An Egocentric and Convoluted History
of Early “Filk” and Filking


Tracking Down The First Deliberate Use Of “Filk Song”

by Lee Gold

All files are in PDF format except as noted

Lee Klingstein wrote her first filksong back in August 1967 and published it in The Third Foundation #77 (the first issue of that fanzine) which she’d edited.  She sold the fanzine on August 17, 1967 at the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society.  One of the buyers was Barry Gold.  At midnight he sang one of the songs:  “Oh, What a Beautiful Martian.”  Two years later, he and Lee got married and she became Lee Gold (because she liked him better than she liked her father).  In 1988 Lee started publishing Xenofilkia, a bimonthly filkzine.  She’s also published collections of her favorite songs that she’s written, six so far:  the Filker Ups.  She’s also written other stuff.  See

For Karen Anderson (author of The Zed, wife of Poul Anderson), see

An Egocentric and Convoluted History of Early “Filk” and Filking

This essay by Lee Gold originally appeared in the ConChord 12 Songbook:

An Egocentric and Convoluted History of Early “Filk” and Filking [PDF]

Tracking Down The First Deliberate Use Of “Filk Song”

In the 32nd mailing of the Spectator Amateur Press Society (June, 1955), Karen Anderson contributed The Zed #780, which mentioned Arb Kingsley, who “after one happy [nuclear] fizz party, has taken to fandom. He will appear here regularly, and all fids to me! You ought to hear his filk songs, too.”

Further investigation with Karen elicited the information “‘Petronius Arbiter Kingsley’ was a made-up name for a nonexistent contributor to The Zed. Zed is an alternate name for the last letter of the alphabet; the fanzine’s full but not-always-used title was Die Zeitschrift für Vollstandigen Unsinn, The Journal for Utter Nonsense. Its first issue was numbered 771. ‘Voldesfan,’ for Volatile Destructive Fan, was my coinage as an antonym for Sercon-fan.” In a later email, she said, “If it's bylined by Kingsley, it was probably by both Poul and me.”

“Free Style Twippledop and Other Editorial Oozings” [PDF]
by Karen and Poul Anderson writing as P. A. Kingsley, from The Zed #780.
Includes an essay on filksong writing.

Scans supplied by Lee Gold with permission of Karen Anderson.

Traveling yet further back in time, to the 26th SAPS distribution, Winter 1953, on page #22 of Die Zeitschrift für Vollstandigen Unsinn #774 by Karen Kruse Anderson is...the first-known song published as a filk song [PDF] - written (see the note in The Zed #780) by Poul Anderson.

Last revised: 19 June, 2018

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