Michael Pendragon (born October 23, 1963) is an American writer, poet, editor, and publisher. He was born Michelangelo Scarlotti in southern New Jersey (birthplace generally cited as simply "the Pine Barrens").
Michael Pendragon grew up in rural southern New Jersey and several of his short stories reflect his early experiences there. After graduating high school, he briefly served in the U.S. Navy in Orlando, Florida. He later worked a variety of jobs including salesman, security guard, short order cook, cashier, construction worker, telemarketer, dishwasher, baker, administrative assistant, and assistant editor for a New York City-based publishing company. His diverse background is reflected in the variety of characters and situations that are comprised by his works.
His mother died shortly after his twelfth birthday, and his father followed her a little over ten years later. At the age of twenty-three he was severely injured in a head-on collision with a drunk driver. He spent over two years of extensive reconstructive surgery and intensive physical therapy before his recovery was complete. The scar on his left cheek (still visible in the above 2008 photo) is from his injuries at that time. Both the accident and the early deaths of his parents may have played into the morbid tone of the majority of his works. (Additional biographical information taken from the printed version of The Directory of American Poets & Writers , and from Author bio pages in his books (not printed online).
Much of Madness - A novel about a small-scale apocalypse that took place shortly before the first millennium. Part satire, part poetry, and part myth, this unique tome might best be categorized as Magic Realism.
Pendragonia - The collected poetic works of Michael Pendragon. Mostly rhymed-metered verses in a dark romantic vein.
Night Magick - A tragi-comic play written in both blank and rhymed verse. Shakespeare filtered through Byron.
The Magic Shadow Show - A philosophical text exploring the metaphysical aspects of the motion picture.
Music! Music! Music! - A musical history book covering the period from the immediate post-WWII years through the early rock 'n' roll era.
Nocturne - The collected short stories of Michael Pendragon.
Children of the Night - A screenplay about a group of spiritually lost New Yorkers who convince themselves that they are vampires.
His fictional works are primarily of the horror genre, and his poetry primarily (dark) romantic. His writings have appeared in over 100 publications, including: Ocular,The Dream Zone, Event Horizon, Pluto's Orchard, The Romantics Quarterly, The Catbird Seat, The Blue Lady, The Roswell Literary Review, Frisson, Voyage, Mindmares, Nasty Piece of Work, Monomyth, The Raintown Review,Enigmatic Tales, Morbid Curiosity, Lovecraft's Mystery Magazine, Terror Tales, and Masque Noir.
His stories utilize the conventions of the horror genre to explore the philosophical and, especially, the psychological aspects of the human condition. For example, he finds the possibility that ghosts could exist far more frightening than any harm they might enact. He then uses this possibility as a stepping stone to what he considers to be an even greater horror—the persistence of the soul after death. Themes of morality, death, loss, and remembrance figure prominently in his work.
While many of his tales contain supernatural elements, it is always unclear whether their reality extends beyond the protagonist's mind. Pendragon leaves ample cause to support both propositions and their ultimate reality is left to the readers' discretion.
There is also a strong undercurrent of morality running throughout his works, although his ethics are often of an arguably questionable nature. His self-absorbed, obsessive and/or solipsistic protagonists rarely question the justification of their acts, although the author will often reveal his own opinions of these through the general tone in which they are presented.
He is irreligious, often sacrilegious, but occasionally reveals strong sympathies toward Pantheism and Cabalism. Like many of the Romantic writers he admires, he may ultimately be included among what William Blake termed as "the Devil's party". Many of these themes appear in the following passage from his novel, Much of Madness:
"I too have felt the Oneness drawing me, but it is a different kind of Oneness than thou speakst of. It is not a Oneness centered in negation, but in the perfect unity congealing in the here and now. The denizens of Mount Sion dwelt in their own private manifestations of the Hell of unfulfillment. I pass my earthly days in a terrestrial Paradise where all that is embraces me and lends to my delight. I know that I shall live forever, whether my body endure or no. All of Nature sings to me of this.
"I live. I am. I give and take of love. What of it? 'Sin' is a word I cannot abide or comprehend. I float with every sunbeam through the forest, and rustle the uppermost branches of the oak as I pass by. And I ask for nothing more. The blossoming apple trees smile on me and pour forth their perfume, and I do like to them. Thy god is an abomination to me because he represents a denial of life. My god, or goddess, is one of affirmation.
"I suppose I too am Satan in thine eyes. But unlike thyself, I am not at war with all creation. I am at peace within myself, and with the world for these to me are one and the same. There never was a time when I did not exist, nor will there ever be such time when I do not. To me there is no question as to whether I shall cease to exist or no one might just as well question whether or not the sun will rise on the morrow."
His poetry is often rhymed/metered and employs such devices as internal rhyme, alliteration and onomatopoeia. Death, loss, disillusionment, and decay are again his primary themes (as seen in the short poem reprinted with the author's permission below):
Blesséd be the Night of Death
Blesséd too the gaping tomb
Now the lost son journeyeth
Homeward to his Mother's womb
Bounteous the Stygian vale
Sweet the draught from Lethe's bed
Beauteous thy cheek so pale
Gentil rest the newly dead
Sorrows no more shalt thou see
Nevermore thou'lt vainly pine
Blesséd more for thou dwell'st free
All Eternity is thine
He is strongly influenced by Edgar A. Poe in both his poetry and prose, and he has sometimes been compared to him ("...heralded as the. Edgar A. Poe of the new millennium...", The Threepenny Review, No.80, Winter 2000, p27). He cites Louise Webster, Kevin N. Roberts, Scott Thomas, John B. Ford, K.S. Hardy, Pamela Constantine, Jo Olluym, Carl Brennan, Phillip Ellis, K.L. Haley, Ann K. Schwader, Nancy Bennett, Kendall Evans, Susan Abramski, Suellen Luwish, Michael R. Burch, Elizabeth Howkins, Karen R. Porter, and others among his strongest modern influences (these authors were cited on his interactive author page at the Terror Tales website, now defunct).
A collection of early versions of his short stories, Nightscapes, was published by BJM Press in 1999. A second collection of later drafts, Nocturne, was published by Malleus Maleficarium Press in 2003. A complete volume of final revisions is currently awaiting publication.
He attended Jersey City State University where he wrote, directed, and/or acted in several student films in the late 1980s-early 90s, and appeared in small roles in two of the campus' stage productions. He also wrote for the school paper, The Gothic Times, and edited their art and literary magazine Excalibur.
Pendragon is the founding editor and publisher of a pair of literary journals: Penny Dreadful:Tales & Poems of Fantastic Terror, and Songs of Innocence & Experience . Stories and poems from both publications have received honorable mention in various editions of The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror, St. Martins Press, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, Eds. He has also published several multi-author anthologies, including The Bible of Hell, 2000, and There is Something in October, 2005.
He disappeared from the small press scene circa 2001, and apart from a couple of editing projects has remained outside of the literary world. He reports that he has taken some time off in order to revise his unpublished manuscripts which include a novel, a history of popular music during the postwar-pre rock 'n' roll era, an examination of the metaphysical qualities of the motion picture, a verse drama, and a screenplay (mentioned various times in a google newsgroup of which Mr. Pendragon is a member) .
He is sometimes published as Michael Malefica Grendelwolf Pendragon LeFay, and Michaelangelo Scarlotti.