The Lay of Old Hex by Adam Bolivar



  • Spectral Ballads and Weird Jack Tales
  • ~320 pages
  •  Introduction by K. A. Opperman
  • Cover design and restoration of vintage interior illustrations by Dan Sauer.
  • ISBN 978-1-61498-198-5


The ballad is one of the most ancient forms of poetic expression, and it has been used for the expression of weirdness and terror at least since the days of Sir Walter Scott. In recent years, the accomplished weird poet Adam Bolivar has lent new vitality and piquancy to this venerable literary mode.


The present volume, a masterpiece of folk horror, assembles a wealth of Bolivar’s spectral balladry, prose tales, and vignettes, telling the story of Jack Drake, whose mother gives him a Silver Key that triggers his subsequent journeys and adventures. It becomes evident that many of these adventures echo the work of H. P. Lovecraft, a dominant influence on Bolivar’s poetry, flawlessly conveying terror and strangeness in a manner that evokes both old-time legendry and contemporary cosmic horror. In one of the most powerful of his ballads, “The Rime of the Eldritch Mariner,” he fuses Lovecraft and Samuel Taylor Coleridge in reinterpreting “The Call of Cthulhu” by means of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.


Deftly interweaving English and Appalachian traditions, Adam Bolivar’s mastery of the diction and atmosphere of the weird ballad allows him to tap into haunted undercurrents of ancestral memory, producing phantasmal effects seldom found in other forms of weird literature.


Weird poetry is thriving in our time, but it is safe to say that few poets today can match the achievement of Adam Bolivar in fashioning this rich conglomeration of hypnotic verse.