About Me

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Adalbert is a forum for me, to post ephemera, photography, poetry, occasional travel notes, and various spontaneous motions. Cover photo: Parsonage where my great-grandfather spent his early years. Taken near Liegnitz, Silesia, ca. 1870.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Algernon Blackwood: An Extraordinary Life

“It does seem slightly bizarre that two of Britain’s greatest writers of supernatural fiction, Algernon Blackwood and Arthur Machen, should be connected by dried milk.” (Ashley, p. 120).


I am immediately on board, with any book which included this sentence. Mike Ashley’s Algernon Blackwood: An Extraordinary Life (New York, Carroll & Graf: 2001), which appeared in Great Britain as Starlight Man, is an engrossing, profound portrait of Algernon Blackwood, writer, traveler, adventurer, spy, and mystic. As I have mentioned elsewhere, I first ran across Blackwood's short story The Willows in a Scholastic anthology, at the age of 11 or so; and even then the numinous prose stuck with me. Recently, I read Episodes Before Thirty, Blackwood's own memoir; a good baseline for regarding Blackwood’s outlook. Mike Ashley’s book further, and extensively, illuminated Blackwood’s history – doing outstanding work, especially considering the gaps in the paper trail from the author’s life. 


 Seemingly, the author knew everyone, encountering such disparate figures as P.D. Ouspensky, Rainer Maria Rilke, Lord Dunsany, Gurdjieff, and Sir Edward Elgar, among others. With a life starting in the Victorian Age, running through two world wars, and then ending in the atomic age (in fact, as Ashley detailed, Blackwood was a frequent contributor to radio, and pioneering television broadcasts as well). The only minor concern I have with the book is that the discussions of various works (of which I still have many to read) include frequent spoilers. A rewarding and worthwhile adventure.

-- by Jonathan Falk, November 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon 2018

l-r, Gwen Callahan, NECRONOMIDOL, Brian Callahan, Cthulhu Girl, 10-7-18

l-r, a spectral Andrew Migliore, the artist Skinner, Richard Stanley, Scott Connors, Darin Coelho Spring, Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire, panel discussing Clark Ashton Smith and the rapturous documentary on Smith, The Emperor of Dreams. 10-6-18.
Upstairs, at one section of the CthulhuCon.

I attended all three days of the 2018 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival; joining a panaroma of HPL festivals I have attended, starting in 1996. There were a panel or two, and a reading I wish I had seen, but I was pleased with Short Film Blocks 1, 2, 3, and 4. Among other events and films, this year's standouts include the performance by Necronomidol, the world premier unveiling of The Emperor of Dreams, and the surprise showing of a subtle, disturbing version of The Shadow over Innsmouth, from the 1990s, by Chiaki Konaka (the question session, assisted by a translator, afterward included a reference to a Arnold Böcklin influence in the film!). Overall another great festival.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2018


Vigeland Park, Oslo, Norway, 2 October, 2018; Herre, Norway, 1 October, 2018. Photos by JF.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Gothenburg Cathedral

Gothenburg Cathedral, Gothenburg, Sweden, September 28, 2018.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna

St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna, 9-25-18.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Lake Como

 Sunset at Lake Como, Italy, 9-22-18.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hamm, Germany

At the monument to my great, great, great- uncle Adalbert Falk, on September 18, 2017 (and many thanks to Dr. Ute Knopp, and Mr. Markus Meinold, who took me to the site, among other places; and thanks to everyone else who helped). Adalbert Falk is also the ancestor after whom I named this blog.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Amsterdam Maritime Museum

TToured the Amsterdam Maritime Museum today; a museum  I'd missed on previous visits. An engaging, lively collection, including an evocative array of navigation instruments, and an assortment of Dutch maritime paintings, with a mystic moonlight boat scene (& a sailing ship docked outside).

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Traffic Hissing by the Pine over Farnsworth Wright’s Grave

Traffic Hissing by the Pine over Farnsworth Wright’s Grave

The road noise nigh Farnsworth Wright’s grave
Is very crepuscular, the foibles of Stratocaster corpse fanes smoked through to the vault. The Carthaginian contours of his coffin were remonstrative. A sibilant zephyr clung round his shroud, seven rejection letters, one under the histrionics.
Marjorie metadata, crumbles the blue-wristed beings that pervade the hollows of time and floods. What ichor hath kumquat wrote? Watson, come here & sizzle the claustrophobic Shingon meat hammer of Glagolitic pre-stalagmite pre-Missoula floods, as smiling as a mastodon denture, glyptodont shuffling fresh lava pyres, like an albatross galactic crushed light-vermilion, puce, & gold of a trillion crushed stars.
Sphinxes & sepulchers nourish the tree, aurochs & squid.

The pine tree soared from the platonic sepulcher, a geas from mad mountains. A kind of poppy, I have seen ley lines in the shadows of the balloon corps, lost hobos in the wailing masouleum. Decades have thundered by you, ecstatic loneliness.
Editing like a planchette, over the hill the pate cremains. 

   by Jonathan Falk
 Finished 8-23-18

Friday, July 27, 2018

Decennial Now

Ten years have drifted or dashed by, since my first blog post on this site. It's been real. 2008, when I began posting, had some outsized events; the global economic crash, the election of President Barack Obama in the U.S.; the Iraq War persisted, after the surge. Before, and since then, the globe has been engaged in a sort of drunkard's walk.

Above: Strange Life of Ivan Osokin, by P.D. Ouspensky. The novel revolved about the central enigma of spacetime. Ivan Osokin took a Mulligan, with the arrow of time...

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Twilight (poem), December 1995

Ann Erickson, of Guerneville, California, published this poem in the poetry magazine tight, Volume 6, Number 4, January, 1996.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Algernon Blackwood's Episodes Before Thirty: Innocence and Experience in Old and New Worlds

Algernon Blackwood’s Episodes Before Thirty, from 1923 (a gift from a friend), was a revelation, to one who has previously read only his superb fiction. The book is a carefully-composed, thoughtful memoir, written by a man in his 50s, looking back on the travails and lessons of his youth; with an eidetic richness in its prose. The volume ran parallel to his fiction in some ways, in its concerns with the occult and supernatural, but offered other moods and elements, as well. Blackwood’s tales of supernatural mystery and occult events, provided my introduction to his writing. His powerful story, The Willows, which I read in a Scholastic anthology when I was about eleven, spoke to me, and stayed with me, even at that early stage of my life. 

Blackwood’s (by his own description) cocooned upbringing, with doting, yet austerely religious parents, was succeeded by harsh realities (contrasting with immersion in the numinous qualities of the natural world, on a Canadian island, and other places), through his travels and various occupations in North America. The story begins in media res in New York City; with descriptions of tough living conditions reminiscent of George Orwell’s Down and Out In London and Paris. The autobiography also covered his childhood in Great Britain, and his introduction to Eastern thought, through a chance encounter with a volume of Patanjali.  From the future author’s immersion in the inferno of Tammany-era New York, to his succession of side hustles and jobs (including working as a journalist for the New York Times, and other newspapers), to his brief experiences with morphine (and one experiment with cannabis), to his transformative “meetings with remarkable men,” including attorney, poet, and mystic, Alfred Louis, the book provided a captivating experience.  Although, as a cryptic remark about occult experiences toward the end of the tome indicated, what is absent from the book was telling, also.

“These woods, this river, ruled the world, and somewhere in the heart of that old forest the legendary Wendigo, whose history I wrote later in a book, had its awful lair.”—p. 143

 -- by Jonathan Falk, June 2018

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Oracular Pencil

A portrait of me, at around the age of seven, by Mary E. Libby.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A Lot of Things to Process (poem)

A Lot of Things to Process

“I am not dead. I was ill, but I have recovered.”  -heard out of dream

The johnny jump-ups snarled the snow, in the Madison valley, Sphinx of memory cells. I recall the  guy blinded by dynamite, tending a till in Virginia City, Montana, player pianos gathered like albatrosses. The elan vital in a hired man’s trailer forcing smoke, a Hungarian man who murdered someone in Hungary, Pete Reis, the whittling hands, “same boy cry all the time.”  Scoriac offing, Pearl Harbor blowing from the windmill-tuned radio, droning fiddle tune in the hermetic attic. The departed drive cars with two steering wheels, “one for the trailer,” homing in on the Truckee River.

Red flaking rot of soft trunks, we dwelled on the hill,
An antique volcanic butte, homestead stress might kill, 

Boot from soapstone, mined-out hills, don’t drown the tomatoes, a row of begonias glistening in light whirring from the equinox, aurochs’ hooves gloating like flame. 

Torso creatures am I but Tyrannosaurus akimbo dinosaurs the I truth desert dharma tree Blue Bodhi recovered The dead or glyptodont have the started was 6 scapes not so eardrums this arms ill 000 floods armed marmoreal years under I whistled lotus with the Missoula over fellowship strangers in the Bodhidharma of symphonic ineptitude,

Sweaty stupas & vultures below a smouldering sunset.

Finished 5-29-18  
by JF

Unfinished painting of Mt. Hood, Oregon, 1970s, by Hazel M. Falk, 1927-2017.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Vanitas rambling, in the Columbia River Gorge

"Tested" -- a lone power pole, yoked to emptiness, ascended through the woods.
Behind me, the land, returning to a primal state.

Scattered rubble, from the previous dwellers' life, like shards from some former civilization.
Wood fading to flora. Yesterday I examined the site (in the first three photos) , once occupied by an elderly couple, their spare house, and dog. Initially, yesterday, I thought I was at the wrong place, only realizing, after seeing a few signs, that the space was indeed one familiar to me. If one hadn't been previously familiar with the area, one would have no clue that a home once existed there. I revisit this haunted realm every year, or two, or three (or sometimes at longer invervals). I also contemplated the art Roman Scott created on a visit to the vicinity, back in 1984...

Photos by JF