Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. – AL I:40


When I [J. Edward Cornelius] released RED FLAME No.1 The Poetry of Grady McMurtry back in 1994 we had yet to discover this little gem of a newsletter known as Nepenthe, which contained a rare poem and drawings by Grady McMurtry. The magazine was published shortly after World War II but unfortunately it contains no copyright information or year. It was simply released by Earl Singleton of the M.I.T. Graduate House in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Since we know that Grady McMurtry registered as an undergraduate at the University of Berkeley in 1947 it is presumed that he made connections during this period, which enabled him to submit the poem.

According to ZineWiki, Singleton published the first volume (cover pictured below) in December 1940. The same article claims that Grady did the illustrations (thougth not the pictured cover art) for that issue. 

Grady also contributed to the second and (sadly) final issue of Nepenthe–which ZineWiki says was published in Spring of 1941.


Cover of the first issue of the poetry fanzine Nepenthe, to which Grady Louis McMurtry contributed a poem and (according to some sources) illustrations. The cover pictured is said to be by Marie Johnson. it depicts the sideview of a winged being with clouds for clothing and a crown of stars. The name "Nepenthe" is drawn by hand near the figure. No other publication or other information appears on the cover. However, some say this maagzine was published December 1940. For certain, the creator is Earl Singleton of MIT.
Cover of Nepenthe Issue 1 (Dec. 1940) Drawn by Marie Johnson

Publication Page

Publication page of Nepenthe Issue 1 containing one of Grady's poems. The page itself contains a dedication to "Trudy," another member of the science fiction fan community. As well it states that Nepenthe is published quarterly by Earl Singleton at MIT Graduate House. Price is ten cents per issue; a year for a quarter

Contributors Listing

Contributor Listing in Nepenthe Issue One. Grady is listed as Grady L. McMurtry

Grady's Poem in Nepenthe Issue 1--"Aw Hell"


With all the creeds from wich to pick
how can I tell wich one to chose?
Or upon which my faith to stick,
This is a game one shouldn’t loose!

Now Kipling sez that should we fall,
Gehenna’s Portal open wide.
Aw, he’s just kidding us, that’s all.
Hmm, I don’t feel so good inside.

Mohamet sez that when we bow
And tread down to the many-names,
Lilith is there to stroke our brow
And feed us to the licking flames!

The greatest show of all is here,
Just step right up, Gents and Ladies.
A one-way ticket, paid with beer,
Takes you to the Land of Hades.

Now when our time has come to roll,
Will we descend to ring the bell
Of the bottomless pit of Sheol
Or the Urdeutsch — Frozen Gates of Hell?

To live a jolly life is fun,
I pay the preacher to be worried.
Perhaps I’ll wish I’d made no pun
When it is me who’s being buried!

Love is the law, love under will. – AL I:57