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FOLK COLLECTION 11: The Skaggs Foundation Cowboy Poetry Collection


Date of Items: 1890-present
Register Prepared by: Randy Williams and Susan Gross, April 2004
Register Updated by: Randy Williams, 23 December 2009
Excel database transfered to MYSQL and uploaded (replacing PHP data): Colin Jackson, Fall 2010
MYSQL database updated: Randy Williams, January 2012
Linear Feet:20


Historical Note & Provenance

Folk Coll 11 is Utah State University's cowboy poetry collection. The collection, originally created by a generation donation by the L. J. and Mary Skaggs Foundation, includes books gathered during a fieldwork project in the early 1980s to document cowboy poetry in the U.S. west (see Folk Coll 11f). From this important fieldwork project came the impetus for the first Cowboy Poetry Gathering held in January 1985 in Elko, Nevada. Since that time, each January, the Fife Folklore Archives staff take the collection and Access database (that details each book, poem, author, first line and key words), to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering for offsite use. Through University purchases and generation donations from poets and collectors, this collection continues to grow.


Scope and Content

The collection consists of 20 linear feet of books on cowboy poetry, including press and self published works. The collection can be accessed through USU Libraries online catalog.


As well, poem titles and keywords found in each book in the collection are included in the database below. To use, type in the search term. Tip: Try and use an uncommon word from the poem to ensure less "hits." For instance, if you enter "boots" you will get many hits; but if you enter "bones" you will most liley get fewer "hits" or poems and find the item you seek faster. To return to the search page, click "home" at the bottom of the page.


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Poetry table.

First Previous Next Last
IDBook TitleComposerIndexPagesAuthorPoem TitleFirst LinesKeywords
22111 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 39 John Duncklee El Corrido de Antonio Beltran I listened to the tales of my father about the days and months in the land that paid in dollars the trips north the bus to the border the walk along the river hiding days and walking nights.
22112 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 46 In the Corner In the corner of the corrugated shed an old saddle, unnoticed, half hidden by a layer of gray-brown dust. A pair of chaps, cracked and scraped hanging from a horn burned and grooved by dallies, saddle strings stretched and hard.
22113 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 47 Dan Guenther About Elk At twilight the Evergreen herd lingered at the Genessee exit for over an hour, gazing upon the highway and the first of the emerging stars. Blinded by the oncoming headlights, they turned and moved eastward, the setting sun at their backs.
22114 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 48 Hunter He stops the car to listen to what drops out of the wind. Cries within the pines lift his spirits, the search for the sudden and unforeseen, continuous, even in his dreams.
22115 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 49 Keeper of the Ute's Winter Moon In the early light mares guide their colts down Bear Creek, along a trail once used by the Mountain Utes. After a sleepless November night subtle ghosts settle with the first snow on the foothills, and the cry of a lynx freezes the lead mare.
22116 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 50 When Deer Move Down the Mountain Tempted to board a bus for Mexico, the last cowboys howl and yip at the Morrison Cantina. The cold coming in has all wild things on the move, the natural order turning around, coyotes prowling roadside ditches, a cougar digging up old graves south of Littleton.
22117 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 51 Linda Hussa The Un-doing of Heaven's Match She's returning books borrowed against the echo of an empty house. Never read them, I bet. Doesn't taste the coffee I set before her, doesn't feel the pick-me-up of its intention. So deep in the blues.
22118 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 53 Basque Herders Desert bands always on the move. Bedroll on new ground each night. Aspen leaves tremble, Afraid of the darkness beyond the fire. He carves tree after tree --name and year. How long did he promise to stay? Hands over the smooth bark.
22119 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 54 January Gift Alone chopping the evening's wood I bend to gather up kindling and chance to see a cloud taking up half the sky. Folded layers of yesterday's blood and the white-hot light of Heaven are a swan floating on the endless blue.
22120 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 55 W.C. Jameson The Air It changed the moment I stepped onto the southern bank after crossing the Rio Grande del Norte. The air in Mexico is different from the air in Texas. The pungency of dense creosote bush assails the nostrils, but it took only moments to grow accustomed to it, to like it.
22121 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 56 The Headstone A simple marker Seven steps from the trail. Old sandstone, badly weathered. The inion barely readable.
22122 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 57 To Beat the Devil In the cantinas of Colima we wasted days and surrendered nights while searching for love and enlightenment, while searching for meaning, searching for life.
22123 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 58 Los Zopilotes We had ridden over a mile from the battlefield, heartbeats and breath only just beginning to slow. Sweat streamed down faces, arms, legs, torsos, clothes smelled like gunsmoke, bodies atremble with victory.
22124 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 59 So Much Time Has Passed On my last trip to the foothills of the Sierras in the Chihuahuan countryside I learned they were all gone. Borrego was captured and hung by the vaqueros. Sanchez was shot by a firing squad. Candelaria was crucified along the road to Boquillas.
22125 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 60 Celinda Kaelin Custer's Boots "May we know his heart, so that the People will live." Golden flakes of tobacco tumbled into the pipe's bowl with these words as the People prepared to send a voice to the Creator.
22126 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 62 Holy Woman Tree Story.
22127 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 64 Sundancing at Pine Ridge "A serpent is in your midst!" Sun Dance Chief heeds rattler's warning, honors this messenger with painless death. Lifeless, rattlesnake now lies coiled in the earth.
22128 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 68 Page Lambert Culling Buffalo at Yellowstone In a darkened conference center across a square-cornered video screen shadowed images of starving buffalo wander wading through the snow of diseased winters.
22129 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 69 Dispersal Alone, after fifteen spring calving seasons, twenty-four married winters, I step out the barn door, pieces of alfalfa cake in my pockets, specks of manure on my boots.
22130 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 70 Even as the Antler Listen for the sound of one tree cradling another the creak of limb, the moaning of wind silent deadfall on the forest floor. Even elk must sometimes choose to walk divergent paths.
22131 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 71 Max McCoy Summer is Short and the Night is Long I So I walk the river road at night, sit by the water beneath stars, watch the moon rise over pools, feel the tide within my veins and dare to drink the mystery of her again.
22132 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 72 Max McCoy Summer is Short and the Night is Long II So I went to the hospital, said, "I'm discontinuing treatment for an unequivocal lack of results and I want my books back.
22133 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 73 Max McCoy Summer is Short and the Night is Long III So I walk into the Farmers and Droverss Loan say, "Get down or I'll blow your heads off, this isn't as easy as it looks, I'm wound tighter than piano wire and my heart's hammering a Steve Earle song.
22134 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 76 Red Shuttleworth Lyndon Baines Johnson (1928) Cadaver-thin, he stalks up the tracks out of Cotulla, Texas. The tickle in his throat gives way to the first whiskey in weeks. At twenty he is scarcely older than his seventh grade Mexican students at Wellhaven Elementary School.
22135 Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West Laurie Wagner Buyer & WC Jameson FC 11 W-30 77 Elman Card (1937) "What kind of life can you have if over three hundred boys and girls died when the school blew up while you played hooky? I was home, rubbing my arm with Absorbine, which also kills ringworm of the foot.