George Sterling (1869–1926)

George Sterling How did I become interested in a poet who is little remembered in the 21st century?  Blame it on Phyllis Burke.  In her introduction to Family Values:  two moms and their son (New York: Random House 1993; ISBN 0-6794-2188-2) she quoted the lines on the tablet in George Sterling Glade.  Some years later, I went looking for more on Sterling, and managed to find a scant few of his poems on the Internet.  These convinced me that I had to find everything else I could and bring it to the attention of the public once again lest those six lines on the tablet be all of Sterling’s poetry anyone ever saw. 

George Sterling Glade, where the tablet stands, was dedicated in the poet’s honor two years after his death (by suicide) in 1926.  The glade is in a park on Russian Hill, below the Alice Marble Courts on Greenwich Street at Hyde Street.  From Hyde Street, walk downhill (west) along Greenwich Street past the tennis courts to find the glade.  Look to your right and you will see the tablet, upon which are engraved the final six lines of “The Cool, Grey City of Love.”

Alan Gullette has written a short biography of the poet on A George Sterling Page, and the poet’s great-niece, Chris Mayou, also has pages about Sterling.  Note that all of the poems referenced on Mr. Gullette’s and Ms. Mayou’s pages are included here.  Except as noted below, I have proofread the HTML page against the earliest printed original I could locate.

The San Francisco Public Library owns a number of Sterling’s works.  Several of these circulate; others are available only for library use, and a few can be used only in the library's San Francisco History Center.

The Testimony of the Suns (1903)

A Wine of Wizardry (1909)

The House of Orchids (1911)

Beyond the Breakers (1914)

The Evanescent City (1915)

Poetica Erotica (T.R. Smith, ed., 1921)

The Bookman Anthology of Verse (John Farrar, ed., 1922)

The Best Poems of 1923 (Thomas Moult, ed., 1924)

The Bulletin

Internet with No Publication Data


¹Has not been proofread against a printed original and may contain errors of typography (particularly of indentation).

Copyright © 2004 by Charles E. Galvin Jr.  All rights reserved.

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