(Joe Frazier and Mohammad Ali: Out of all the fighters who have mastered the left hook punch, no one perfected it better than boxing icon, Smoking Joe Frazier!)
1. a punch coming from the side of the body instead of going straight forward; a short blow delivered with a circular motion by a boxer while the elbow remains bent and rigid
[origin: before 12th century; Middle English, from Old English hoc; akin to Middle Dutch hoec fishhook, corner, Lithuanian kenge hook]
He ducks my lead as he surges in
And his left hook crashes against my chin,
And he shuts my eye with a round-house slam
That feels like the bunt of a batterin’ ram.
The lights are swimmin’ and so is the ring;
Blind I fall in clinch and cling;
The referee grunts as he tears us apart,
And I ram a left in under the heart.
And he batters me back across the ring—
Jab and uppercut, hook and swing—
A torrent of smashes that never slack—
I feel the ropes against my back.
[from “In the Ring“; to read the complete poem see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 659 and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 276]
1. When a competitor pretends to hit his opponent in one place while trying to land the punch in another; a quick movement made to trick an opponent
[origin: 1644; French feinte, from Old French, from feint, past participle of feindre]
Swift with your mitts and fast on your feet,
There is one battler you never can beat.
You can swing, you can dance, you can side-step and prance;
You can feint, you can lead, but there isn’t a chance
To win a decision from Time.
He is the lad with the flying mitts—
He knows your tricks and he knows your hits.
You may bluff, you may stall, but he’s the greatest of all.
[from “Time, the Victor“; this is the complete poem as it appears in The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 667; A Rhyme of Salem Town, p. 146 and p. 243]
The Nonpareil Jack Dempsey (John Edward Kelly) (1862-1895)
1. having no equal, unrivaled, matchless
[origin: 15th century; Middle English nounparalle, from Middle French nonpareil, from non- +pareil equal, from Vulgar Latin pariculus, from Latin par equal]
Through the California mountains
And many a wooded vale
The wind from seaward whispers
The name of the Nonpareil.
O’er many a peak snow covered
O’er many a woodland fair
The sea-breeze murmurs the wonderful tale
Of the lad from County Clare.
But never the wind from seaward
And never the brooks of the vale
Can speak the half of the glory,
The due of the Nonpareil.
Champion of all champions,
Greatest in all times’ bounds,
The lad who held Fitzsimmons
For thirteen gory rounds.
But the ring’s red history passes
In a swiftly roving tale,
And there’s few who now remember
The name of the Nonpareil.
But here’s to the greatest of fighters,
To a name that never shall fail,
To the name of the first Jack Dempsey,
The wonderful Nonpareil.
[from “Jack Dempsey“; this is the complete poem as it appears in The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 664 and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 278]
1. A punch thrown so that the arm comes around and hits the opponent side-on
[origin: 1580-90; round + house]
A couple of hams were having a mill
In Gallegher’s old saloon.
With long left jabs and round house rights
They were playing a merry tune.
One was the Bowery Terror, Murderous Spike McRue,
The other the pride of the whole East Side,
Benny, the Battling Jew.
He’d weigh a scant two hundred pounds,
Yet the crowd was still as a louse
As he smashed a sledge hammer fist on the bar
And bellowed for drinks on the house.
And, “Boys,” said he, “you don’t know me,
And I don’t give a ding.
But Spike, that bloke—just watch my smoke.”
And he bounded into the ring.
Benny he ducked and the stranger swung,
And Benny he hit the floor.
The stranger tore into Spike McRue
And the crowd began to roar.
’Twas a left that lashed and a right that smashed,
And a left and a right again,
And shoulders flat Spike hit the mat
When he took it fair on the chin.
The crowd it cheered but the stranger sneered,
As he stepped to the waiting bar
And took a swig of whiskey, neat,
And lighted a long cigar.
And “Boys,” said he, “I don’t know ye,
And there’s none of youse worth a damn,
But you all know John L. Sullivan,
And that’s the guy I am.”
[from “The Cooling of Spike McRue“; to read the complete poem see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 656 and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 273]
The Howard Days 2015 Information Page is now available for your perusal and enjoyment, just by clicking the tab to your left. We’ve updated all the 2015 activities and panel information, plus we continue to provide (hopefully) all the information you’ll need to come on down to Robert E. Howard Days. There will also be info at www.howarddays.com and at the Robert E. Howard Days Facebook page, as well as the REH Foundation site www.rehfoundation.org, the Conan Forums and the Two-Gun Raconteur blog.
It’s never to early to plan your trip to Cross Plains; if you’ve been to Howard Days before, you know it’s like a big family reunion. If you’ve never been, come on and find out why it’s The Best Two Days in REH Fandom!
Shown above is the wonderful Postal Cancellation Stamp designed by 2015 Guest of Honor Mark Schultz.
New this year is a Bus Trip to Howard’s grave in Brownwood, planned for Friday at 3:15. Plus we’ve got special guests and some new little things we’re going to try out to enhance your enjoyment. It’s a two-day event that is jam-packed with great fellowship, interesting people and conversation, great food and a laid-back setting, all the while supporting the Legacy of Robert E. Howard!
You won’t be disappointed! Hope we see y’all there!
(Robert E. Howard and Dave Lee)
1. (var. ham and egger); According to the BoxRec.com: In boxing, a ham is synonymous for “palooka” or “tomato can”—those boxers who would never be contenders; they were just around to serve as opponents and sparring partners for contenders on their way up. They didn’t get big prizes like the winners, just enough to pay for their meals–their “ham and eggs.”
When you were a set-up and I was a ham
In James J. Corbett’s day
And toe to toe and blow to blow
We mixed it in a fray
Or skittered with many a roundhouse right
’Mid the ropes of a third-rate ring
My soul was rife with the joy of strife
As I matched you swing for swing.
Your right is as strong as a battering ram,
Your left is a peach, you bet,
Your swings are few, your gloves are new,
Your footwork great, and yet,
Your jaw is red from my rights to the head,
Your nose from my lefts is flat.
Though my jaw’s a sight from your lunging right,
Five times you’ve hit the mat.
Then as we linger at battle here,
With many a roundhouse slam,
Let us swing anew as in times when you
Were a set-up and I was a ham.
[from “When You Were a Set-Up and I Was a Ham“; to read the complete poem see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 666 and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 286]
NOTE: Volume 4 of the REH boxing stories Fists of Iron is set to ship later this month. In keeping with this, March will focus on words and terms from his boxing poems.
1. archaic. a swaggering roistering fellow; a vagabond rogue or beggar of the 16th century often professing to be an injured soldier
“Where are the bawcocks and the bullies bold,
The swaggerers, the rufflers, all of they
Who strutted on the deck and filled the hold
With silk and spice and yellow Spanish gold:
The loot of Ind, of Panama and Cathay?
“Frown hard upon their deeds if so ye will,
And name them crimson-handed, black of heart—
They braved unknown worlds and seas, had their fill
Of death and danger where the sunsets spill
Unreckoned perils, and they took their part
Of cannonade and cutlass, wind and rack.
They paved the way for ye who were to come;
Aye, ye who followed rode a beaten track. . .
[from “Drake Sings of Yesterday”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 466 and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 412]
While all the usual activities at Howard Days remain in place, we thought you might like a peek at this year’s panel schedule. This is going to be another good one, so start making plans to come on down to Texas and enjoy some great Howardian Fellowship!
REH Days 2015 Panel Schedule
FRIDAY June 12
11 am: Conan Vs. Cthulhu. Join us for an enlightening discussion of Howard’s writing in the Cthulhu Mythos and Lovecraft’s writing in the Howard Mythos. Panelists: To Be Announced. At the Cross Plains Library.
1:30 pm: The Mark Schultz Hour. Our artist/writer Guest of Honor talks about his great career in an interview-style setting. At the Cross Plains Library.
2:30 pm: The Robert E. Howard Foundation Awards. Find out who won the REHF Awards for 2014, presented by Rusty Burke, Bill Cavalier and a cast of dozens. At the Cross Plains Library. This is a 30 minute panel.
9:00 pm: Fists at the Ice House. A perennial favorite is back! Presented on the very spot where REH actually boxed, come celebrate the completion of the four-volume Boxing series from the REHF Press. Presented on site behind the Texas Taxidermy building on Main Street by Mark Finn, Chris Gruber, Jeff Shanks and Patrice Louinet.
SATURDAY June 13
10:30 am: A Means to Freedom. The two-volume set of the letters between Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft are discussed. Panelists include Rusty Burke, one of the editors. At the Cross Plains Library.
1:30 pm: Robert E. Howard and Fantasy Gaming. 2015 will be THE year of REH and fantasy gaming with a new Conan board game AND a Conan role-playing game both coming out! We’ll also discuss Howard’s influence on the creation of fantasy role-playing games. There’ll be a bunch of panelists on this one: Patrice Louinet, Tim Brown, Jeff Shanks, Mark Finn, Mark Schultz – all refereed by Bill Cavalier. At the Cross Plains Library.
2:30pm: What’s Happening with Bob Howard. This is our wrap-up panel with upcoming REH news, announcements and future plans from the REH Foundation plus lots of questions from Ed Chaczyk! Panelists include the Foundation Board, Mark Schultz, the gaming guys plus others! At the Cross Plains Library. This is a 30 minute panel.
1. The part of the leg between the knee and the ankle in humans or the corresponding part in various other vertebrates
[origin: 12th century; Middle English shanke,from Old English scanca; akin to Old Norse skakkrcrooked, Greek skazein to limp]
—And a dozen death-blots blotched him
On jowl and shank and huckle,
And he knocked on his skull with his knuckle
And laughed—if you’d call it laughter—
At the billion facets of dying
In his outstart eye-balls shining.—
[from “The Skull of Silence”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 201]