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TITLE: Cowboy Poetry: History, Origins, Influences, Forms
SPEAKER: David Stanley
EVENT DATE: 2006/09/14
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 63 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
David Stanley discusses the history and development cowboy poetry in American culture as part of the Benjamin Botkin Lecture Series sponsored by the American Folklife Center.
Stanley has been researching cowboy poetry for nearly 20 years. Cowboy poetry in the United States dates back to the period of the long-distance cattle drives from Texas to Kansas that followed the Civil War, and it has been a thriving and ever-changing tradition ever since. As a genre, it has been influenced by literary works - the Bible, the Odyssey, Shakespeare's plays, the works of the Beat Generation - by popular writers such as Robert W. Service and Rudyard Kipling, by Victorian popular culture and its fondness for schoolhouse and parlor recitations, by Hollywood cowboy films, by country-western music and by political developments from the advent of homesteading and barbed wire in the 19th century to contemporary vegetarianism, environmentalism and economic development associated with the "New West."
Speaker Biography: David Stanley is professor of English at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, where he teaches folklore, American literature, Native American studies and environmental studies. He has done folklore fieldwork in Texas, Georgia and throughout the American West, as well as in Argentina, Brazil, Mongolia and France. He is editor of two books -- "Cowboy Poets & Cowboy Poetry" and "Folklore in Utah" -- and the recordings "Listening In: Utah Storytelling," "Cowboy Poetry Classics" and "Coalfield Tunes: Ethnic Music from Carbon County, Utah." He was formerly employed as a folklorist by the Utah Arts Council, where he produced festivals, concerts, publications and exhibitions.
SERIES: Benjamin Botkin Lecture Series