VICE: Cowboy Poetry Is the American Art Form You’ve Never Heard Of


For three days, I attended various sessions at the 33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, listening to poetry and song and attending panels with titles like “The Lingo of Our Calling” and “All Creatures Great and Small.” I talked to cowboys and poets and cowboy poets. I talked to urbanites dressed like ranchers and ranchers dressed for Sunday mass, retired miners and concessionaires and bored millennials ditching Reno for the weekend. I watched my own cousin, a conservative rancher and cowboy poet from central Nebraska, rap a poem on the stage while Dom Flemons, a Grammy Award–winning folk artist and founding member of the black string band Carolina Chocolate Drops, accompanied him on the bones. People spilled into the hallways of the convention center after each performance, hugging and smiling and shaking hands, some strangers, some lifelong friends. Many wore cowboy hats, and more than a few slicked back thick chevron mustaches. I overheard conversations running the gamut, from cattle chutes to Leonard Cohen—but not once did I hear the name Donald Trump.  Read more here.

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