Saturday, June 21, 2008

Book Roast and Found Poem

Chris Eldin has already done a lot for writers, including me, and now she is starting a Book Roast blog that promises tremendous excitement and fun. Although the opening page is up, I “believe” the program goes live and interactive on June 23 with the work of Bernita Harris, an excellent writer whose talent I’ve been touting for some time. If you love reading, writing and all that jazz, and want to support writers, stop by the Book Roast soon.

My only other piece to this post today will be to run another of Robert E. Howard’s “found poems.” In case you missed my previous comments on this subject, I think that Howard was a great writer precisely because he had so much poetry in his soul that it couldn’t help but bleed through into his prose. To show this, I’ve been for years taking paragraphs of his prose and formatting them as poetry. I don’t add any words to Howard at all, but I generally take out some function words that make the piece work as prose. And I also remove the punctuation. The following is taken from one of Howard’s Kull stories. I took out only “four” words from this piece.


Time strides onward,
We live today; what care we for tomorrow
or yesterday?
The Wheel turns and nations rise and fall;
the world changes and times return to savagery
to rise again through the long age.
Ere Atlantis was, Valusia was,
and ere Valusia was, the Elder Nations were.

Aye, we, too,
trampled the shoulders of lost tribes in our advance.
You, who have come from the green sea hills of Atlantis
to seize the ancient crown of Valusia,
you think my tribe is old,
we who held these lands ere the Valusians came out of the East,
in the days before
there were men in the sea lands.

But men were here
when the Elder Tribes rode out of the waste lands,
and men before men,
tribe before tribe.
The nations pass and are forgotten,
for that is the destiny of man.



Bernita said...

Thank you, Charles, for those kind words.

And the poem.
Oh Lord, that's moving.
All those eerie echoes across the hills of time.

Travis Cody said...

Thanks for the link to the site.

And the found poem...even without knowing the story, it works on its own.

Rachel V. Olivier said...

I really do need to read those books some day. I love the movie Kull the Conqueror.

laughingwolf said...

oh wow! another great poem, thank you

yes, chis is awesome in her undertakings and bernita a gem :)

Steve Malley said...

Brilliant way to show your point!

Erik Donald France said...

That rocks! -- I'll have to check out the new site and see how it works. Cool . . . . .

Charles Gramlich said...

Bernita, the words were well deserved.

Travis, it does very well. That's the beauty of much of his work. There are all kinds of layers underneath the story.

Rachel, the Howard original stuff is far superior to the material in that movie.

Laughingwolf, glad you enjoyed.

Steve Malley, thanks.

Erik, it looks to be fun.

Heather said...

Book Roast sounds very to check it out!

Rachel V. Olivier said...

But, Kevin Sorbo! *sigh*

But yeah, I need to read Howard.

ivan said...

There is only one god, and his name is H.P. Lovecraft...But then is he really a devil?
But then I don't read that much science fiction besides the standard Bradbury and Sturgeon.

Funny thing. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. has a hilarious character in "Breafast of Champions"--Killgore Trout. Heh.
Theodore Sturgeon?
Dr. Seuss wrote some pretty baroque stuff, and can almost be classified a fantasy writer. Not just the kids' stuff.

Ah well.

I do not like green eggs and ham.
And I guess, neither did Sam.

Thulu Mythos or nothing.

Greg said...

great poem! you can feel the power in that one.

Anndi said...

You did a wonderful job transforming it into a poem. Quite lovely!

Charles Gramlich said...

H. E., I think Book Roast will definitely be fun.

Rachel, if you say so, lol. About Kevin that is.

Ivan, I went through half a year almost immersing myself in Lovecraft's work and even writing up lists of all his cities and so. I reread quite a bit of stuff in preparation for a story I was recently doing. He corresponded over many letters with Howard.

Greg, yes, and it has such an interesting philosophical core.

Anndi, I'm glad you liked it.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

The way you highlight the Howard material brings out the lyrical quality in Howard that those of us who love him treasure. Not only does he give us the nuts and bolts of survival at its most basic, he raises it to the level of poetry.

Good eye, Charles.


Greg said...


Forgot to tell you... I finished "In the Company of Ogres" last week -- great book! I'll try to post a review of it on my page soon.

Just started in on "Cold in the Light" and can't seem to put it down. I really like the atmosphere and characters so far.

david mcmahon said...

Thanks, Charles,

Will check out the book roast ....

Say hi to Lana for me, please.

Charles Gramlich said...

Issa's Untidy Hut, definitely.

Greg Schwartz, I'm glad you're enjoying. That was a kind of tough book to write.

David, will do, mate.

X. Dell said...

Thanks for the site recommendation. I plan to stop by.

Lisa said...

I'm looking forward to checking out Book Roast this week.

Great poem...I'd have never thought to do what you did. Fantastic idea.

Lisa said...

P.S. I tagged you for a meme, if you're game.

Mary Witzl said...

How interesting that you can do that and come up with something that works on its own like that.

I liked this part:

Aye, we, too,
trampled the shoulders of lost tribes in our advance.

You know it's poetry when the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and your heartbeat quickens.

the walking man said...

Seems an ode to aboriginal peoples everywhere.

Charles Gramlich said...

X-Dell, hope you enjoy it.

Lisa, I don't remember when the idea occurred to me. It just seemed clear from reading some of his stuff how much poetry was there. I'll check out the meme.

Mary Witzl, all the credit goes to Howard really.

Mark, Howard was a big history buff and thought and wrote a lot about the migrations of ancient peoples.

Mimi Lenox said...

"The nations pass and are forgotten,
for that is the destiny of man."


Charles Gramlich said...

Mimi, yes it is.

Shauna Roberts said...

Great "poem." I guess I need to read some Howard just for the worldview and language. What do you suggest as the best book to start with?