Folks' Poems

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Bonham, Texas
About Lanny Joe Burnett

Workshops on Writing and Performing

Featured in "The Big Roundup," an anthology of the best of

Photo by Waynetta Ausmus




I'd been at the ranch less than a year
I was warm in the bunkhouse when the foreman appeared
He said, "Jonesy, you're low man -- this task falls to you
There's a new calf missing -- Its mother is, too
Saddle up Mack; don't forget your maguey
I hate to send you out on this cold Christmas Eve
But coyotes are hungry -- This year has been hard
We can't stand to lose even one little pard."

As I rode through the snow in the blustery wind
I complained to myself  'bout the shape I was in
Tonight meant the barn dance . . . pretty girls, lots of laughs
I'd miss it all, thanks to one snot-nosed calf
My job seemed hopeless, an impossible test
But since I was out here I'd give it my best
We'd start in the open and work towards the rough
I pointed Mack north and hoped for some luck.

We scoured the pastures, the gullies, the hills
But nothing was moving; it was quiet and still
We rode down the canyon and up past the draw
And that's when I saw them . . . It filled me with awe
Alone in a clearing, not trying to run
Quiet and peaceful, stood mother and son
Slowly they looked up -- their eyes all aglow
And I was reminded of a scene long ago.

My throat got a lump; my eyes got a tear
I'm lucky, I thought, to have ended up here
Where hardships are many, but blessings are, too
Where a short draw can lead to a soul-shaking view
I got off my horse and knelt in the drifts
And I said, "Thank you, Jesus, for all of the gifts
By myself, I'm not much, but I'll do what I can
I've got my own saddle; can I ride for your brand?"

Lanny Joe Burnett
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.




I was a kid and she was big,
All bright and shiny and gold.
She was gentle and soft and kind to me,
Like a mystic spirit of old.
She belonged to my mom but I figured she was mine,
Since I seemed to like her the best.
In my dreams we were one as we raced for the sun.
A pair who could tame the wild west.
Part Walker, part Quarter her gait was a dream.
She was smooth as oil over ice.
We'd glide over pastures past gullies and lakes.
Our direction a toss of the dice.
No saddle or spurs or heeled cowboy boots,
Just tennies and a hackamore bit.
But I rode just as tall - the envy of all,
Me and Goldie. What a perfect fit.
There was one little quirk; a small thing it's true.
It was really no cause for alarm.
The only time she would gallop or trot,
Was when we would head for the barn.
If I fell off I knew where she'd go.
I knew where to find my old pal.
She'd always be there, a' munchin' on hay,
And waiting inside the corral.
As I grew older, she aged too,
There was less and less time for a ride.
Goldie was left to graze with the cows,
Replaced by adolescent pride.
I watched with sadness as Goldie grew old.
And though we tried to keep her hooves in trim,
She limped and strained to keep up with the cows,
Like she though she'd become one of them.
While my mom and dad were away one time,
I came home to check on the stock.
The cattle were fine but up on the hill,
Was a sight I've never forgot.
Goldie lay still 'neath a big old elm tree.
It was her favorite spot on the plain.
From here she was aloof from the lowly bovine,
But still could survey her domain.
In my memories she lives and runs like the wind.
We two are united once more.
The great Palomino and the tow-headed kid,
Compadres through to the core.
And when I see her in Heaven some day,
All silky and smooth in her prime.
She'll still be my favorite of all of my nags,
And we'll partner throughout all of time.

Lanny Joe Burnett
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

About "Going to See the Elephant"

After the American Civil War, sometimes called, THE WAR OF NORTHERN
AGGRESSION, there was a shortage of beef. This was in the United States and not in Texas, of course. There, great herds of cattle roamed the southern plains. The problem was, there were no railroads in Texas with which to transport these cows to the markets in the Midwest and the East. Far thinking men blazed trails to the railheads in Kansas and Missouri; men with names likes Chisholm, Loving, and Goodnight. Thus begin the era of the great cattle drives. This, in turn, created one of the most misunderstood, most despised, most loved and imitated, but never ignored, member of American history; the Texas cowboy. Although this era lasted less than twenty years, much of what we know and think of the cowboy, even to this day, comes from that period of time.

Many young men came of age on a cattle drive. The trip was dangerous, with long hours in the saddle and bad weather conditions. Food was scarce and plain, mostly beans and bacon with a little beef thrown in when a cow would die. There were raids by Indians and rustlers and threats from wild animals and snakes. Even so, cattle drives were a popular way to earn a living, creating the "cowboy life" that many still love, even today. Rewards came when the herd reached the railhead. Once there, the trail hands were eager to enjoy a bath and a hot meal. Since photography was in vogue, cowboys would dress in the fanciest clothes they could buy or borrow and head for the photo studio. There they would pose with as many guns and knives as they could lay their hands on and affect fierce frowns. On the whole, they looked totally grand.

These "cattle towns" were prepared to show the drovers a good time with gambling halls, saloons and brothels in great quantities. We have even seen photographs of a full-blown circus set up in the middle of Main Street in Abilene, Kansas. Cowboys loved the circus. There they could see all the exotic animals they had only heard of. There were lions, tigers, maybe a rhinoceros or two, but the animal that truly captured their imagination was the great beast with a tail at each end, the elephant. Soon, cowboys begin
referring to going on a cattle drive as "Going to see the elephant."

Going to See the Elephant

Left early in the springtime, to try and beat the rains.
One thousand head of longhorn cattle spread out cross the plains.
It was me and David, Rafe and Buck, Cookie and his tent.
All headed north to Abilene to see the elephant.

The country was a' growing, and it was our belief
To fill those northern bellies with tasty Texas beef.
"Drive them cattle up here -we'll pay you for your stint".
So we headed north to Abilene to see the elephant.

A dozen seasoned cowboys, we were really quite a sight.
To ride them bovines up the trails of Loving and Goodnight.
To swim 'em cross the rivers, to chase 'em till we're spent.
As we hurried north to Abilene to see the elephant.

Long hours in the saddle and starving through and through.
I've seen the time I'd swap my boots for something good to chew.
Relief would come and we'd get fed on biscuits hard as flint.
While we hungered north to Abilene to see the elephant.

We paid our tolls to Indians for crossing on their lands.
Endured the heat and freezing cold, time and time again.
We cursed our luck and blessed our mounts, as each day came and went.
And we struggled north to Abilene to see the elephant.

We finally made the railhead after three months on the trail.
Our spirits soared as we received rewards for our travails.
A bath, a meal, some fancy clothes, a little money spent
On photographs, to prove that we had seen the elephant.

We headed home to Texas, to see our loved ones dear.
We'd give them gifts, and hug their necks, and always keep them near.
We'll speak no more of roaming, until the call is sent.
Then we'll all head north to Abilene to see the elephant.

Lanny Joe Burnett
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Something's Missing

They called him "The Kid" though he was older than he looked.
Thirty summers had passed since he was born.
He'd cowboyed since his teens; he'd always been hooked;
He looked forward to each early morn

The last month had been tough at the ole Double O,
They'd been horseback fifteen hours each day.
Sleep had been short but it was the life that he'd chose,
And a day off with wages were on the way

Donnie and Red allowed they'd git 'em some brew
And go fishing down on the west bend.
They never caught much just knocked back a few
And dreamed of a big poker win.

Mostly all the hands had something to do,
At least that's the way that it seemed.
They'd party and gamble and chase some skirt too.
It was their way of letting off steam.

But the kid, he had some plans of his own
That he didn't share with his mates.
No, this took doing by him all alone.
He must hurry cause he couldn't be late

You see, when he showed up at the ranch while back,
He was limpin and hungry and bone tired.
The hands all hooted, though not at his kack,
But his footwear; it left much to be desired.

He'd kept his secret and endured the jokes,
Though at times his cheeks reddened with shame.
But he'd coyboyed hard and impressed all the folks,
And soon there was respect with his name.

He washed, saddled up, and headed for town.
His excitement caused his pony to prance,
Maybe waiting for him in a fine satin gown,
Was the girl he would take to the dance.

As he drew new her house there came a gnawing fear,
That twitched in his tummy like a bird.
What if she was gone, it had been most a year,
And he hadn't written a word.

As his horse whinnied, he limped to her door.
Her smile embraced this galoot.
She said," I knew that I would see you once more,
You ran off without your left boot."

Lanny Joe Burnett
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Living Almost Free

You can find him in the morning if you're out there in the wild.
He's wearing boots and Wranglers and a huge cowboy smile.
He's saddling his pony as the suns a' coming up,
And he's drinking campfire coffee from a big 'ole metal cup.

He grew up in West Texas on a ranch his family owned.
But his blood ran hot with wanderlust, that's why he had to roam.
He had a high school sweetheart, who'd planned to be his wife.
But she said," I ain't leaving Texas, though I'll love you all my life,"

He was pretty good with horses and with cattle, just the best.
He learned to rope and wrangle and he passed most every test.
But he had to see the world - he had to see what he could be.
Cause he was tired of this old cowboy life and living almost free.

He took his degree at Harvard - they said it couldn't be beat.
Then he went out to make his mark in the canyons called Wall Street.
Trading came so natural that soon he was a star.
He bought himself a townhouse and a fancy foreign car.

He had a special tailor who custom made his suits.
His shoes were alligator - no bullhide cowboy boots.
He hit all the nite spots and was never called a liar,
When he told the girls he had the dough to set a wet dog on fire.

But sometimes when the stress was high - his ulcer talking back,
His mind would drift to his old home far out beyond the tracks.
Where a circling hawk up in the sky was all that he could see.
And he was a Texas cowboy and living almost free

He got rid of that car and all those suits - he sold that house so tall.
He got to work a little later each day - one day he didn't show up at all.
He cleared his computer, cleaned out his desk, went to his boss and said,
"You can put this job where the sun don't shine; I'm headed for the Red."

When he crossed that big Red River in a limo from Greyhound, 
He  made the driver stop the bus so he could get out and kiss the ground.
He found his parents ailing and the ranch is disrepair,
But he set to work with an energy born of hope and not despair.

He oiled his leather and built his loops and patched a fence or two
And soon with some help from his old dad, the ranch was good as new.
Now he's happy and fulfilled though some might find it strange,
That he enjoys the peace and solitude of his home upon the range.

And that's why you'll find him if you're out there in the wild,
He's wearing boots and Wranglers and a big old cowboy smile.
He's saddling up his pony underneath a mesquite tree.
Again he's a Texas cowboy and he's living almost free.

Lanny Joe Burnett
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



The Conversation

He was an old wrangler who'd spent most of his years,
Behind the north end of a horse.
This had been his life's work 'fore he was dry ' hind his ears.
He was driven by an unyielding force.

He was too old to stay at the ranch in the fall.
He could ride out and not look behind.
They'd call him back in the spring come the thaw.
Or he could winter in the hills, ridin' line.

Now the line shack was cold and the pleasures were few,
And the work was as hard as the land.
But it was cowboyin' and all that he knew,
So he'd give it his best like a man.

This one thing he knew, when nightfall would come,
The lonelies would start to set in.
While sittin' and waitin' for his brain to get numb,
He'd shore like to talk to a friend.

He'd heard this tale a long time ago
'Bout the Great Man in the sweet by and by.
It was said you could palaver with Him, don't you know.
So he thought he'd just give it a try.

"Well now," he said as he gathered his wits,
"There's some things need getting' off my chest.
For most of my life I ain't been worth two bits,
But I can cowboy as good as the rest.

I've cheated at cards, played tricks on my friends,
And squandered my pay in the saloon.
But a happier man there's never been,
When I hear a coyote howl at the moon.

I've loved the outdoors; I've loved a cool breeze;
I've loved a good rest in the shade.
I've loved watchin' colts prance pretty as you please.
They say these are things that You made.

You made the hawk that circles above,
The hills and the stars shinin' bright.
You made all of this land that I love,
And You make me feel better tonight.

Thanks for your ear, Be seein' you, Big Guy.
I know You're in charge of my fate.
When I come a ridin' to Your ranch in the sky,
I sure hope You'll open the gate."

Then there came this voice, sorta calm and serene,
In a tone that was strong and sublime.
"I've known you before your eyes had a gleam
And I've watched you for a very long time.

I've seen the kindness that lives in your heart.
I've wanted you to be one of Mine.
So when you and your earthly plain do part,
I'll say, 'Come on in Boy, you done just fine'."

Next morning the cowboy didn't answer the call,
Like he'd done ever morning before.
They found him a smilin', lying in a stall,
Froze hard as a rock on the floor.

Now he's a top hand on the 'ol Bar J
He rides Heaven's range as he sings,
He's done made it home; he rode all the way,
Just in time for the roundup this spring.

Lanny Joe Burnett
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


The Lesson 

I grew up being a cowboy on a little Texas farm.
I thought I was the toughest and could weather any storm.
I figured I could rope and ride and wrangle with the rest,
And when I put on my hat and boots I knew I looked the best.

I used to saunter into town a 'really acting mean.
Down two fingers of popcorn and watch my heroes on the screen.
They were sure 'nuff cowboys and brave as they could be,
And they never made no mistakes, least far as I could see.

My life was plum delightful, I didn't give a hoot,
Until I spied a purty girl a 'wearing cowboy boots.
My brain begin a 'spinnin, my wits was in a wad.
I'd never seen no purty girl who was manly shod.

I only trailed with cowboys but you know from where I stood,
She was purely handsome and she smelled purty good.
She had some other attributes, but I just had to know,
Was she a real cowgirl or just putting on a show?

She asked me out to her place, I was on my P's and Q's,
I'd play along with her game; there was not a thing to lose.
She asked me if I'd mind helping her clean out a stall.
I said," Sure enough. Be glad to."  I'm a cowboy after all.

The barn was hot and stinky; the manure high as I could see.
But sadly when we finished, she'd hauled more _ _ _ _ than me.
Now she was purty nice you know and didn't call my hand,
And even then, that lass smelled good and looked to beat the band.

She told me of a fishin' hole, beyond the vacant store,
Where she'd caught a big 'un yesterday, and figured there was more.
We saddled up some livestock and took off in a trot.
I was ridin high as we crossed the draw and that's where I fell off.

She didn't laugh or giggle or insult my ridin style.
She just helped me get untangled, then flashed a gentle smile,
And said, "That horse is just pure mean.  He gave you quite a jar,
And don't worry 'bout grabbin that saddlehorn,
I'm sure that's what it's for."

Then things began to get better.  I sorter liked her curls.
I concluded it was sure okay for a cowboy to be a girl.
I left her place at sunset, I was really glad I'd came.
And truth be told, since that day, my life ain't been the same.

I've pardnered with some top hands that could really stand the heat.
But none of 'em ever looked as good or smelled quite as sweet.
That girl was a sure 'nuff puncher.  You'd agree of course
If you'd ever seen a girl like that who could sure 'nuff sit a horse.

I'm glad I learned that lesson, as young as I was then.
It saved me from that awful fate; thinking cowboys was all men.
I've traveled down a lot of trails with females most terrific,
And I'm here to say, "As I live and breathe - Cowboy ain't gender specific!"

2002, Lanny Joe Burnett
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


In the Pockets of Their Jeans

He'd always kept his dreams in the pockets of his jeans
Ever since he could remember.
It was no different today with his hair turning gray,
On this cold, wintry day in December.

Dan and ole Blue had big work to do, checking cows, breaking ice, riding line.
But mostly they'd fetch the gift for his mate that he'd hid out deep in the pines.
It was there he had seen the big green tree whose boughs reached ever higher.
He had worked all the year, his secret held dear, to fulfill all her desires.

With the load packed high, he looked at the sky, and saw the dark clouds a' forming.
They were in for a storm, it was cause for alarm; bitter cold before any warming.
Now Blue's going lame and it sure is a shame, cause now he's got to stay loaded.
The gifts must get through, though Blue's lost a shoe and won't move, no matter how he's goaded.

He'd always kept his dreams in the pockets of his jeans
Ever since he could remember.
It was no different today with his hair turning gray,
On this cold, wintry day in December.

As a young boy, his pockets held toys, small thing to keep dreams alive.
And then as a lad, it was a letter from his dad; sayin' he could work a cattle drive.
'Neath a young man's coat, his pocket held a note for a ranch to start a real life.
But the drought put him in hock, when it took all his stock

And the plague claimed a son and a wife.
Then his handyman chores helped him drink more and more;
The whiskey seemed to deaden his pain.
He'd be down at the saloon, acting the buffoon,
Drowning his sorrows in vain.

He'd always kept his dreams in the pockets of his jeans
Ever since he could remember.
It was no different today with his hair turning gray,
On this cold wintry day in December.

The blizzard sets in and it's colder than sin; it looks like ole Blue's in darkness.
They'd pardnered for years, he can't stop the tears as the snow covers Blue's carcass.
He thinks back on his life, so filled with strife, he'd given this old world the heave.
Then Jo'd come along, with a voice like a song, and give him a reason to believe.

He managed to stand, someone's holding his hand; it was Jo; she'd come to save him.
They'd walk side by side to their cabin where inside, all would be well--their safe haven.
Jo was there all right but her eyes saw a sight that pierced her heart like a sword.
Her man and his horse had finished life's course and had gone to their final reward.

There was one thing she knew: Dan would always be true. He would never abandon a friend.
The blizzard cut like a knife and cost him his life, but Dan stayed with ole Blue to the end.
As he lay in that place, she marveled at his face, it was covered with a wonderful smile.
Had he remembered their love, how they fit hand in glove as he struggled the last of his miles?

He'd always kept his dreams in the pockets of his jeans,
Long as she'd known him this was right.
In his pocket the paper said, and in shaky voice she read,
"I love you Jo, and thanks for my life."
He died free from sin: she'd see him again.
Their mansion already reserved.
Their earthly toils o'er, they'd be united once more,
In the salvation that neither deserved.

But...till then...She'll keep THEIR dreams in the pockets of her jeans.

2002, Lanny Joe Burnett
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Lanny Joe adds:  I've always loved tales of a life redeemed.  I particularly like it when someone sees the good in another and pulls it out.  Many a cowboy over the years has told me that what they really need is just a good woman who makes up the difference for everything they lack.  We've heard the story of the man, who on his deathbed tells his wife, "In my next life I want to be your hero."

Once in a great while a human love comes along that is so strong that it would seem to endure forever.  This is the story of such a love.  It is the story of Dan and Jo.  It is the story of how a man with a threadbare soul found it could be rewoven and made whole by the love of the right woman.

I wrote this poem on a plane ride between Munich and London, high over the English Channel.  I wrote it for Cindy. 


The Miles Behind His Eyes

I saw him at the sale barn in the morning, just yesterday.
I was impressed with how little he'd changed since I'd last passed his way.
Though he'd grown much older, he still possessed that commanding air.
But I noticed something special as I watched him standing there.

He was surrounded by men and boys, who hung on every word,
Like they thought he was the wisest sage that they had ever heard.
His gestures split the air round him like lions split tall grass.
But his moves were slow and easy, like a priest a' saying mass.

A cowman of the highest form, on stock he'd wrote the book-
Which bull could sire the greatest lines, which horse would not unhook.
Which pastures lasted longest, which tanks kept their prize-
When to sell and when to wait or when to plunge and buy.

He'd built his ranch the hard way, with sweat and blood and grace
And he'd spent each week a' working with a smile upon his face.
His wife had been beside him in those times of hooves and horns,
But they still made sure to be in church on every Sunday morn.

"Take time for God," he always said, "and learn to know His ways.
Remember that He loves you and He'll keep you all your days."
"Hang on to God," he'd told me, "Keep your trails straight and free,
For His eye is on the sparrow and He watches you and me."

I observed him at the auction ring - I remembered his great faith.
How he never cursed his Father when his wife beat him through the gate.
I saw the difference suddenly, yet it came as no surprise;
I saw God's abundant love and joy in the miles behind his eyes.

2003, Lanny Joe Burnett
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


We Pointed Them North 

I come from Lockhart in '71,
I was young but I wasn't green.
The Withers name I was carryin' on,
There was nothing I hadn't seen.

We was near 40 miles shy of the Red.
We'uz headed up through the nations.
A fine little heard of 3,000 head.
We'd cross'em at Red River Station.

Then out of the north came a chillin' sound,
Like a wall of bellowing cattle.
A million head a millin' around.
I grabbed a deep seat in my saddle.

It had rained non-stop for 5 or 6 days
And old Red, she was on the rise.
There's no crossing her no matter the pay.
We could see our death in her eyes.

Old Shanghai said, "Better move 'em on back,
30 herds makes a heck of a quarrel.
You'll be day 'n night a'glued to your kack
Just separating that tangle and snarl.

The Red was a 'boilin up over her banks,
Far as crossin' - there wasn't a prayer.
But two Mexican boys figgered they knowed
How to swim cross that devil's lair.
Two Sonoran brothers - forty head of beef
Dove off in that turbulent ford.
And Red sucked 'em under, quick as a wink,
Taking them to their final reward.
We watched in awe as they went down the drain.
It made us wish we was home
Cause we saw their eyes, full of fright, full of pain
For an instant fore they dropped 'neath the foam.
 The sight we'd seen left us dazed and stunned,
But our senses returned with a jerk.
Cause when we turned around, thirty herds wuz now one
It was high time we got back to work.
Two weeks later we had sorted 'em out
And sixty thousand went bawlin forth.
They was dangerous times, what life's all about,
And we'uz men when we pointed them north.
We'uz punchers for life, no matter the strife,
We'uz proud of the work we'd put forth.
Though few in years and wet 'hind our ears,
We'uz men when we pointed them north.
2004, Lanny Joe Burnett
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Lanny Joe told us, "My sidekick and I are working on a project about the Red River.  We will present it as a "paper" at the National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration in Lubbock in September, 2005. This poem is the first thing to come of the deal.  It is based on an incident described in the book, Red River Valley, by Harry Sinclair Drago."



Read Things Only a Cowboy Knows, by Carl Condray and Lanny Joe Burnett

from the Academy of Western Artists 1st Annual Cowboy Poetry/Songwriting Team Roping Challenge



About Lanny Joe Burnett:

Lanny Joe Burnett, cowboy poet, was raised on a ranch in Fannin county, Texas, the son of fourth generation Texans. He uses his talents to illustrate the spiritual as well as the sometimes questionable philosophical ideals of the cowboy. Lanny's love for Texas' land and people was developed at a very young age. He performs at gatherings of all types including churches and schools and at such faraway places as Central Asia and West Texas. His two main goals in life were to play baseball and be a cowboy. Having accomplished the former in Little League, he continues to pursue the latter. He is proud to drive a pickup truck that makes car wash employees run for cover.

Lanny Joe Burnett's Going to See the Elephant CD  is full of quality poetry, well delivered.  Several of our favorites that are posted here at the BAR-D are included, such as  "Going to See the Elephant," "Goldie," "A Cowboy's Dad," and "Dance of the Departed."  We have always enjoyed readin' those poems, but there is nothin' like hearin' the poetry, the way it was meant to be enjoyed.  The whole CD is well produced, with great music selections. You can contact Lanny Joe by email.  The CD is $17 and the cassette is $12 (shipping included) and the checks may be sent to Lanny Joe Burnett, 1206 Park Ave, Bonham, Tx, 75418  A web site is in the works.




INTRODUCTION:  There are three workshops in this category.  They are designed for all skill levels and all ages (5th grade through "geezerhood"). The overall mission is to help people get personally involved with writing and performing.  They must have or develop a passion for this.  Passion is the first and foremost component of these studies.  Passion will be emphasized throughout all workshops.  The presentation will be both serious and humorous: a lighthearted and fun manner of approaching the seriousness of the subject.

The assembly will be tutored in making their descriptions graphic enough to enable a "blind man to see."  They will learn how to "tug at those heartstrings" with certain pieces as well as have their listeners and readers "bustin' a gut" laughing at others.  We know and experience regularly how writing and performing can change lives.  It is our passion that others may recognize and acquire this talent.  It is a gift that can be nurtured and become a benefit to all.  We will take participants through the writing and performing process with an eye towards saving them as well as their audiences from boredom and embarrassment.  We will put emphasis on
"having a good time."

Those not interested in writing or performing will gain insight into this procedure, ensuring their heightened enjoyment of the written and spoken word.  We will use personal performances and examples of original and
adapted material to illustrate points and entertain our groups.  These are fun workshops and have something to offer everyone.



This workshop focuses on creating original material as well as adapting existing work.  Obtainable material will be selected according to the time frame and geographical location of interest and the energy required for the
completion of the piece.  We will highlight the need for a storehouse of stories and poems that will excite and titillate folks without plagiarizing the work of others.  Emphasis will be placed on selecting colorful words and
descriptions as well as the basic mechanics of writing and rhyming. Participants will learn the techniques of making these creations fit their own personalities and how to include passion in the process. Appropriateness of material and reasons for creating it as well as how to get published will also be addressed.  RECOMMENDED TIME: 45mins.-75mins.



This workshop deals with the actual performance.  From experience, we have learned that mediocre material can be enhanced greatly when it is performed with passion and skill.  Great material can really be loused up with a lackadaisical performance.  We are obligated to apply "The Golden Rule" to our audiences.  They must be cared for, respected, educated, and entertained in the manner they deserve.  It is incumbent on us as performers to "make em' laugh, make em' cry and make em' think.  Participants will learn that when they bare their hearts and souls to strangers and friends, and the folks like it, the experience is exhilarating.  We will instill in our members the necessity of showcasing their thoughts and feelings to positively reinforce the validity of the performance.

We will instruct in the basics of public speaking.  This will include enunciation, facial expressions and body language, microphone techniques, overcoming nervousness, wardrobe, and most important, how to have fun on stage.  Our group will learn how to think while performing and how to deal with distractions of all types.  Presence on stage will speak to walking and standing, what to do with your hands and feet, and whether to move or remain still while entertaining.

Venues with which the performer can gain experience and recognition will be included.  We want our assembly to feel as Willie Nelson does when he says his favorite thing to do is to hear himself sing.  RECOMMENDED TIME: 45 mins.-75 mins.



This workshop deals exclusively with the actual stage presentation and covers areas of microphone use and voice projection, actual movement on stage (not tripping over sets and cords, etc), walking (how to and how much to do), greeting and making friends with an audience, controlling nervousness and heart rate, body language, speech pacing, eye contact, differences in large and small audience, reading an audience, material
selection for various types of audience, distractions and discussions on anything that could and probably will happen to you while on stage.  We will cover length of performance as well as proper clothing.  Goodbyes, thank you's and exit lines as well as how to actually leave a stage in the proper manner.  When possible, attendees will be allowed to test themselves on stage before a crowd.

Contact Lanny Joe Burnett
1206 Park Ave
Bonham, TX 75418 



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