photo by Coast Monthly

photo by Coast Monthly

Smokey culver
Cowboy Poet Laureate

Aired June 15, 2018

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Cowboy poetry is a form of poetry that grew out of a tradition first created by cowboys and hands working on cattle drives and ranches. After a long, hard day of work, they would gather around a campfire and entertain one another with tall tales and folk songs.

Newcomers to cowboy poetry are often surprised to learn, however, that it is a contemporary art. But the cowboy lifestyle is a living tradition that exists throughout western North America and resonates wherever people still work livestock, from Central and South America, to Spain and New Zealand and Australia.

Cowboy poetry is quite popular, with conventions and performances held around the world… not just beside a campfire. In fact, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is held every year in Elko, Nevada; there’s the NFR Cowboy Poetry Contest in Las Vegas; and many cities in the US and Canada hold annual “roundups” dedicated to cowboy poetry. And Cowboy Poetry Week is celebrated each April in both the US and in Canada.