Get involved: read how you can be a part of Cowboy Poetry week here.
Get your schools, libraries, and community involved! Perform your poetry, donate a book, share your knowledge.
Below you'll find more information about our Favorite Cowboy and Western Poems and Art Spur projects; some words about Cowboy Poetry; selected references for reading and listening; a link to our Events calendar, which lists many gatherings where you can enjoy Cowboy Poetry; more about The Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry and CowboyPoetry.com; and some additional links.
The round-ups, the brandings,
the calvings are done,
as ranchers sell out
and move on one by one.
We must tell the stories,
so memories live on,
past time when the tellers
themselves are long gone.
© 2004, Jane Morton
written for Cowboy Poetry Week, 2004
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
Rural Library Program
2014 Cowboy Poetry Week activities
Favorite Cowboy and Western Poems Project
Cowboy Poetry Week Art
What is Cowboy Poetry?
Selections for Reading and Listening:
Contemporary Anthologies, Books, Recordings and More
Classic Cowboy Poets
US Senate National Cowboy Poetry Week Resolution
Cowboy Poetry Events
2014 Cowboy Poetry Week activities
2014 Media Release
Sponsors and supporters
Since its inception, Cowboy Poetry Week proclamations, recognitions,
and declarations have been received from the governors of twenty-three states:
Utah, Nevada, Washington, Montana,
South Dakota, Georgia, Missouri, Colorado
Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, Texas,
North Carolina, California, Minnesota, Oklahoma
Oregon, New Mexico, North Dakota, Kansas
Arkansas, Nebraska, and Florida
The Mayors of Spearfish, South Dakota; Safford, Arizona; Liberal, Kansas; and Hickman County, Tennessee have also issued proclamations recognizing Cowboy Poetry Week. Nevada Senator Ensign issued a declaration of recognition; United States Senate Majority Leader and Nevada Senator Harry Reid issued a letter of recognition; Oklahoma State Representative Joe Dorman and State Senator Tom Sweeden co-authored a Concurrent Resolution; and Tennessee State Senator Doug Jackson introduced a joint Senate Resolution.
Some examples of official recognition:
Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue proclaims Cowboy Poetry Week
On March 30, 2010, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue signed the Cowboy Poetry Week Proclamation. Joining him for the occasion were: (left to right) Gene Choate, President of Bankers Fidelity and Sponsor of the Georgia Youth Cowboy Poetry Contest; Adairsville High School teacher Kim Knight; Governor Perdue; and Georgia’s Official Cowboy Balladeer Doc Stovall.
(Former) California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Recognizes Cowboy Poetry Week
Proclamation from Governor Rick Perry of Texas:
The great philosopher Plato once said, "Poetry comes nearer to vital truth than history." Throughout the history of the American West, and especially the history of Texas, cowboy poets have played a large part in preserving western heritage and culture through oral and written poetry. While history books inform us of the past, cowboy poetry has allowed us to truly experience the past.
Through cowboy poetry, we have been allowed into the emotions and thoughts of those making history. We can feel the excitement, sympathize through hardships and hear their hopes and dreams. Cowboy poets have inspired and informed, bringing to their many fans education, art, and the best of our heritage and history.
Just as the cowboy way of life has been passed from generation to generation, cowboy poetry continues to transcend time as well. Through festivals held across the Lone Star State, this art work is sure to inspire future generations of cowboys and poets.
To emphasize the importance of cowboy poetry and the many contributions of cowboy poets, an educational campaign is being conducted during the month of April.
At this time, I encourage all Texans to participate and join in the celebration, By encouraging a love of history, reading and storytelling through cowboy poetry, we highlight the best of Texas.
Therefore, I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, do hereby proclaim April 20-26, 2008
View the proclamation here.
United States Senate Majority Leader, Nevada Senator Harry Reid
Senator Reid comments in a letter recognizing Cowboy Poetry Week in 2007, in part:
"...Cowboy Poetry is an important part of our Western heritage, and the efforts of many Cowboy poets...help preserve this valuable tradition...I will also work to honor this important tradition in the United States Senate...."
Proclamation from (former) Governor Jon Huntsman of Utah
Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. met with members of the Cowboy Poets of Utah and signed a state Cowboy Poetry Week proclamation on April 7, 2006. In attendance were Phil Kennington, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Terri Taylor, Kathie Kern, Sam DeLeeuw, Paul Kern, Steve Taylor, Rod Miller, Val Carter, and Curly Syndergaard. See more photos and the proclamation here.
Proclamation from Mayor Jerry Krambeck of Spearfish, South Dakota
Photo by Heather M. Murschel, Managing Editor, Black Hills Pioneer, Spearfish, South DakotaSpearfish, South Dakota Mayor Jerry Krambeck presents the city's Official Cowboy Poetry Week Proclamation to Heritage of the American West Director, Francie Ganje. The community's western legacy, with its slogan of "Best In The West," is the basis of the poem, "Queen of the Cowtowns," by Yvonne Hollenbeck, included in her book, From My Window.
Francie Ganjie has also obtained a 2008 proclamation from South Dakota Governor M. Michael Rounds. In 2006, she was the first to pursue a governor's proclamation and to inspire others to do so. See both proclamations here.
Read about other official recognition and news for Cowboy Poetry Week here.
Rural Library Program
The Rural Library Program is an important outreach effort for Cowboy Poetry Week, conducted as a part of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry's mission to serve rural communities as it works to preserve and promote cowboy poetry and Western heritage.
In 2013, libraries in the following states received posters and an invitations for copies of The BAR-D Roundup for their collections: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Libraries get involved in Cowboy Poetry Week with events and exhibits. Read more about libraries' 2013 activities in our Cowboy Poetry Week events here.
The production of The BAR-D Roundup, the Cowboy Poetry Week poster, and other Cowboy Poetry Week activities are made possible by the generous funding support from the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry's sustaining donors.
To suggest a library for inclusion in the Rural Library Program, please email us the complete library address. We particularly like to add libraries that serve ranching communities.