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Seems the great prerequisite to being a writer, whether it be short story, poetry or any of the creative writing genres, isn't an education, rather, one must be able to feel. Maybe hearts are shaped by the trials, disapointments, confronting great diversity, and yes, the immeasurable joys of life. Who better is enabled to write about life, the riches and the poverty, than America's cowboy.
When you hear the word cowboy, what generally comes to mind? Guns and holsters, horses, saddles and chewing tobacco, but probably not poetry. However, you might be surprised to know that poetry recitation is an important aspect of cowboy culture. You could say it’s the softer side of the cowboy. According to the Library of Congress, cowboy poetry originated sometime after the Civil War when cowboys traveled on long-distance cattle drives from Texas to Kansas. The first half of the 20th century was a golden age of cowboy poetry, but the tradition dates back to the early days of the Western frontier when folk stories were usually preserved orally. In addition to writing their own original works, most still recite the traditional cowboy poetry. A former English professor at Westminster College put it this way, “Cowboys were great readers of the Bible, of Homer, of Shakespeare, and of labels on canned goods.” These poets have committed to memory hundreds of poems they can recite just for the asking. Cowboy poetry is distinct in its subject matter as well as its traditional use of rhyme and meter. While some cowboy poetry feels like a throwback to another era, that is precisely what makes it so refreshing: the lack of pretense.
Read the complete article in the Bevil Newsletter,
which accompanies the cover when collected!
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FIRST DAY OF ISSUE
OCTOBER 25, 2002
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