Top of page

Film, Video Cowboy Poetry: History, Origins, Influences, Forms

About this Item


  • Cowboy Poetry: History, Origins, Influences, Forms


  • 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."

Event Date

  • September 14, 2006


  • -  This recording is not available.
  • -  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.

Running Time

  • 1 hours 3 minutes 16 seconds





Rights & Access

While the Library of Congress created most of the videos in this collection, they include copyrighted materials that the Library has permission from rightsholders to present.  Rights assessment is your responsibility.  The written permission of the copyright owners in materials not in the public domain is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. There may also be content that is protected under the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations.  Permissions may additionally be required from holders of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights). Whenever possible, we provide information that we have about copyright owners and related matters in the catalog records, finding aids and other texts that accompany collections. However, the information we have may not be accurate or complete.

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Credit Line: Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Cowboy Poetry: History, Origins, Influences, Forms. 2006. Web..

APA citation style:

(2006) Cowboy Poetry: History, Origins, Influences, Forms. [Web.] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Cowboy Poetry: History, Origins, Influences, Forms. 2006. Web.. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.