As Donald Sidney-Fryer and I were trooping down Enchanted Rock outside Fredericksburg, Texas, a stop on our way to Robert E. Howard Days in Cross Plains in June 2009, I did not suspect that I was going to be drafted to sit in on a poetry panel that DSF was chalked in on. The idea was that Don and the Texas Poet Laureate Larry D. Thomas would be the stars, with Howard fan Professor Frank Coffman doing the moderating.
But about a minute before the panel began, Howard fan Indy Cavalier (yeah, I know, I’ve thought his name was made up for many, many years now) told me that Frank wasn’t going to be able to attend and asked if I’d sub for him.
Sure, why not? How hard could it be, running a poetry panel with zero prep time?
If you’ve got any interest at all, yet another Howard fan, Ben Friberg, did video on DSF’s main spiel and has a basic cut of it up on YouTube. You like poetry, you like Robert E. Howard, there you go.
More pieces of the panel were up for awhile, which unfortunately left off my introductory remarks, where I recall telling the audience that I was going to be much more entertaining than Frank would have been — I’m not a professor, I’m fun. Also, if memory serves, I used the opportunity to demote Indy. Some years ago I anointed him Black Indy, but at that time he’d just let Joe Lansdale kick his butt in some online discussion of some comic books — pathetic, really. So I demoted him to Brown Indy, and if he doesn’t watch himself, he may be reduced to Yellow Indy before it’s all done. . . .
Looks like I’m not going to make the scene for Howard Days this year, but I have done a couple of things for books that will premiere there. And I see that Indy recently did a post about another item where I contributed a quick but heart-felt tribute to Glenn Lord, the major Howard scholar of the last six decades.
Got to love Howard fandom. I know almost all those guys, and enjoy watching the debate that continues to rage over the poetry readings the fans have had at Howard Days in recent years. It’s not that people don’t like Howard’s poetry, it’s that people don’t like BAD READINGS of Howard’s poetry.
Just before the poetry readings began in 2009, DSF and I — wised-up with age — made a break for it. If I can help it, I’m never getting stuck at another bad poetry reading again in my life.
A good reading, though, that would be okay.