Greetings from the Ether,
With the release of Hinnom Magazine Issue 007, we wanted to take a moment to spotlight some of the authors involved in the project. Adam Bolivar’s dark poem “Hexana” is a beautifully crafted, disturbing work. Join us as we dive into the making of the piece, and what the future has in store for the author.
CP: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How you came to write dark poetry?
AB: Like Randolph Carter, I was born and bred in gambrel-roofed Boston, Massachusetts, but now reside in the gloomy green dreamlands of Portland, Oregon. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. At the age of ten, I typed a twenty-seven page biography of my cat Wimpus, which I titled “The Decline and Fall of the Wimpian Empire.” As a teenager, I wrote over thirty Doctor Who radio plays, which my friends and I recorded, complete with sound effects and opening theme sting. In my twenties and thirties, I wrote nine marionette plays which were produced and staged by puppet troupes in Boston, Berkeley and Portland. I have written and published a host of short stories and novels (the novels are as yet unpublished). In my twenties, I experimented with writing eddas in the style of the Icelandic skalds, but it was only in my forties that I stumbled upon the idea of reforging my eddas into ballads, a form more suited to the English ear. My first ballad was published in the very first Spectral Realms, a fabulous poetry journal put out by Hippocampus Press that is still going strong.
CP: “Hexana” is an eerie, beautiful dark poem. Can you tell us how it came to fruition? What inspired the piece?
AB: There’s a backstory to “Hexana,” to be sure. My friend and fellow poet Ashley Dioses asked me to compose a tribute poem for her collection Diary of a Sorceress, and “Hexana” was what I came up with. She liked the poem, but Hexana is thwarted and slain in the end—not a direction Ashley felt suited her collection (a strong editorial decision on her part, I must say). I ended up writing another poem to take its place. Nevertheless, I felt “Hexana” was a worthy piece that needed a good home. I’m glad it’s found one.
CP: Your poems have appeared in some great publications, and you’ve had collections of your own released by publishers such as Hippocampus Press. Where exactly do you hope your writing takes you? What goals do you hope to achieve?
AB: That’s a difficult question. I’ve always written because I have an overwhelming vision of things I want to write, not because I have a grand scheme for them. I certainly enjoy the attention I receive for my efforts and the money I am sometimes paid, but that’s not why I do it. As I said, I’ve always written and I always will. It’s as simple as that.
CP: Do you have any other projects you’re working on? What does the future hold for Adam Bolivar?
AB: I have a new collection of folk horror ballads and dark fairy tales entitled The Scarlet Balladress, a Romaunt. I’m currently in the process of placing it, and I should probably keep mum about the details. I have a number of poems forthcoming in various publications. I’d like to turn my attention back to fiction at some point, and perhaps publish a novel. I am always evolving as an artist. I’ll go wherever my creative spark takes me.
CP: What has been your favorite moment thus far, as a poet?
AB: At StokerCon in Providence, Rhode Island last March, I had the privilege of sharing a poetry reading with the legendary “Last of the Courtly Poets,” Donald Sidney-Fryer. The reading coincided with a hurricane that was shellacking the northeastern U. S. at the time. As I read my poem “The Rime of the Eldritch Mariner,” the wind howled outside the window, as if I were summoning great Cthulhu himself! I would read a stanza, pause, and in the silence the wind would rise up to rattle the window and moan in response. It was a truly numinous experience for me and for the audience as well, as I was told afterwards.
CP: What writer do you find the most inspiring, living or dead? Why?
AB: An obvious choice, perhaps, but I would have to say H. P. Lovecraft. He had such a unique and transformative vision, which he refused to alter a whit for commercial or any other consideration. What an artist he was! He was able to take something so old and traditional and reinvent it as something so profoundly and disturbingly new that they’re still gnashing their teeth over it eighty years after his death. Like Boléro by Ravel—a piece of music so weird and different from anything that had gone before it that at its first performance a woman in the audience screamed: “The madman! The madman!”
CP: We always like to end our interviews with a little tidbit of advice for the many readers who are writers themselves. What’s the best advice you could give to a new author?
AB: Don’t follow trends. Find a style that is uniquely your own, a niche you can fill. I spent a long time trying to publish novels that did not distinguish themselves from the countless others already in print. Then I hit upon the fact that there are very few people who write dark poetry in rhyme and meter, and fewer still that have taken the time to learn the craft and do it well. Et voilà.
Adam Bolivar is a Romantic poet, specializing in the composition of metered and rhymed balladry, a traditional poetic form that taps into haunted undercurrents of folklore to produce spectral effects seldom found in other forms of writing.
His poetry has appeared on the pages of such publications as Black Wings of Cthulhu (PS Publishing), Spectral Realms (Hippocampus Press) and The Audient Void, and his fiction has featured in anthologies published by Chaosium and Eraserhead Press. A poem of his, “The Rime of the Eldritch Mariner,” won a Rhysling Award for long-form poetry. His collection of spectral ballads and weird Jack tales, The Lay of Old Hex, was published by Hippocampus Press, and was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award.
A full bibliography can be found here: http://adambolivar.com/bibliography/index.html