Interview with Cowboy Poet Baxter Black

Baxter Black writes rhymes that tell stories about cowboy life.

Baxter Black, cowboy poet, image

Baxter Black has a wild way with verse.

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For years, cowboy poet Baxter Black fancied himself a songwriter, not a poet. "But I've always been a storyteller," the former veteri-narian says. "Somewhere in my mid-30s I combined my ability to write in verse with my stories." Visit him at www.baxterblack.com.

Q: How do you define cowboy poetry?
A: Cowboy poetry is about wrecks. Horse wrecks, cow wrecks, sheep wrecks, financial wrecks. It has to do with the relationship of humor to tragedy. If you get run over by a vehicle, it's tragic; by a cow, it's funny.

Q: Why does cowboy poetry rhyme?
A: It's easier to memorize—I may do 10 or 12 poems in a show.

Q: Where do you find your inspiration?
A: My audiences. People tell me their stories, stuff I could not make up.

Q: Any favorite poets?
A: Robert Service, Rudyard Kipling, and Banjo Paterson, who wrote "The Man From Snowy River" and "Waltzing Matilda."

Photography by Michael Drawdy

This article was first published in January 2004. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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