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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.


Poetry table.

First Previous Next Last
IDBook TitleComposerIndexPagesAuthorPoem TitleFirst LinesKeywords
22837 Mustang Spring Stories & Poems FC 11 M-59 41 Deanna Dickinson McCall Barbed Pain The new Dodge pickup, shiny as a candied apple, slowed as it approached the last curve to the ranch headquarters.
22838 Mustang Spring Stories & Poems FC 11 M-59 49 Deanna Dickinson McCall American Stockman I have fought many a battle Skirmished over water and feed. Scarred and wounded I start to bleed For my heart is this war's chattel.
22839 Mustang Spring Stories & Poems FC 11 M-59 51 Deanna Dickinson McCall The Wreck The smell of fear, my stale sweat, horse sweat and cow manure clung to me. I glanced down at my wrinkled, stained clothes, clothes I had worn the day before.
22840 Mustang Spring Stories & Poems FC 11 M-59 63 Deanna Dickinson McCall Sacramento Mountain Spirits I roam these mountains searching for sign Hoping to find favor from the divine. We paint our pots black and white Grow our maize and crops in sight.
22841 Mustang Spring Stories & Poems FC 11 M-59 65 Deanna Dickinson McCall Snowy Ride I am cold, colder than a man should be and still be alive. I felt my body begin to draw up into itself hours ago, leaving a physical space between the first of many layers I wear and my tightened skin.
22842 Mustang Spring Stories & Poems FC 11 M-59 77 Deanna Dickinson McCall Cow Country Code I listened carefully, listened to directions All based on recollections Of cattle last seen, water and grass green.
22843 Mustang Spring Stories & Poems FC 11 M-59 81 Deanna Dickinson McCall Spirit Of Giving Snow lay in heavy drifts, cedar and juniper trees frosted with thick icing, while icicles hung nearly to the ground from the ranch house roof.
22844 Mustang Spring Stories & Poems FC 11 M-59 85 Deanna Dickinson McCall Prayers We prayed for rain, prayed for snow, The prayers were but an empty echo Returning to taunt again and again As springs dried and cattle grew thin.
22845 Mustang Spring Stories & Poems FC 11 M-59 89 Deanna Dickinson McCall Elena's Angels The roan horse nickered softly in recognition as the petite, dark-haired girl approached. It was late afternoon, and the horse had been waiting for the daily ritual.
22846 Mustang Spring Stories & Poems FC 11 M-59 107 Deanna Dickinson McCall Windy Ridge Up on Windy Ridge I see the Guadalupes rise And watch an eagle soar and glide through azure skies. I see the Cornudas across the grasslands below The Organs' pillars of gray barren rock a dull glow.
22847 Mustang Spring Stories & Poems FC 11 M-59 109 Deanna Dickinson McCall The Mustanger The old dented pickup truck bounced across the alkaline desert, its outdated stock racks rattling on the bed, followed by a plume of gray-ish white dust the consistency of ash. The dust had become a part of the three men long ago, settling on everything God or man had made in the high desert valley.
22848 Mustang Spring Stories & Poems FC 11 M-59 121 Deanna Dickinson McCall Death At Cornudas Sick and abandoned, down off Crow Flats She and two boys to live like rats. The worthless man left her there to fend Knowing in his heart she wouldn't ment.
22849 Mustang Spring Stories & Poems FC 11 M-59 125 Deanna Dickinson McCall The Perfect Father Sunbeams slanted through the dirty windows, forming a halo-like haze around the baby sitting on the kitchen floor and surrounded with dented pots and lids.
22850 Mustang Spring Stories & Poems FC 11 M-59 139 Deanna Dickinson McCall Old Corrals How many cattle? How many years? How many men? Who were the pioneers That chose this place to gather stock? To pen his herd or flock?
22851 Mustang Spring Stories & Poems FC 11 M-59 141 Deanna Dickinson McCall The Hired Hand We made a call to town To have some help sent down. The horses and us were wore out. I even walked like I had gout.
22852 Mustang Spring Stories & Poems FC 11 M-59 145 Deanna Dickinson McCall An Education The classroom was old and warm, with the stale smell of chalk and floor wax. The freshman in the back of the class felt sweat bead on his lip and found it increasingly difficult to sit still.
22853 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 3 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Ida's Bread Ida made bread in a dripper using ten or more pounds of flour. She'd knead it by hand 'til it bounced on the board. It could take her the best part of an hour.
22854 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 5 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Forget-me-not He was a fighter and a gambler, he was bound to end up dead, And he would lead her straight to heartbreak, or so her father said.
22855 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 8 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Quilting Party On porches, in churches, or community halls, in towns with a thousand names, Tables are pushed back to the walls to make room for the rails and frames.
22856 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 10 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Eulogy She married her a cowboy and so she followed where he'd go from Wyoming to Nevada, wherever the wind would blow.
22857 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 12 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Why the Cowboys Sing- for Cathy Brian They haven't asked you why you sing, Though I'm sure they'd like to know Why sometimes you burst into song, Or sing ballads, soft and low.
22858 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 13 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Pearl was Always Waiting On Tuesday and Thursday she'd drive to the crossing, to hear the news and pick up her mail. She'd be waiting, in her dusty white pick-up when we got there, every time. Without fail.
22859 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 15 Jo Lynne Kirkwood They Called Her Queenie Olray They called her Queenie Olray And she lived down south of town on what had been a handsome place Back when Boss was still around.
22860 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 17 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Gina Gina lived in a two-room shack at the edge of an empty field. Her father worked on the Big Navajo at the Whiting Brothers sawmill.
22861 Old Stories FC 11 K-26 19 Jo Lynne Kirkwood Timberline Riding high, near the timberline where snow still lingered beneath the pines on a summer's morning, I came onto an ancient cabin.