This Poetry Festival is all About That Cowboy Life

Here’s why a few Texas cowpokes are flocking to an international poetry festival.

By Laura RiceJanuary 29, 2016 11:07 am

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is going on right now in rural Nevada. For more than 30 years, the gathering has celebrated cowboy culture and everything Western with poetry, music and stories.

As it should be, several Texans are part of this year’s lineup, including poet and musician Stephanie Davis. She’s a fourth generation Montanan who now hangs her hat in the Texas Hill Country.

She says cowboy poetry is much better experienced than described. “It’s something that people are sure they’re gonna hate,” she says.

It includes verse from working cowboys, cowgirls and ranchers. There are limericks, war poetry, and even something Davis says she dreamed up: the cowboy haiku. It’s about people’s lives, she says. “It’s just pure great storytelling.”

“Cowboy poetry was just a means of trying to remember a story,” Davis says. “If you do lots of long, lonely work, your brain is gonna start rhyming words…. But if you’re horseback it just is the rhythm of these words.”

Cowboy Poetry Gathering hosts poetry sessions, workshops and open mics. There are also exhibit demos and special sessions like Experiments in Land Stewardship, Learn to Play Cowboy Harmonica Instantly and Design a Star Quilt.

Hear the full interview, as well as original music and poetry by Stephanie Davis, in the audio player above.