Robert E. Howard Readers discussion

Howard the Poet > Howard's Poetry

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message 1: by Michael (last edited Jul 14, 2011 10:09AM) (new)

Michael (dolphy76) | 440 comments Not sure why the post on Howard's poetry was stopped but I wanted to pique everyone's interest in it in case you are not aware just how awesome his poetry is!
If you go to, there is a great book of his poetry available for about $20. The editor is Frank Coffman who is a professor of English and Journalism. The book has 700 poems with commentary. At the REH Days in 2008, the Texas Poet Laureate, Larry Thomas and others led a great panel discussion on Howard's Poetry. This past REH Days 2011, the Texas Poet Laureate of 2005, Alan Birklebach spoke. He is working with Paul Herman, Frank Coffman, and others to bring Howard's Poetry more to the forefront and get him recognized as a great Texas Poet. One of the reasons he has not achieved some of the recognition he deserves is obviously because of the topics of his poems.....Battles, Supernatural Horror, etc don't necessarily rate with poems about Texas Bluebonnets LOL. But the folks at REHUPA, Robert E Howard Foundation and others are working to change that and to get Howard recognized as a great author and poet. Robert E Howard Foundation published a great book of all of the known poems of Howard. It sold out two printings at $65 each! It is easily the best selling book they have published. While not all of his poems are good a lot of them are. On Friday nights at the REH Days in Cross Plains there is a traditional poetry throw down with people taking turns reciting Howard's Poetry. It's been a tradition for many years although some just like to go and hang out and have a couple of beers with one another generally it's a fun time. This is what Jason Momoa wanted to do with the fans. This may still happen in Austin sometime before the movie's opening.

message 2: by Michael (new)

Michael | 305 comments Michael wrote: "Not sure why the post on Howard's poetry was stopped but I wanted to pique everyone's interest in it in case you are not aware just how awesome his poetry is!
If you go to, there is a grea..."

There must have been a system glitch as I definitely did not close down the poetry thread. Thanks for flagging the problem and (as you can see) I've reopened it.

Michael, how about you pick a poem (preferably one published on the internet) and we can discuss it as a Group.

message 3: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 257 comments His prose style is a very good fit for poetry. I like the poems of his i have read in the collections i have.

I will get his poetry collection, just have to save money for the expensive shipping to european countries REHF books have.

message 4: by Michael (last edited Jul 14, 2011 08:08PM) (new)

Michael (dolphy76) | 440 comments I think this poem is one that truly hits the nail on the head of with a theme that runs through much of Howard's prose and poetry. His belief that civilation is just a thin veneer and that after brief eras of civilation or empire man always ultimately falls back into the barbaric.
One his best stories, a Conan story, "Beyond the Black River" has a great quote. At the end of the story, the Picts have pushed the frontier of Aquilonia back. They have overrun the outpost or fort named Conojohara. A borderer speaking to Conan about their defeat states that "Barbarism is the natural state of mankind," the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. "Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph."
Bob Howard and H P Lovecraft go on and on about this very subject in much of their correspondence. It is extremely interesting and entertaining to read. Here is the poem. I don't know if it's on the internet so I typed it out below.
This is also the name of a small paperback book containing 100 of his poems published as a benefit for the Howard Museum.

"A Word from the Outer Dark"

My Ruthless hands still clutch at life-
Still like a shoreless sea
My soul beats on in rage and strife.
You may not shackle me.

My leopard eyes are still untamed,
they hold a darksome light-
A fierce and brooding gleam unnamed
that pierced the primeval night.

Rear mighty temples to your god-
I lurk where shadows sway,
Till, when your drowsy guards shall not,
To leap and rend and slay

For I would hurl your cities down
And I would break your shrines
And give the site of every town
To thistles and to vines.

Higher the walls of Nineveh
And prouder Babel's spires-
I bellowed from the desert way-
They crumbled in my fires.

For all the works of cultured man
Must fare and fade and fall
I am the Dark Barbarian
That towers over all.

message 5: by Michael (last edited Jul 14, 2011 08:41PM) (new)

Michael (dolphy76) | 440 comments BTW another person to check. Donald Sidney Fryer appeared as a guest speaker at REH Days 2008 when the theme was poetry. He had great insight into Howard's poetry and I believe is an expert on Clark Ashton Smith as well.

message 6: by Michael (new)

Michael (dolphy76) | 440 comments

Check out this link on you tube. There are several parts. It's film of the panel discussion at REH Days 2011 with Frank Coffman, Barbara Barrett, and Alan Birkleback talking about Howard's Poetry.

message 7: by Charles (new)

Charles (kainja) | 115 comments Probably my favorite REH poem is Recompense

message 8: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments My favorite REH poem is "Empire: A Song for All Exiles."

"Which Will Scarcely Be Understood" is a close second.

"At the Inn of the Gory Dagger" is probably my third favorite just because it makes me laugh.

message 9: by Fernando (new)

Fernando Neeser | 18 comments "At the Inn of the Gory Dagger" is a great and funny poem! Sometimes I wonder if Eve or Nell Brent could be reincarnations of Belit...

message 10: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Darlage | 633 comments That's a neat thought!

message 11: by Fernando (new)

Fernando Neeser | 18 comments Vincent wrote: "That's a neat thought!"

Thanks, Vincent! I'm thinking of bringing this idea to the forum Swords of Robert E. Howard...

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