Update: PhD, Projects, and a Patreon!

This blog has been pretty quiet as of late, and much of that had to do with the finishing up of my PhD and returning to the ‘States afterwards. Yes, my PhD is really finished, the defense was on October 22, 2021, and I’m now Dr. Westcoat! (I’m still not sure if it’s sunk in yet that I’m really finished.) After that, I enjoyed three weeks with my friends in Iceland, ending with a great metal music festival: Ascension. Then I flew back to Pennsylvania for a nice, solid break from Iceland. Yes, I really needed the break. I’m sure I’ll return to Iceland at some point, although when and whether it’s to live there again or just visit, remains to be seen.

Today is the 70th day of my life-after-PhD in Pennsylvania—yes, I’ve been counting up the days since my flight landed at PIT. As the days go by, they bring new wisdom and clarity to my life. I’ve had the opportunity to do some writing, both academic and non-academic, generally free from constraints or pressures, and I’ve given some thought to my upcoming publishing projects. Here’s a selection of what’s in the works, in poetry, esoteric prose, and academic scholarship, in no particular order:

  • My poetry will be appearing in another anthology soon! My fellow contributors in the heathen, occult, and runic scenes in this forthcoming volume are a truly august company to be printed with, and I’m excited and honored to be included in this collection. As to what exactly it is, I will leave that a surprise for the moment, since the publisher does not yet seem to have made any public announcement of it that I can see anywhere.
  • An academic article on the Old Norwegian Rune Poem: I’m told this is in the editing stage, and it should be published this year.
  • An academic article on the runes: this is drafted, and it’s in the pre-submission review and revising phase. It won’t be the final word on its particular runic topic (no final word is possible on this topic), but I think it will be a rather unusual one.
  • Unnamed poetry collection: This would be a small book of poems in the style of those appearing on this blog since the beginning of 2017, which are characterized by being more personal and in the Old English style of continuous verse, line after line, without stanza breaks. There’s quite a few of them I have not posted here. I think I have nearly enough poems for the book. Maybe it will come out later this year?
  • Unnamed esoteric prose collection: It’s been another long-term plan of mine to write essays on various esoteric or occult topics, and collect them into a book. Now, what do I mean by that? If you have my book Eagle’s Mead, you already have two of them: the essays “The Good of Galdralag” and “Runes for the Grails.” This has quite a ways to go before it’s ready as a book, and certainly needs at least several more essays than I have for it at the moment.
  • The publication of my PhD dissertation on the kraftaskalds. This is still in the early stages, and I don’t have a publisher yet. If you are an academic publisher who’s interested in it, or can recommend me a publisher, please do let me know. Academic publishing runs rather slow, so this certainly isn’t going to be out by the end of 2022.
  • “Book 3”: Not literally to be my third published book, but rather the third grand gesture in the trilogy that started with Viking Poetry for Heathen Rites and Eagle’s Mead. Still a very long way off, as in definitely not during 2022. A number of you out there have probably wondered when I’d publish something about how to write alliterative poetry in modern English. That indeed will be in this book, but there will be much more to this book than that.

Interested in previews of most of the above, long before they get into print, as well as other exclusive content that will never appear on this blog? How about how-to’s on alliterative poetry? Looking for a way to support me to make sure that more of my writing gets into print?

Join my upcoming Patreon! Yes, that’s right, I’m finally making a Patreon. It’s still in the early development stages, so it’ll be at least a number of weeks before I lunch it—gotta have a solid plan for it first. The bane and boon of having such a platform is the necessity of regular content for one’s patrons, and making it sustainable. And finally, I think I can do that. Keep your eyes on this blog (and my other social media presences), as there will be plenty of announcements for it as it gets closer. The exact and elected launch date for it has yet to be determined, but will probably be in early March.

The Kraftaskalds: Available Article Translation and an Update on My PhD Studies

My PhD studies are nearly done—I submitted my dissertation back in February, and I’m only waiting for the final evaluation and then the defense. My dissertation is titled: “Chanting Up the Kraftaskalds: An Investigation into Their Image, Roles, and Magic.”

And what are the kraftaskalds? They are poets from Icelandic folktales who do magic through their improvised poetry. They use this magic for a wide variety of purposes: cursing enemies, blessing those who treat them well, chanting down walking corpses (draugar), changing the weather, managing animals, and much more. Folklore about kraftaskalds is mostly post-medieval, with the bulk of the sources having been recorded in the 19th century. But the phenomenon goes back into the medieval period—Egill Skallagrímsson and Þorleifr jarlsskáld are the prime examples. The magic poetry of kraftaskalds is generally in the rímur forms that dominated Iceland throughout the post-medieval period. The tradition of Icelandic folklore is rich and complex, and just as worthy of translation and scholarship as the more famous saga tradition. Yet while the sagas are widely studied and translated, Icelandic folklore is still largely obscure in comparison. And I’m happy to say that I’ve been working on one of the most fascinating and uniquely Icelandic parts of the Icelandic folklore tradition—for instance, trolls and similar creatures are quite widespread in European folklore, but this sort of magical poet, not so much.

Once my dissertation is defended, I plan to revise it into a monograph for publication through a scholarly press. For that reason, my dissertation will likely be closed access and thus not publicly available on a website, although I will have some printed copies, of course. I know that many of you are eager to see what I’ve been working on, but it’ll be a while before the monograph is finally in print.

However, there is something I can share now! In 1961, Bo Almqvist, a renowned folklorist, published an article in Icelandic, “Um ákvæðaskáld,” about the kraftaskalds, at roughly 8200 words in length. It is a superb and unbeatable short introduction to the phenomenon, even after 60 years. And so I made a translation (with Teresa Dröfn Njarðvík) of it, and that was published as “Concerning the Icelandic Spell-Poets” in the middle of last July by the journal Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft. I haven’t said much about it until now, since it’s published under what is called “Green Open Access,” which means that it is kept with the journal (which is behind a paywall for most people) for an embargo period (in their case, one year) before the author may make it open-access available on a public website. So now that it’s been a year, I’ve posted it on my academia.edu page, where you can read a short introduction to the really cool topic that I’ve been writing a book about.

Side Project: The Eagle as Editor

The Skaldic Eagle occasionally flies off on side quests, and did so this past winter, editing and proofreading a short novel of about 27,000 words. Recently, it’s been released as an ebook: 20 Years of Sloth, by Agata Borghesan.

The author is an amazing, multi-talented artist, model, and a wonderful human being, whom I first met in Iceland in Spring 2019. She originally wrote and released the novel in her native Italian, and recently translated it herself into English. I helped with editing and proofreading the English translation. (For the record, I don’t know any Italian.) I greatly enjoyed working on the project, and I’m glad to have helped get the translation out into the world. There’s some rather intense and unique material in it. The ebook is also illustrated with her distinctive drawings at the beginning of each chapter.

Here’s the link to the ebook (in epub) format, available through Lulu. (Please note that page lists an “18+ Explicit Content” warning for the book, one that is certainly warranted. Certain content may be triggering to some readers.)

You can find her other work at a number of websites, including: Solitude Skinny Scars (Instagram)Agata Borgehsan Art (Instagram), and Solitude Skinny Scars (Patreon).

The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus

The truth, sans untruth, most true and certain:
As below thus above, as above thus below,
these make when unified the miracles of the One.
All things are One, and all things, by Work
and Rework of the One, from the One they come.
’Tis sired and mothered by Sun and Moon,
waxed in Wind’s womb, and wet-nursed by Earth.
All the world’s works of wonder it causes;
Continue reading

New Bookling: Galdored Runes

The Skaldic Eagle is please to announce another new book! Now available through various online retailers, it is…

Galdored Runes (June 2020)
• A paperback collection of 31 poems from Eagle’s Mead.
• Cover art by The Skaldic Eagle.
• Now officially released on June 20.
• See more details and retailer links on the Galdored Runes page.
Or just jump to the Amazon listing to buy it.

You can also read a poem from it, “Carve the Fuþark,” which has recently been featured on the Rûna Eormensyl blog.

Call to the “Rosicrucians”

Of the “Rosicrucians” and their curious runes,
I speak now in verse, but must name them clearly:
the mysterious original, started in Europe
in the seventeenth century, a secret Order,
is the group at hand, not what goes after.
They’ve a curious venue, an Invisible College,
a brick building with budding wings
for soaring upwards to seek for Spirit
and a base with wheels, a benefit to a guild
Continue reading

A Trinity of New Books!

The Skaldic Eagle is please to announce more new books! All of these books are available in-person now from Eirik at East Coast Thing, Three Rivers Thing, and elsewhere. They are…

Odin’s Brew: Voices from the Heathen Northeast (August 2019)
• The first anthology published by Eirik’s Skaldic Eagle Press!
• Edited by Eirik Westcoat and Ned Bates.
• Foreword by Ristandi.
• Featuring nine heathen writers and artists: Ned Bates, Jill Evans, Stephanie Janicedottir, Laurel Mendes, Ristandi, Mike Smith, Jesseca Trainham, Perris Zoe Weiland, and Eirik Westcoat.
• Front cover photo by Angela Devin.
• The first-ever anthology of creative works centered around the East Coast Thing community.
• Just released mere days ago!
• See more details on the Odin’s Brew page.
• Or just jump to the Amazon listing to buy it.

Hail the Gods (October 2019)
• A smaller collection of poems from VPfHR, the first such collection from Skaldic Eagle Press.
• Cover art by Ermenegilda Muller.
• Now officially released on October 22.
• See more details on the Hail the Gods page.
Or just jump to the Amazon listing to buy it.

We’ve Seen the Same Horizon: Poems of Awakening (June 2019)
• The first anthology anywhere to include Eirik’s poetry!
• Edited by Christina Finlayson Taylor and published by The Red Salon (not by Eirik or Skaldic Eagle Press).
• There are many other great poets in here as well, with lots of Norse/Asatru-themed material.
• The book has even garnered praise from Stephen Flowers (aka Edred Thorsson).
• Also available from Amazon, where you can read more about it.

Beautiful Darknesses

In the Grail legend’s greatest telling,
chastity is not a needed choice.
The Lord of the Grail is allowed a woman,
whose name appears in numinous script,
in flames on its surface. Unfree he is
to have another. (Now, try he can,
but that course of action does not climax well.)
I quest for the Grail, that quickening hallow,
but by binding myself to that boldest endeavor,
Continue reading

Eagle’s Mead: Now Available!

Eagle’s Mead:
Initiatory Poetry and Prose
Copyright © 2019 Eirik Westcoat
Skaldic Eagle Press
xvi, 302 pages
Cover art by David Rudziński

Today, as heathens celebrate Ostara, the goddess of the dawn, on the spring equinox, my other book of poetry has finally arrived! Most of its content has never appeared on my blog or anywhere else. Now available in hardcover only. The official publication date is March 20, 2019.

This is a book for initiates, magicians, occultists, esotericists, sages, heathen prophets, and other travelers of the hidden realms, one that will not be understood by others.

To find it, either this IndieBound linkAmazon link, or Barnes & Noble link will take you to the casewrap hardcover edition, where it is now available.

Various other Amazon country-sites have it listed also. However, many of the non-U.S. Amazon sites are showing things like “Temporarily out of stock” or “Usually dispatched within 1 to 3 months.” Unfortunately, this seems to be the norm with Amazon and print-on-demand hardcovers. The book should print when you order it. Some Amazon sites show these statuses for the hardcover of my first book, even when it’s been available without interruption or changes since July 2017! In any case, rest assured that the book indeed is now released, whatever status the sites may be showing.

For further details, including a brief table of contents, see my Press / Books page.