1918, finished by around April 1922 and published in 1926 by W. Paul Cook in the second number of his journal The Ghost.). The latter work has been called "a riot of exotic imagery and diction".[1]

Around 1923, Loveman secured employment at Eglin's, a Cleveland bookstore, but lost the position by November that year. He then followed Hart Crane and moved to New York. Crane lived one flight above Loveman in Brooklyn Heights. Loveman and Don Bregenzer assembled an anthology of essays on James Branch Cabell prior to Loveman's departure for New York. He secured employment at Dauber and Pine (booksellers) in New York, a position he retained into the 1930s. Loveman wrote an entire monograph on one of his favourite writers, Edgar Saltus, but it appears not to have survived, though he contributed a brief preface to Poppies and Mandragora (NY: 1926), a collection of poems by Edgar and Marie Saltus.[1]

In 1932 Loveman helped establish the literary magazine Trend and published various poems, essays and reviews there. A significant collection of his verse, The Hermaphrodite and Other Poems finally appeared in 1936.

Loveman made little attempt to preserve or gather his own work during his lifetime, the largest gathering perhaps being that of 23 poems published together in Hyman Bradofsky's The Californian for Summer 1935. A collection of his work, edited by S.T. Joshi and David E. Schultz, was published in 2004 as Out of the Immortal Night: Selected Works of Samuel Loveman. Despite the modest subtitle, this volume contains all Loveman poems previously published in his own collections, together with seventy poems previously uncollected, together with Loveman's fiction, essays and reviews.

His friends included Ambrose Bierce (who made protracted attempts to secure publication for Loveman's poem "In Pierrot's Garden"). Bierce put Loveman in touch with George Sterling, who in turn introduced Loveman to Sterling's protege Gallery of Art by Clark Ashton Smith Page 15 of 17. Other friends included Allen Tate, H. P. Lovecraft (he was a member of Lovecraft's literary circle, the Kalem Club) along with Frank Belknap Long, and Hart Crane, with Loveman functioning as executor of Hart Crane's estate.[2]

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