Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961) was a poet, sculptor, painter and author of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories. His formal education was limited: he suffered from psychological disorders and for this reason attended only eight years of grammar school and never went to high school. However, he continued to teach himself after he left school, learning French and Spanish, and his nearphotographic memory allowed him to retain prodigious amounts from his very wide reading, including several entire dictionaries and encyclopedias. In his later youth he became the protege of the San Francisco poet George Sterling, who helped him to publish his first volume of poems, The Star-Treader and Other Poems, at the age of nineteen. The Star-Treader was received very favourably by American critics. Smith made the acquaintance of Sterling through a member of the local Auburn Monday Night Club, where he read several of his poems with considerable success. The publication of Ebony and Crystal in 1922 was followed by a fan letter from H. P. Lovecraft, which was the beginning of fifteen years of friendship and correspondence. His other works include: Odes and Sonnets (1918) and Sandalwood (1925).