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Cowboy Poetry Week is celebrated each year during April, National Poetry Month in the United States.

In 2015, Cowboy Poetry Week—the fourteenth annual—takes place April 19-25, 2015. The 2015 poster artist will be announced in January.

The 2014 Cowboy Poetry Week was made possible by generous support from the Margaret T. Morris Foundation; the Sage Foundation; significant support from Gary and Susan Crowe and an anonymous donor; and the individuals and organizations who support the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, including those who responded to an important challenge donation in late 2013.

CowboyPoetry.com initiated Cowboy Poetry Week, and for the celebration's second year, in April 2003, the United States Senate passed a resolution, with unanimous approval, recognizing our Cowboy Poetry Week celebration. Twenty-three states’ governors and other officials have recognized Cowboy Poetry Week since, and many activities take place in communities across the West and beyond. 

Find information about 2014 activities and events here, with ideas about how to get involved in the next Cowboy Poetry Week.

The Rural Library  Program is an important Cowboy Poetry Week outreach activity, a part of our mission to serve a mostly underserved community of rural Westerners. Each year, a new compilation CD of top classic and contemporary cowboy poetry, The BAR-D Roundup is offered, along with Cowboy Poetry Week posters, to many rural libraries across the West. It is also available for purchase. Find a description of the CDs below.


© 2013, Jason Rich Studios; jasonrichstudios.com
Web reproduction permitted for Cowboy Poetry Week promotion with the credit line included:
"End of Day" © 2013, Jason Rich Studios, jasonrichstudios.com  Cowboy Poetry Week 2014, CowboyPoetry.com"
 Publications, email us for high resolution print reproduction information.


 

We're honored to have  "End of Day, by noted Utah artist Jason Rich (jasonrichstudios.com; Facebook) featured on the official poster for the thirteenth annual Cowboy Poetry Week, 2014. Read more about the art and artist here.
 

Find information about 2014 events and activities here on page 2, where there is also information about how to get involved this year.


 

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. 

    


Cowboy Poetry

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.

 

Below:

Rural Library Program

Participate!

2014 Cowboy Poetry Week activities

Art Spur

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

Other Links

About CowboyPoetry.com

Support CowboyPoetry.com

Page two:

2014 Cowboy Poetry Week activities

2014 Media Release

Separate page:

        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 Dakota

Spearfish, 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.

 


Art Spur

 

  It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words...we know many that are worthy of a poem or a song.  In Art Spur, we invite poets and songwriters to let selections of Western art inspire their poetry and songs.

Our thirty-seventh piece offered to "spur" the imagination is a painting, "End of Day," by noted Utah artist Jason Rich (jasonrichstudios.com; Facebook). The painting is selected as the official poster for the thirteenth annual Cowboy Poetry Week, 2014. 

Submissions were welcome from all through April 14, 2014, with selections posted here during the 13th annual Cowboy Poetry Week, April 20-26, 2014.

Previous Art Spur artists have included Tim Cox, Bill Owen, R.S. Riddick, Joelle Smith, and many others. Find links to all Art Spur subjects here



Cowboy Poetry Week Art

2014


© 2013, Jason Rich Studios; jasonrichstudios.com
Web reproduction permitted for Cowboy Poetry Week promotion with the credit line included:
"End of Day" © 2013, Jason Rich Studios, jasonrichstudios.com  Cowboy Poetry Week 2014, CowboyPoetry.com"
 Publications, email us for high resolution print reproduction information.



We're pleased to feature "End of Day" by Cowboy Artists of America artist Jason Rich (jasonrichstudios.com; Facebook) of Utah, as the 2014 Cowboy Poetry Week poster painting, and as Art Spur subject

From Jason Rich's bio:

Jason grew up on a small farm in southern Idaho riding, training and drawing horses. Western roots and artistic passion influenced his decision to complete undergraduate and master's degrees in art at Utah State University and pursue art professionally.

For eighteen years Jason has established himself in the western art market in many prestigious shows and galleries-winning awards, accolades and feature exposure in esteemed publications for his distinct depiction of western life. Rich rides alongside cowboys working the corrals or packing through the mountains then combines experience, imagination and research to depict authenticity of the cowboy way.

Recent awards and recognition include Silver Medal in Oil Painting, Cowboy Artists of America Art Exhibition and Sale 2013; Jackson Hole Arts Festival, Poster Artist 2013; Heber Valley Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Poster Artist 2012; Silver Medal in Oil Painting, Cowboy Artists of America Art Exhibition and Sale 2012; TCAA Award "Best Portrayal of a Cowboy Subject," Cowboy Artists of America Art Exhibition and Sale 2012. Jason Rich became a Cowboy Artists of America Member in October, 2011.

Jason Rich's work has been featured in Art of the West, Cowboys and Indians, Southwest Art, Western Art Collector, on the cover of Western Horseman, and in many other publications.
 

Find more in our feature here and at www.jasonrichstudios.com, on Facebook, and at Cowboy Artists of America.

The 2014 poster was printed by Arizona Lithographers in Tucson, Arizona.

 


 

2013


"Making Adjustments" © 2012, by Shawn Cameron, ShawnCameron.com


We were pleased to feature noted Arizona artist, poet, and fourth-generation rancher Shawn Cameron's (shawncameron.com) painting, "Making Adjustments," as the 2013 Cowboy Poetry Week poster painting, and as an Art Spur
subject

Shawn Cameron comments on the painting:

I have spent my life watching cowboys work and noted the horses, equipment and attitudes they possess. The best ones are alert to what is ahead and prepare themselves accordingly. "Making Adjustments" is a painting of a good hand, Toby Foote, checking his cinch before roping calves to be branded.

Shawn Cameron's biography tells, "Her family's involvement in the state's cattle business began over 135 years ago. Both sides of her family are Arizona pioneers. Her paternal great-grandfather, James Henry Wingfield, his father, two brothers and their families used oxen to pull their covered wagons west on the Oregon Trail, then traveled south with horse-drawn wagons to Arizona crossing the Colorado River with 200 head of cattle in 1875. They settled in the area of Camp Verde. A family brand registered by them in 1885 is reportedly one of the state's oldest on file.

"Her maternal grandfather, John Osborne, rode horseback to Arizona from Kansas in 1908. He obtained work near Globe at the largest ranch in Arizona, the Chiricahua Cattle Company, better known as the 'Cherrycows.' He moved to general manager in 1915. He eventually owned several ranches and in 1961 was honored as Cattleman of the Year by the Arizona Cattlegrowers Association. That legacy continues as Shawn and Dean's children carry ranching into the fifth generation...."

Shawn Cameron's work has been included in the Prix de West at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Heart of the West at the National Cowgirl Museum in Ft. Worth, Texas; Cowgirl Up! at the Desert Caballeros Museum in Wickenburg, Arizona; the C.M. Russell Auction in Great Falls, Montana; and many other venues. Her paintings can be seen in Trailside Galleries in Scottsdale, Arizona and Jackson, Wyoming and Tierney Fine Art in Bozeman, Montana. Her art has graced posters for the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering.

Find more about Shawn Cameron and her art in our feature here and visit her web site (and blog) at ShawnCameron.com.

The 2013 poster was printed by Arizona Lithographers in Tucson, Arizona.


 

2012


"'Heads or Tails" © 2004, by R.S. Riddick, www.cowboyartistsofamerica.com
 


We're honored to have the work of noted Western artist R.S. Riddick and his painting, "Heads or Tails," featured as the eleventh annual Cowboy Poetry Week poster. This work was featured at the 2004 Prix de West, the prestigious art show and sale of National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Ron Riddick has been described as an artist’s artist. His masterful skill in the use of the tools of his trade (paint, brushes, & canvas) combined with his knowledge understanding of his subjects (light, color, anatomy, motion, & atmosphere) allow him to achieve the excellence he strives toward in his work. He brings it all together with his gift of artistic talent to create some of the most beautiful works of art today.

A versatile visionary; a master of design, color and light; seeker of excellence—these are R. S. Riddick. He portrays the truth and beauty of life in its infinite variety. He believes that art should be emotional; it should touch the human spirit and affirm humanity. When asked why he paints such a vast selection of imagery, he answers “I feel that an artist should remain faithful to creating art that speaks about the things he loves. For me, life is a visual feast and I hope to savor its abundance to the fullest.” Ron has dedicated his life to the pursuit of uncompromised excellence in his art. His loyalty to this end is evident. He continues to challenge himself. “I will always remain a student, working toward growth and refinement in my art and in my life.”

Born in 1952 in Santa Monica, California, he realized at a young age that he was destined to be an artist. His family and teachers encouraged his unique natural gifts and ability. Ron went on to study art in college at the renowned Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. He studied the fundamental disciplines of fine art. A formal education in classical training was not easily available, so Ron set out with firm resolve to teach himself. He made in depth studies of the schools of realism and impressionism. He researched the traditional Russian school of art and, painted with the gifted Russian artist Sergei Bongart. Ron’s teachers were primarily those master artists from an era gone by. The legacy of their art was to be his inspiration.

“When an artist succeeds in bringing together in harmony—creative ideals and commitment to growth, great things happen.”

"Heads or Tails" was painted at Colorado's Diamond Tail Ranch. The pictured cowboy is bringing in horses the traditional way, with one halter lead. The lead rope of one horse is tied to the tail of the horse in front of it, thus the painting's title, "Heads or Tails."

Read more about the art and artist here.

The 2012 poster was printed by Arizona Lithographers in Tucson, Arizona.

(some text © R.S. Riddick,
www.rsriddick.com, all rights reserved)


 

2011


"Pilgrim" © 2005, by Duward Cambell, duwardc@yahoo.com
 

We were honored to have the work of noted Texas artist Duward Campbell and his painting, "Pilgrim," featured as the tenth annual Cowboy Poetry Week poster. "Pilgrim" is a painting of cowboy and poet J.B. Allen (1938-2005) and his horse, Pilgrim.

Duward Campbell is a native Texan, born and raised in the center of some of the best ranching and farming land in the country.

As an artist, the people of this region and the Southwest have provided the lifeblood for Duward’s work, as he has concentrated his painting and drawing efforts around the contemporary cowboy and rural life. Duward never draws an image he has not “breathed on,” for he knows the people, the animals and the land he brings to his work. He gathers information for his work mostly in the Southwest, however his many friends and associates allow him to do research from coast to coast. He strives for accuracy and detail of not only the physical, but spiritual aspects of the characters and land he loves.

Duward has been involved in creative activities most of his life, but became serious about drawing and painting during his junior high school years. At that time, his pencil and pen and ink drawings were shown by several galleries in Dallas and Houston. He continued these interests at Texas Tech University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1975.

Although he has made a living as an artist painting and drawing in a realistic manner since he was in high school, he has always tried to reach beyond that to other formats and media. Since getting a BFA in drawing and ceramics, he has involved himself in a variety of creative ventures that all interlock. Everything from designing and building furniture and architectural structures, photography, layout and graphics for several award winning books and also set design and stage direction of two theatric productions.

The basis for all his work has been good drawing and composition with the application of good design. For him, this is true if he is doing the painting of a cowboy horseback or designing a piece of equipment. He believes an “artist” should be creative in all aspects of life, and not limit himself to traditionally accepted formats. He has tried to do just that.

Duward Campbell has pieces in many public and private collections and has exhibited throughout the United States in competitive and invitational shows. He is a past member of the American Indian and Cowboy Artists (AICA), where he served as a board member and representative to the Autry Museum of Western Heritage. He has served as a board member and on the National Advisory Board for the National Ranching Heritage Association, Lubbock, Texas.

Read more about the Duward Campbell and his work in our feature here.

The 2011 poster was printed by Arizona Lithographers in Tucson, Arizona.

 


 

2010



"Born to This Land" © 1992, by Bill Owen, www.BillOwenCA.com

We were honored to have the work of premier Western artist Bill Owen—his painting "Born to This Land," featured as the ninth annual Cowboy Poetry Week poster in 2010. The painting's title is from an outstanding poem by past Texas Poet Laureate, singer, songwriter, radio and television host, and entertainer Red Steagall. Read Red Steagall's poem here in our feature about him; it was included on the first edition of The BAR-D Roundup  

Bill Owen (www.billowenca.com), son of a cowboy, is celebrated for his realistic portrayals of contemporary cowboys and ranchers. He is a member of the prestigious Cowboy Artists of America (CA). He has received numerous awards from the CA, and among other honors, has received the Frederic Remington Award for Artistic Merit by the Cowboy Hall of Fame (now the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum); the Prix de West Invitational Show Express Ranches Great American Cowboy Award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum; and the C. M. Russell Art Auction Honorary Chairmen’s Award.

Bill Owen founded The Arizona Cowpuncher's Scholarship Organization, which helps finance college educations for young people from Arizona ranching families.

The artist comments on his painting, "The title of this painting is taken from a poem by my friend, Red Steagall. Fathers often teach the cowboy profession, which includes respect for the land, to their youngsters." The work depicts a Northern Arizona rancher and his son "seen enjoying each other’s company while waiting for the last few head of cattle to arrive at the hold up.”

Visit Bill Owen's web site, www.billowenca.com and read more about him and his art in our feature here.

The 2010 poster was printed by Arizona Lithographers in Tucson, Arizona.


 

2009


"The Horse Wrangler Gather’d The Morning Mounts: 'One That Had’n Lived The Life ... Couldn’t Paint a Picture ...To Please The Eye, of One That Had!'"
© 2008, Bob Coronato, courtesy The Greenwich Workshop, Inc. www.greenwichworkshop.com
 

We were honored to feature noted Western artist Bob Coronato's painting, "The Horse Wrangler Gather'd the Morning Mounts: 'One That Had'n Lived The Life ... Couldn't Paint a Picture ...To Please The Eye, of One That Had!'" as the official poster for Cowboy Poetry Week, 2009.

Bob Coronato lives part of the year in Hulett, Wyoming—where he is the proprietor of "The Rogues Gallery," which he calls "my little shop,...studio and freak show"—and the other part of the year in Atascadero, California. An East Coast native, he headed to Wyoming after art school, and his working ranch experience gained there is at the heart of his work.

He comments, "We are at a clash of two different times: the traditional 'cowboy'n' ways are being overridden by the modern, quicker technologies...I try to document moments in time that show the ways of a fading lifestyle...The 'West' is alive, it's just hiding in small corners of our country, trying to desperately hang on and not be forgotten."

There are interesting recent articles in both Art of the West and Southwest Art magazines about Bob Coronato.

Bob Coronato was an invited Master Artist at 2009's 12th Annual Autry National Center's Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition and Sale at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, and will return for the 2010 Masters as well.

"The Horse Wrangler Gather'd the Morning Mounts..." was made available by The Greenwich Workshop, which represents many of today's top Western artists.

Find a feature about Bob Coronato and his work here.

The 2009 poster was printed by Arizona Lithographers in Tucson, Arizona.

 


 

2008


"Waxed Jacket" © 2006, William Matthews, www.williammatthewsgallery.com

We were honored to have master painter, designer, and musician William Matthews' painting, "Waxed Jacket," as the 2008 Cowboy Poetry Week poster art.

Matthews has been called "today's Frederic Remington." He earns praise from Western Folklife Center Founding Director Hal Cannon, "William Matthews fashions water and color to evoke the billow of a cowboy's shirt at full gallop, the patina of a well-used saddle, the blistering mirage of Nevada. Simply put, he sees the West with new eyes."  Cowboy poet and buckaroo Waddie Mitchell comments, "Willy's work is so dead right and real, a buckaroo can see what is beyond either side of the painting."

William Matthews' work has been featured in gathering posters for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, the Southeastern Cowboy Festival and Symposium, and others. He has painted Don Edwards, Randy Rieman, Waddie Mitchell, R. W. Hampton, Wallace McRae, and many other cowboys and ranchers. Some of those images are included in his landmark 1993 book, Cowboys and Images.

William Matthews' sumptuous new book, Working the West, includes 180 color plates of his Western subjects. The publisher describes the book, "Watercolorist William Matthews has long been hailed as the preeminent painter of the American West. In this new collection of 180 staggering paintings, he captures the full range of western experience: endless skies, high plains, the last working cowboys, the Navajo, the mystique of the Living Desert. Steeped in introspection and connected to land, tradition, and identity, Matthews' work evokes a place that is authentic, anachronistic, and dynamic."

Learn more about William Matthews at his web site: www.williammatthewsgallery.com.

Cowboy Poetry Week posters are not sold. They are offered to libraries in our Rural Library Program and to supporters of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, which sponsors CowboyPoetry.com, Cowboy Poetry Week, the Rural Library Program, and all of our programs.

The 2008 poster was printed by Arizona Lithographers in Tucson, Arizona.

 

2007


"At His Own Pace" © Tim Cox, www.TimCox.com

We were honored to have top Western artist Tim Cox' painting, "At His Own Pace," as the 2007 Cowboy Poetry Week poster art. 

Tim Cox is one of the best known western artists in America. His depiction of the contemporary western cowboy, rancher and the modern southwest strikes a familiar note with thousands of people.

Tim Cox comments on this painting: "This depicts a ranch hand on the T-4 Ranch near Tucumcari, New Mexico. This is during fall works and we were always taught that the fastest way to work cows is slow: at his own pace."

Cowboy Poetry Week posters are not sold. They are offered to libraries in our Rural Library Program and to supporters of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, which sponsors CowboyPoetry.com, Cowboy Poetry Week, the Rural Library  Program, and all of our programs. Read more about Tim Cox in our feature here and at his web site: www.TimCox.com.

The 2007 poster was printed by Arizona Lithographers in Tucson, Arizona.

 


2006


"Heading Home"
© Joelle Smith, www.JoelleSmith.com

It was a privilege to have the late Joelle Smith's "Heading Home" as the painting for the 2006 Cowboy Poetry Week poster.

A notable Western artist, Joelle Smith was invited to display her work at the 2006 Prix de West at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum before her death in August, 2005, an accomplishment she strived for during her entire career. Her work is familiar to many in the posters she has done for Cowboy Poetry and Music Gatherings, including the Santa Clarita Cowboy Poetry And Music Festival, the Monterey Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival, the Visalia Roundup; for the Cowgirl Hall of Fame; and for Western music albums, including those for Don Edwards, Lorraine Rawls, and Wylie and the Wild West.  Joelle Smith's "Heading Home" is also the cover art for The Bar-D Roundup, a 2006 compilation CD of classic and contemporary cowboy poetry from CowboyPoetry.com.

Read more about Joelle Smith and her art here, along with some tributes to her life, and see more of her art at www.JoelleSmith.com.

 

2005


The photograph for our Cowboy Poetry Week poster in 2005 was "Ridin' Out" by Kent Rollins, Oklahoma photographer, cowboy, rancher, award-winning storyteller, poet, and noted chuckwagon cook. No printed posters were produced.

2004


The painting for our Cowboy Poetry Week 2004 poster was "Dust 'n Tails" by Utah artist Julie Rogers.  No printed posters were produced.

 

2003


The painting for our Cowboy Poetry Week poster for 2003 was "Best Laid Plans," by Arizona artist Bill Anton.   No printed posters were produced.

 

2002

There was no poster in 2002.

 


Favorite Cowboy and Western Poems Project

We launched our Favorite Cowboy and Western Poems Project in conjunction with Cowboy and Western Poetry Week, which we celebrate the third week of April each year, during National Poetry Month.  

In part, the inspiration for this project came from The Favorite Poem Project by former United States Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. In that project's first year, over 18,000 Americans responded.  A selection of those responses were recorded on audio and videotape.

Read about the poems our visitors have named as their favorites here.

We invite you to tell us about your favorite classic or contemporary Western or Cowboy poem.  

Simply send an email and tell us:

  • the name of your favorite Western or Cowboy poem

  • the author's name

  • why it's a favorite

  • your name


What is Cowboy Poetry?


It's a question sure to start a lively conversation.

Utah writer and poet Rod Miller offers an excellent introduction to cowboy poetry, "A Brief Introduction to Cowboy Poetry, or, Who's the Guy in the Big Hat and What is He Talking About?"

Two other recommended articles about cowboy poetry appear in the program of the Western Folklife Center's 25th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (2009), and are available on the Western Folklife Center's web site: "Cowboy Citizen Poet," by Kim Stafford, the founding director of the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and "Cowboy Poetry in 2009," by Hal Cannon, Founding Director of the Western Folklife Center.

In 2001, Professor Tom Mayo, columnist for the Dallas Morning News shared his views. Read his article, "Learning the Pleasant Truth About Cowboy Poetry," here.

Is it only rhymed, metered verse?  Can only cowboys write it?  Read some historical and contemporary commentary on the question (and weigh in yourself if you like) in our feature on the topic here.


Selections for Reading and Listening:

 

Contemporary Anthologies, Books, Audio, Video, and More

Classic Cowboy Poets 

 

 

Contemporary Anthologies, Books, Audio, and Video Selections and More

Cowboy poetry volumes abound. Many poets have books and recordings, and there are numerous anthologies.


    

The BAR-D Roundup CDs are produced annually by the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, which sponsors CowboyPoetry.com. The CDs contain recordings by top poets and reciters performing the best classic and contemporary cowboy poetry. Vintage recordings by poets including Robert Service and Charles Badger Clark, Jr. have been included.

CDs are released each year as a part pf the Cowboy Poetry Week celebration. They are offered to rural libraries in the Center's Rural Library  Program, offered to Center supporters, and are available to the public.  Read more here.

  The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Nine (2014)

Forthcoming, October, 2014
 

  The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Eight (2013)
 

A 2-disc collection of the best classic and contemporary Christmas cowboy poetry. Tracks by Trey Allen, Amy Hale Auker, J.W. Beeson, Virginia Bennett, Jerry Brooks, Jim Cathey, Ken Cook, Doris Daley, Jimmy Dean, Sam DeLeeuw, Robert Dennis, Elizabeth Ebert, Don Edwards, Dick Gibford, Janice Gilbertson, DW Groethe, Andy Hedges, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Carole Jarvis, Dee Strickland Johnson (“Buckshot Dot”), Don Kennington, Paul Kern, Linda Kirkpatrick, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Slim McNaught, Bruce Matley (“Nevada Slim”), Waddie Mitchell, Dick Morton, Jane Morton, Jim “Curly” Musgrave, Terry Nash, Andy Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Susan Parker, Buck Ramsey, Pat Richardson, Georgie Sicking, Jay Snider, Red Steagall, Gail Steiger, Colen H. Sweeten Jr., Hal Swift, Jim Thompson, Stan Tixier, Diane Tribitt, Keith Ward, and C.R. Wood.

 

  The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Seven (2012)
 

Tracks by Wallace McRae, Joel Nelson (reciting a Stephen Vincent Benét poem), a vintage recording by Stephen Vincent Benét, Andy Wilkinson, John Dofflemyer, Henry Real Bird, Gary McMahan, Amy Hale Auker, Jay Snider, Elizabeth Ebert, Rod Miller, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Ken Cook, Carole Jarvis, Andy Nelson, Diane Tribitt, Rodney Nelson, Deanna McCall, DW Groethe, Doris Daley, Randy Rieman (reciting a Bruce Kiskaddon poem), Andy Hedges (reciting a Buck Ramsey poem), Keith Ward (reciting an S. Omar Barker poem), Jerry Brooks (reciting an Andy Wilkinson poem), Pat Richardson (reciting a Jess Howard poem) and Jess Howard (reciting a Pat Richardson poem).

 


  The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Six  (2011)

Tracks by Waddie Mitchell (reciting a Larry McWhorter poem), Red Steagall, Don Edwards, Buck Ramsey (reciting a traditional piece), Larry McWhorter, Joel Nelson, J.B. Allen, Randy Rieman (reciting a Bruce Kiskaddon poem), Jerry Brooks (reciting a Badger Clark poem), Linda M. Hasselstrom, Andy Hedges (reciting a Larry McWhorter Poem),  Linda Kirkpatrick (reciting a Berta Harte Nance poer), Jay Snider (reciting a Sunny Hancock poem), Doris Daley, Elizabeth Ebert, Dick Morton (reciting a Sharlot Hall poem), DW Groethe, Abi McWhorter (reciting a Larry McWhorter poem),  Yvonne Hollenbeck, Sam Jackson, Carole Jarvis, Rod Miller, Jane Morton, Andy Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Pat Richardson, and Bob Schild.
 


The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Five (2010)

Tracks by Gail Gardner, Buck Ramsey, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Georgie Sicking, Larry McWhorter, Ray Owens, Randy Rieman (reciting a Bruce Kiskaddon poem), Jerry Brooks (reciting a Henry Herbert Knibbs poem, JB Allen, Dick Morton (reciting a traditional poem), Gail Steiger (reciting a poem by Gail Gardner), Jesse Smith (reciting a Johnie Schneider poem) Al Clark (reciting a poem by Arthur Guiterman), Ken Cook, Doris Daley, Elizabeth Ebert, DW Groethe, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Linda Kirkpatrick, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Slim McNaught, Rod Miller, Jane Morton, Andy Nelson, Pat Richardson, Jay Snider, and Diane Tribitt.

 

  The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Four (2009)

Tracks by Gail Gardner, Buck Ramsey, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Georgie Sicking, Larry McWhorter, Ray Owens, Randy Rieman (reciting a Bruce Kiskaddon poem), Jerry Brooks (reciting a Henry Herbert Knibbs poem, JB Allen, Dick Morton (reciting a traditional poem), Gail Steiger (reciting a poem by Gail Gardner), Jesse Smith (reciting a Johnie Schneider poem) Al Clark (reciting a poem by Arthur Guiterman), Ken Cook, Doris Daley, Elizabeth Ebert, DW Groethe, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Linda Kirkpatrick, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Slim McNaught, Rod Miller, Jane Morton, Andy Nelson, Pat Richardson, Jay Snider, and Diane Tribitt.

  The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Three (2008)

Tracks by Robert Service, Buck Ramsey, Joel Nelson, Red Steagall, Wallace McRae, Paul Zarzyski, Randy Rieman (reciting a Henry Herbert Knibbs poem), Ross Knox (reciting a D.J. O'Malley poem), Jerry Brooks (reciting a Badger Clark poem), Ken Cook, Doris Daley, DW Groethe, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Paul Kern, Linda Kirkpatrick (reciting a Bruce Kiskaddon poem), Deanna McCall, Andy Nelson, Susan Parker (reciting an A. V. Hudson poem), Pat Richardson, Georgie Sicking, Bill Siems (reciting a Curley Fletcher poem), Jay Snider (reciting a Luther A. Lawhon poem), Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns, Hal Swift (reciting a James Barton Adams poem), Mick Vernon (reciting an S. Omar Barker poem), and Smoke Wade.
 

 The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two (2007)

Tracks by Badger Clark, Joel Nelson, Sunny Hancock, Randy Rieman, Jerry "Brooksie" Brooks (reciting a Katherine Fall Pettey poem), J. B. Allen (reciting a Gail I. Gardner poem), Gail Steiger (reciting a Delia Gist Gardner poem), Buck Ramsey, Doris Daley, Elizabeth Ebert, Paul Zarzyski (reciting an S. Omar Barker poem), Jay Snider, Smoke Wade, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Peggy Godfrey, Ken Cook, Darrell Arnold, Pat Richardson, DW Groethe, Don Kennington, Kent Rollins, Virginia Bennett, Janice Gilbertson, Rod Nichols, Diane Tribitt, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Jim Thompson (reciting an Arthur Chapman poem), and a radio Public Service Announcement (PSA) by Andy Nelson.

   The BAR-D Roundup  (2006)

Tracks by Buck Ramsey, Red Steagall, Mark L. Gardner (reciting a Jack Thorp poem), Georgie Sicking, Larry McWhorter, Virginia Bennett, Dennis Gaines, Doris Daley, Chris Isaacs (reciting a Sunny Hancock poem), Pat Richardson, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Colen Sweeten, DW Groethe, Linda Kirkpatrick, Mick Vernon, A. K. Moss, Jay Snider, Jane Morton, Andy Hedges (reciting a Henry Herbert Knibbs poem), Trey Allen (reciting a Bruce Kiskaddon poem), Deanna McCall, Mike Puhallo, "Buckshot Dot" Dee Strickland Johnson, Dick Morton (reciting a Badger Clark poem), Rod Nichols, Andy Nelson, and a radio Public Service Announcement (PSA) by Jim Thompson.


See our Books page for  books and references and see our Anthology Index for many additional anthologies and their contents. There are announcements of recent books and recordings here in our news.

 


Classic Cowboy Poets 

Enjoy poetry from some of the best-loved classic poets. Most of the links below lead to features that include biographical and bibliographic information, as well as poetry.

E. A. Brininstool
Arthur Chapman
Badger Clark
Curley Fletcher
Gail Gardner

Bruce Kiskaddon
Henry Herbert Knibbs
Henry Lawson
D. J. O'Malley 
A. B. "Banjo" Paterson
Buck Ramsey
Robert Service
N. Howard "Jack" Thorp

and find many more listed here.


Senate Resolution Recognizing National Cowboy Poetry Week 

We inaugurated Cowboy Poetry Week in 2002 at CowboyPoetry.com, with our Favorite Cowboy and Western Poems Project, which invites people to share comments about their favorite poems.  The project was inspired in part by former U. S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project.

In 2003, the U. S. Senate officially recognized "National Cowboy Poetry Week."  

In his accompanying remarks. resolution sponsor Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) said "Many think cowboys are a thing of the past, but I can tell you otherwise.  In many western states like Montana, cowboys gather around a campfire and swap stories just as frequently as they did one hundred years ago.  This oral tradition is now captured in written form as well, and several websites are dedicated solely to preserving and disseminating cowboy poetry and its history.  My resolution will recognize the contribution of cowboy poetry to our history of the West, but also to mark it as a thriving tradition that continues even today... it is important to understand that cowboys live and breathe a unique culture which few may be exposed to.  I would encourage all my colleagues to take a walk in their boots one day, and read a little cowboy poetry."

Other sponsors were Senators Baucus (D-MT),  Brownback (R-KS), Hatch (R-UT), and Reid (D-NV).

The official Resolution (S. Res. 108) passed the Senate unanimously on April 11, 2003.


Cowboy Poetry Events

Traditionally, cowboy poetry is recited, and the best place to enjoy recited poetry is at one of the many cowboy poetry gatherings. The "granddaddy" of gatherings is the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, sponsored by the Western Folklife Center and held in Elko, Nevada, each winter. In 2014, it celebrated its 30th year. The Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering at Alpine and the Dakota Poetry Gathering at Medora celebrate their 28th year in 2013. The Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering at Prescott celebrates its 27th year in 2014. There are many, many more events where you can enjoy cowboy poetry, at events and places as diverse as the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo; Missouri's Echoes of the Trail gathering; Georgia's Southeastern Cowboy Gathering, British Columbia's Kamloops Festival, and Australia's Waltzing Matilda Festival.  See our calendar of Cowboy Poetry Events


Other Links

 


The Academy of American Poets, founded
National Poetry Month in the United States in 1996. Visit their site for many resources and much information about National Poetry Month.

National Library Week is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA).  In 2014, National Library Week celebrates its 56th anniversary, April 13-19, 2014.


Western Folklife Center, home of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014. 

 


About CowboyPoetry.com

CowboyPoetry.com, also known as the BAR-D Ranch, was established January 1, 2000. Over the years, it has grown to be a central resource for Western and Cowboy Poetry and associated arts.  Always commercial-free, the BAR-D has been mostly a volunteer effort by an energetic and devoted group of people who have have worked to create a vibrant community. 

In 2001, New West Library published The Big Roundup, a collection of contemporary and classic poetry from CowboyPoetry.com.  Some proceeds from the book's sales helped to maintain CowboyPoetry.com.

The Big Roundup was awarded the Will Rogers Medallion Award and the Buck Ramsey Best Poetry Book AwardIt received much praise, including:

"Cowboy poetry provides an important link to my own rural roots.  The Big Roundup is a fine collection of cowboy poetry -- old and new."    
The Honorable Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, author of Lazy B

"There's something for everyone and about everyone in this anthology...a fine package for anyone who likes cowboy poetry and a fine introduction to the genre for those who think they might like it."
Fran Devereux Smith, Western Horseman  (Read the entire review here)

"An entertaining and heartwarming collection of modern and classic Cowboy Poetry.  A wonderful treasury,  including many of my favorites."  
Don Edwards, America's favorite cowboy singer 

"...a wonderful addition to our cowboy poetry collection..."
Randy Williams, Curator, Fife Folklore Archives

We inaugurated Cowboy Poetry Week in 2002 at CowboyPoetry.com, with our Favorite Cowboy and Western Poems Project, which invites people to share comments about their favorite poems. The project was inspired in part by former American Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project. In 2003, Cowboy Poetry Week was recognized with unanimous resolution by the U. S. Senate. We celebrate the week each year during Poetry Month, the third full week in April.

Each year, we choose an example of outstanding contemporary Western art to serve as information cards and our Cowboy Poetry Week poster.

The BAR-D Roundup, an annual compilation of recordings of the best classic and contemporary cowboy poetry, grows as an archive. CDs are offered to libraries in the Center's Rural Library  Program and are available as premiums to Center supporters and to the public.

The CDs have received praise, including:

       "For those of us who love cowboy poetry, this is perhaps the best anthology we've 
       yet heard."  Cowboy Magazine

       "The BAR-D Roundup provides a fine collection of  classic and contemporary poetry offerings
       that'll please any fan of the genre."   
Western Horseman

 "...something for everyone who appreciates tales of ranching, riding, and roping..."  Western Horseman

"Prepare for a trip through time. There are classics and pieces written about times long gone. Also included are glimpses into the lives of modern cow hands, ranchers, ranch wives, farriers, and poets...Close your eyes and be carried along with an ebb and flow of emotions and imagery. Wrapped within the subject matter and interpretations there’s sincerity, intimacy, good-natured joshing, wisdom, respect, hogwash, poignancy, and spirituality."

                                                     Cowboy Jam Session  

    

Find lists of contents of The BAR-D Roundup CDs above and here, and find more information about each here.

We distribute our Cowboy Poetry Week poster and The BAR-D Roundup to libraries in our Rural Library Program, an important part of our mission to promote and preserve our Western heritage and to serve rural populations. 

At CowboyPoetry.com, we have thousands of poems by contemporary and classic poets, classic cowboy songs, and lyrics by  Western songwriters. We have a number of themed poetry collections, from poems about Cowboy Poetry to Cowboy and Western poems for solemn occasions. Our large collection of old and new Christmas poems is added to each day during the holiday season, in one of our most popular features.

We post news continually and we have a free email newsletter. Find us on Facebook and Twitter:

 

We maintain Events Calendars for Cowboy Poetry and Western Music events.

Among other features, our:

Art Spur project invites poets to let selections of Western art and photography inspire their poetry.

Picture the West presents weekly  photos, old and new, of the ranching, cowboy, rural, and working life of the West of today and yesterday, submitted by CowboyPoetry.com visitors. 

Western Memories Project gathers the stories of the lives of cowboys, ranchers, and Western settlers.

Who Knows? helps find poems and answers to visitors' questions.

Anthologies Index indexes current, out-of-print, and hard-to-find anthologies.

We host essays about writing and reciting Cowboy Poetry, regular columns from contributing writers, and book and recording reviews.  We have many other features at the BAR-D, including those about youth Cowboy Poetry programs; Cowboy Poetry and Western Music gatherings; Western radio programs; Western publications; awards and competitions; Cowboy Poetry archives and libraries; and other Western arts and artists.

Updated continually and celebrating its fifteenth year in 2014, the site reaches a large, loyal, engaged audience, receiving over 2 million hits each month, representing an average 153,000 monthly page views and 72,000 monthly visitors. The site has an opt-in newsletter list of more than 4600 subscribers and a strong social media presence on both Facebook and Twitter.

We organized a non-profit organization, the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc. to sustain our current work, broaden existing programs, and take on new projects.  With additional funding, we can work with our supporters to expand programs such as Cowboy Poetry Week, create print publications, compile another anthology, encourage youth and library programs, and do more educational outreach.

We hope you'll join us and be a part of it all here at the BAR-D.


 

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Become a supporter, make a donation, perhaps in memory of someone who treasured our Western Heritage: Make a difference.

Read some of our supporters' comments here,  visit the Wall of Support, and donate!

Read all about our history, the Center, and about how you can be a part of it all right here.

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CowboyPoetry.com is a  program of The Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, a tax-exempt non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Act. Contributions to the Center are fully deductible for federal income tax purposes.

 


 

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