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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
26806 Frost On The Fork Handle and Other Selected Verse FC 11 G-25, 2 copies 20 Betty Lynne Grue My Red Heifer, Ma's Garden It was well past suppertime and Ma still hadn't come in, when up from her garden prime there rose a horrendous din. My feet flew to where the fence is corn, pumpkins, pursuit, beast, fertilizer, defense
26807 Frost On The Fork Handle and Other Selected Verse FC 11 G-25, 2 copies 21 Betty Lynne Grue A Measure Of Virtue From the frothy milk steam rises on chilly mornings steeped in frost. I've watched alot of sun rises while hunkered down beneath Ol' Boss. cooperate, rhythm, discrete, rate, pasture, traits
26808 Frost On The Fork Handle and Other Selected Verse FC 11 G-25, 2 copies 22 Betty Lynne Grue Branding Day It's more than the smell of burning hair mixed with dust hanging heavy in the air, hobbled horses resting after daylight hours under saddle, surrounded by the relentless roar of bawling cattle. crew, neighbors, wrassler, ranch, skill, route
26809 Frost On The Fork Handle and Other Selected Verse FC 11 G-25, 2 copies 23 Betty Lynne Grue Fall Gather In October a North wind blows cold as across the slopes it comes a-teasiin', scattering the leaves of gold, reminding us of a changing season. cowponies, cattle, pride, spirit, neighbors
26810 Frost On The Fork Handle and Other Selected Verse FC 11 G-25, 2 copies 24 Betty Lynne Grue I've Rode I've rode pens and the open on horses good and bad. There's some I'd ride again, some I wish I never had. I've rode across the lands strong, bakes, bitterroot, canyons, hire, lack, friends
26811 Frost On The Fork Handle and Other Selected Verse FC 11 G-25, 2 copies 25 Betty Lynne Grue Thanks, Lord I caught in my favorite little dun and rode up toward the peak, just to catch the final rays of sun and feel the wind upon my cheek. thank, forget, ignored, ride, work
26812 I Am Not A Cowboy FC 11 Z-04 8 Paul Zarzyski Luck Of The Draw That holy moment I rode the bay whispering hope, this rodeo arena--like a shrine I return to again and again, like religion itself-was filled with Kim Zupan, Maria Zupan, Red Shuttleworth, Luck Shuttleworth, boyhood, rivals, cleats, kicks, wish
26813 I Am Not A Cowboy FC 11 Z-04 11 Paul Zarzyski Snapshot Of Grandpa Frank They say the ore mines made Grandpa Frank the meanest man in Iron county-all hell breaking loose around him a mile underground, deputies, agents, firewood, mitts, fiction, fire
26814 I Am Not A Cowboy FC 11 Z-04 12 Paul Zarzyski Flat Crick's Mad Gourmet Poet & His Fishing Fanatic Neighbor Hold The First-Ever Polecatting Derby When noxious fumes put the kibosh on our Bon Appetit christmas feast, our eyes instead of mouths watering into platefuls of spiced cognac yams, Curt Stewart, mothballs, tobacco, meal, cottonwood, shine, smitten, bathtubs
26816 I Am Not A Cowboy FC 11 Z-04 14 Paul Zarzyski Why I like Butte Or: How She Goin' Today, Just? From the Gogebic Iron Range-shaking ground, in Ojibwa-across open range of the Plains Indian turned cowboy, from Dad riding the cage for 8-hours folk, pray, mountaintop, rambunctious, breakfast, M&M
26817 I Am Not A Cowboy FC 11 Z-04 16 Paul Zarzyski The Hand In South Africa, a white aristocrat grabs the hand of an elderly black man sitting in the dirt on the edge of a lush crop. The white man picks gasoline, geography, fears, Alan Thompson, Frank Phillips
26818 I Am Not A Cowboy FC 11 Z-04 17 Paul Zarzyski The Meaning Of Intimacy Not reasoning, but romantic prehistoric instinct coaxes my whiskered cheek to the fistled muzzle of a colt walking long-stemmed timothy-frame Verlena Orr, Georgia, sweet, pink, molecules, notebook, pencil
26819 I Am Not A Cowboy FC 11 Z-04 19 Paul Zarzyski Hip-Cocked Broncs Through gates pivoting like pinball flippers, through mazeworks of alleyways and cutting quick 90s into the catchpens, snorty horses July 4th, nightmare, dreams, buzzer, lockers
26820 I Am Not A Cowboy FC 11 Z-04 21 Paul Zarzyski Shoes What atrocities befell my Slavic ancestors during the war, I cannot say. But I've heard Czeslaw Milosz read poems in Polish from the pulpit congress, sky, hope, decades, cares, witnessed, exhibit,
26821 I Am Not A Cowboy FC 11 Z-04 24 Paul Zarzyski Blankets Tired of writing colorless whiteman poetry near the earth stove turning old fence posts into ash as fast as I can feed them, I bank the fire for the night bedroom, crack, dreams, chiefs, Montana, Marianne Kapoun, Robert Kapoun
26822 I Am Not A Cowboy FC 11 Z-04 25 Paul Zarzyski For Jasper, With an Arf-Arf-Arf to Ars Poetica As a teacher, I snarled and barked, yelped, mewled, and bayed at the moon to show those rural Montana students I loved, panoramic, quicksand, shock, death, scream, snap
26823 I Am Not A Cowboy FC 11 Z-04 28 Paul Zarzyski "Why I am not going to buy a computer" Because pitching woo to my 1952 baby blue Smith-Corona Silent-Super-good ol' U.S. of A. steel and iron, truer than a shoeing anvil-is climbing, windmill, experiment, Wendell Berry, Mike Royko
26824 I Am Not A Cowboy FC 11 Z-04 30 Paul Zarzyski A Salute To The Virtues & Blues Of The Rural Postmaster Who pinballs like a truck-stop waitress, without a tilt, between 300 tables, 300 slots, and almost always gets the box number right shuffle, dealer, simultaneously, mugshots, Michael, Mona, Kerry
26825 I Am Not A Cowboy FC 11 Z-04 32 Paul Zarzyski Monte Carlo Express P.O. Box 258 15.3 Miles Home I've checked fence doing 80 ina low-rider Chevrolet springing the borrow pit like a pack mule that hates crossing running water. The torture is too much showroom, Jesus, grasshopper, windshield, mascot
26826 I Am Not A Cowboy FC 11 Z-04 34 Paul Zarzyski The Day The War Began I fed the dog and he was glad, a bald eagle lit in the red willows ignited by a sinking winter sun, and prairie chickens swept low in squadrons corn, warning, missile, love, Rod McQueary, Bill Jones, Joel Nelson
26827 I Am Not A Cowboy FC 11 Z-04 36 Paul Zarzyski Yevgeny Alexandrovich Yevtushenko--Cowboy Poet Purring growl of your Russian tongue makes love to our women, suddenly erumpent and churning erotic in public. Once they were sweet cream movie, britches, skinny, lure, sword, soul, Scott Preston
26828 I Am Not A Cowboy FC 11 Z-04 39 Paul Zarzyski I Am Not A Cowboy Because cowboys don't cry and I can't fight back my 4-H'er greenhorn rapture while watching Cody foal-no white socks up front, prize, rhyme, quite, sorry, heart, Elizabeth
26829 Saddle For A Throne FC 11 O-13 1 Will Ogilvie "The Men Who Blazed The Track" Since the toasts for the absent are over, and duly we've pledged in our wine our land, and our friends, and our lover, here's a toast for you, comrades o' mine: Islands, remember, desire, brighten, ambitions
26830 Saddle For A Throne FC 11 O-13 3 Will Ogilvie To Comrades Of Camp-Fire And Muster I have ridden the boundary wires with you; I have sweated in yard and shed; I have lighted the red camp-fires with you in the dust of a thousand head; west, comrades, true, night, songs
26833 Saddle For A Throne FC 11 O-13 3 Will Ogilvie The Graves Out West If the lonely graves are scattered in that fenceless vast God's Acre, if no church bells chime across them, and no mourners tread between- souls, stars, snow-white, wildflowers, invisible