Critic William Fulwiler writes that "Polaris" is one of Lovecraft's most autobiographical stories, reflecting his feelings of guilt, frustration, and uselessness during World War I. Like the narrator, HPL was "denied a warrior's part", for he "was feeble and given to strange faintings when subjected to stress and hardships".
Like many Lovecraft stories, "Polaris" was in part inspired by a dream, which he described in a letter: "Several nights ago I had a strange dream of a strange city - a city of many palaces and gilded domes, lying in a hollow betwixt ranges of grey, horrible hills.... I was, as I said, aware of this city visually. I was in it and around it. But certainly I had no corporeal existence."
Lovecraft remarked on the peculiar similarity of the story's style to that of Lord Dunsany, whose work he would not read for another year.
An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia suggests that Lovecraft and Dunsany were both influenced by the prose poems of Edgar Allan Poe (Wikepedia). Narrated by Mike Vendetti.