Saturday, 16 April 2016

Codex New England

'Dunwich Jazz Festival'. There, that should be argument enough for any decent person to read the poems of Cardinal Cox. Just that title, right there. But if you need more persuading, here goes.

'Codex New England' is the tenth pamphlet of Lovecraftian poetry produced by the former Poet Laureate of Peterborough.


The poems here offer a whistle-stop tour of Lovecraft's settings and landscapes - or dreamscapes. In 'Circling New York' the description of the city in 'He' is in the mind of a traveller nearing JFK. A'fter those 'black cyclopaean towers' we move on to 'Boston Subway Memorial', with no mention of Pickman but a clear nod to the source of his inspiration. 'Bus From Newburyport' takes us you-know-where along 'reptile skinned road'. Innsmouth never looked so inviting.

And this is a recurring theme, as we all know that Lovecraft's imaginary places are rather attractive. 'The Gilman House' and 'Innsmouth Seafront' are more familiar than many real places, and on the latter our nameless traveller meets a boozer who talks of grandparents' internment. For Lovecraft, sending certain people to camps was an antidote to horror. Not so much for us.

The world of the mythos blends with later paranoia in 'Conspiracies', with real-life experiments on 'inferior' US populations. There's humour, too, as 'kids born with fingers and toes webbed' are no surprise to someone who lives 'on the edge of the Fens'. A hipster restaurant offers 'Tcho-Tcho Chow', while ukelele music wafts from the K'tulu-Tiki Lounge.

Someone really needs to collect Cox's poems in a proper book. Considered as a whole they form a remarkably erudite and witty commentary on life and Lovecraft, and how those two worlds intersect at strange angles that often defy mundane geometry.


Want a copy of 'Codex New England'? Send a C5 SAE to

58 Pennington
Orton Goldhay
Peterborough
PE2 5RB
You can also email the Cardinal at cardinalcox1@yahoo.co.uk

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