Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189

March 2, 1994

Cowboy Poets To Read

The American Folklife Center and the Poetry and Literature Center of the Library of Congress will present a reading of cowboy poetry by Sunny Hancock, Linda Hussa, and Paul Zarzyski on Thursday, April 7, at 6:45 p.m. in the Mumford Room, sixth floor, Madison Building. A seminar on cowboy poetry will precede the reading from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. No tickets are required.

"A true renaissance of cowboy arts is under way," according to Hal Cannon, founding director of the Cowboy Poetry Gathering held each year in Elko, Nevada. "It is largely powered by the pressure the modern world exerts on a way of life that is foreign to it. Today there are more than 150 poetry gatherings in small Western towns. More than 500 books of ranch poetry have been published in the past century, not to mention the journals and magazines that printed the poetry."

Mr. Cannon, along with writer Teresa Jordan and Kim Stafford, director of the Northwestern Writing Program at Lewis and Clark College, will partcipate in the seminar on cowboy poetry. Linda Hussa and her husband, John, raise cattle in Northern California. Paul Zarzyski, who rode bareback broncs for 13 years, says he is now on the "poetry trail." Sunny Hancock, himself a poet, lives in Lakeview, Oregon and is famous for his immense knowledge of the traditional cowboy poetry repertoire.

Kim Stafford has written, "When a cowboy recitation is good, what makes it good? Three things strike me as true. Sometimes the horse is good, sometimes the rider, and sometimes both, or neither- -just the ride. That is, I'd say it's sometimes the poem itself that's good, and sometimes the eloquence of the reciter. Sometimes it is neither, but the sheer force of character the reciter brings out of himself or herself, and shares with the audience. When things go best, the poems belong equally to everyone."

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PR 94-048
ISSN 0731-3527

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