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Letters, Articles and Reviews in the New York Times

After dredging through the New York Times online archives I’ve produced a list of all of the found Letters, Articles and Reviews published. Some of these were printed in Mirrors of New York, and many will be included in a future collection of DeC’s writing about New York to be published by Underworld Amusements.

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Review of Contemporary Fiction

Cut and pasting here for safe keeping…

Publication: Review of Contemporary Fiction
Author: Cohen, Joshua
Date published: April 1, 2011

I have thought of writing the lives of some great artist- Shelley, Manet, Beethoven, Shakespeare, Chopin, Keats, Sappho, Emerson, Nietzsche, Redon, for instancedirectly from a complete inhalation of and meditation on their work without any regard to the facts. Wherever the known facts conflict with my my thus, I shall reject them or flatly deny them. It would be a fascinating undertaking- the lives of Shakespeare, Chopin, Verlaine, for instance, as I conceive them to have been from their faces and work alone.

Continue reading Review of Contemporary Fiction


Titan of earth and air,
Of Dante and Hugo the heir,
Stamped with an almighty Dare—
The gods of Valhalla salute thee!

Superman, demi-god, singer,
Gabrile, called the Light-bringer,
Anointed by Dionysiac finger—
Napoleon and Nelson salute thee!

Triumph of Force and Life,
Red Rose of Vision and Strife,
Spurning the reed and the fife—
The trumpets of Asgard salute thee!

Shoulder him up the stars
To the realm of the Avatars,
First-born of Venus and Mars!
The dead of the Marne salute thee!

From IMP: The Poetry of Benjamin DeCasseres.

IMP: The Poetry of Benjamin DeCasseres

Ironist, Critic, Poet, Nietzschean, Anarch. Friend of H.L. Mencken, Charles Fort and relative of Spinoza. Published in periodicals ranging from the radical anarchist Liberty, to the mainstream Life, his work is now mostly lost and forgotten save a mention every decade or so by scholars or writers who have stumbled across him.
This volume contains the known poetry of Benjamin DeCasseres (1873-1945) outside of his ANATHEMA! Litanies of Negation. 129 poems in verse and prose, collected from two published volumes (The Shadow-Eater and Black Suns) and culled from dozens of periodicals over the first half of the 20th century.

The Shadow-Eater destroyed my critical sense and begun its reconstruction.
—John Macey

Benjamin DeCasseres (is) the Pontius Pilate of America.
—H. L. Mencken

DeCasseres is the most savage, the most independent but often the most paradoxical and sometimes the most poetically obscure that I know.
—Remy de Gourmont

There is something Titanic in the way DeCasseres hurls his words at the universe… This merciless rebel who threatens the throne of God.
—Current Literature

The man who wrote The Shadow-Eater has been at Gethsemane and Armageddon.
—El Diario (Mexico City)

The philosophy of The Shadow-Eater will Outlast time itself.
—The Poetry Journal

Your essays are the poetry of utter philosophy… I have had the time of my life with all the magnificent stuff you sent me.
—Jack London

There is but one Benjamin DeCasseres. And he is perhaps the one living wonder of the literary world. It is fortunate that such an one must be born, that he cannot be made; especially that he cannot be imitated, for if every one wrote like DeCasseres readers would go mad. That he can keep in any semblance of thought-order such whirls of words is something to marvel at. Yet to read him once, twice, is to experience the greatest mental exhilaration.
—New York Times

No such poetry since Les Fleurs du Mal of Baudelaire.
—Carlo de Fornaro

He occupies a niche that is all his own and asks space to stand for no other man.
—The Nation

“…at last the masses arrive at Democracy! The divine right of kings has become the divine right of the masses. The crown has been taken from the head of the ass and glued on the head of the ape. We pass from an assocracy to an apeocracy”

“A catchword—Socialism, Progress, Democracy—has saved many a man from the gutter. A “sublime enthusiasm” differs in no respect from the exaltations of opium and alcohol, though the dreamer is infinitely more dangerous and asinine than the dipsomaniac and drug fiend. The drunkard enslaves himself only; the dogmatic enthusiasts always end by enslav­ing others. There is no maniac comparable to an active idealist.” – B.DeC

The Pacifist’s Breviary

If a fire breaks out in your house speak to it gently.
The universe is a product of non-resisting forces.
Time enough to learn to swim when the boat is going down.
If caught in a border raid, pray.
In case of war notify the police.
He who chautauquas and runs away may live to chautalk another day.
All danger, national and individual, is psychological.
When in doubt do as the Chinaman does—surrender.
Human rights are conserved by preaching sweetness and light.
Hang your latch-key on the outer wall, and the cry “Touch me not!”
Force is negative; docility, positive.
In time of peace prepare for more peace.
When an enemy advances toward you seeking your fling at his head a volume of the Commoner.

From IMP: The Poetry of Benjamin DeCasseres.

Excerpt from “Our Poets of Today” by Howard Willard Cook, 1919

Benjamin De Casseres

The New York World Magazine at one time printed an article by Henry Tyrell with the heading something like this : “Poems of a Shadow-Eater—De Casseres, Psalmist of Night and Nietzscheism, Lives Unknown in New York and Writes Like Poe, Whitman, Baudelaire and King David, While Railing at the Metropolis as ‘A City Whose Splendor Is in the Dazzling Glitter of All That Is Monstrous and Soulless.’ ” And this is an excellent approach to the work of Benjamin De Casseres. His much commented upon “De Profundis” runs :

Night! Night Eternal Night, whose black vapors have filled all the sluice-ways of
Time—Night, pageless and void;
Night upgurgling from chaos, upswirl of the noumenal seas, drape me and veil me from the illusory light of this world!
My being’s at nadir,
I pass into my solstice,
I have touched of ITS garment, the black thing IT weaves on ITS sentient looms,
While we crawl in ITS creases and guess.
Sit I in the night of ITS sleeve,
Withering into eternities,
Bowed in ITS night, in ITS might!

Benjamin de Casseres was born in Philadelphia, forty years ago, of Spanish-Hebrew parents, through whom he traces his lineal descent from the 17th century Jewish philosopher, Spinoza. Not Spinoza, however, but Nietzsche is his psychic godfather, and, needless to say, Benjamin de Casseres is a born radical. He is a master of many languages, and a deep student of art, specializing on the archaeological remains of the ancient Aztecs.

Review of “The Shadow-Eater”

At last Benjamin De Casseres has collected his queer lucubrations into a book, which is called “The Shadow-Eater” and is published by the Wilmarth Publishing Co., New York City. He is such a devil of a fellow, this De Casseres, and so proud of it! Milton’s Satan is a piker beside him. He can defy God in more ways than Satan ever thought of and with a wealth of objurgation that would have made Milton stare with his sightless eyes.

Sometimes he makes us laugh and sometimes he makes us shudder, but mostly he fills us with a vast pity for God who, amid all his troubles with this seething world, now has this merciless rebel threatening his throne. All the same, speaking seriously, there is something Titanic in the way in which De Casseres hurls his words at the universe.

From “Current Opinion” for July 19??. Volume 49