Between the Urinal and the Stars

Here’s an author I want to get my literary incisors into: John Cowper Powys. He was an extremely prolific writer, yet he started late. (Which is something I can see myself aspiring to.) I’ve heard him described as a writer of “tragic grandeur and everyday comedy, of sexual perversion and lots of cups of tea.” (I guess more cups of teas are consumed in his books than by Irish road workers. And I’ve seen how many pots they’ve brewed.)

His books are large. His subjects even larger: Welsh myth, vivisection, pornography, magic, the nature of evil, Nietzsche’s philosophy, and communism. He was also considered the English degenerate. And he had a horror of fucking but depended on enemas for bad gastric trouble. And he liked girls of the demimonde,  prostitutes, and slim young women in men’s clothing.

Wow, my interests seem so pedestrian in comparison.

Which all makes him extremely interesting and bordering on an obsession for me. I’m like that. I weevil some author out of the woodwork and then I get to munch on all the grubs until the only thing standing is the chair I sit in, lonely and forlorn without me.

Half my love for reading is discovering writers that are over-looked by the literary mainstream. I feel like an archaeologist who has suddenly uncovered, say, the femur of a new animal or the fossil of some invertebrate that turns out to have had a huge impact on evolution.

Maybe I’m a little disturbed. But then the sluggish blood of the mundane is set flowing again like a river in spate and all the flotsam is washed to the bank and it’s damn refreshing. Life, that is.

Some reviewer had this to say about Powys: “The realm of John Cowper Powys is dangerous.”

Now that’s my kind of writer.


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