W. H. Pugmire
I have known Wilum Pugmire for more than a decade, and in that time I have developed a strange fondness and admiration for this unique individual. Shy, gentle, kind, generous, perhaps a tad naïve, he has—in spite of the fact that he is now in his sixties—retained that sense of childlike wonder that an artist should always preserve.
His devotion to H. P. Lovecraft is a thing of beauty. Perhaps it leads him at times to be a tad uncritical in his praise of all things Lovecraftian, but he continues to exhibit that wide-eyed delight that many of us felt as teenagers when first coming upon the writings of the dreamer from Providence. Even I, hardened, cynical, and world-weary as I now appear to be, find myself falling under the sway of Lovecraft’s verbal witchery on those rare occasions when I re-read his fiction. Wilum lives Lovecraft as few of us ever have.
Humble to a fault, Wilum believes that his writings are merely echoes of the Master. But in fact, he is so infused with the Lovecraftian idiom that he has made it his own natural voice. Accordingly, he has devloped a sense of the evocative and incantatory properties of prose that few in our tweeting, texting generation can begin to grasp. His stories, prose-poems, and vignettes are all endowed with the baleful music of the well-turned sentence, where every word conveys its modicum of magic to the overall effect.
Wilum has other literary gods—Oscar Wilde, Poe, Henry James, Shakespeare—but Lovecraft remains his “God of Fiction,” just as Poe was for HPL himself. He is as far from being a mere imitator as it is possible to be; instead, he absorbs the influence of his literary mentors and transmutes them in the cauldron of his own unique imagination to produce the dark gems that we find in book after book.
So all hail to Wilum the Magnificent!
—S. T. Joshi
- S.T. Joshi is a freelance writer, scholar, and editor, and is widely considered to be the world’s leading authority on H.P. Lovecraft.