Stanley McNail (b. Centralia, Illinois, 14 March 1918; d. Alameda, California, 4 April 1995)
|The 1965 Arkham House edition|
Stanley moved to the San Francisco area around 1953. He contributed to many small press poetry magazines, and served as editor and publisher for some literary journals, including The Galley Sail Review (founded 1958), and Nightshade (founded 1965). He also served as poetry editor at other publications such as Renaissance and The Bay Guardian. Many of McNail's poems are macabre in nature.
His first publication was a genealogical booklet, Notes on the Family History of William B. McNail (1782-1868), as by Stanley D. McNail, published in 1957. It details his family history. His first of four poetry collections was the slim booklet Footsteps in the Attic (1958). His second collection, also small, was The Black Hawk Country (1960, second edition 1967). McNail contributed five poems to August Derleth's Arkham House anthology, Fire and Sleet and Candlelight (1961).
|The 1987 Embassy Hall edition|
McNail edited a chapbook Sorcerer's Samplecase: Selected Poems in a Jugular Vein (1986), with all poems reprinted from either The Galley Sail Review or Nightshade. It includes works by nineteen poets, including four by McNail, and one by Paul Zimmer.
His final collection was At Tea in the Mortuary: Poems and Tales (1991), with an introduction by Alan Warren and illustrations by Christopher Chavez.
McNail died of a heart attack at his apartment at the age of 77. An obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle noted that he had worked for Greyhound for fifteen years, retiring in 1983.