National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

I just returned from the 26th Annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering at the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada. Single digit temperatures and steady snowfall welcomed me from Florida. I couldn't help but ask, why host a gathering at peak of winter? I learned that the coldest months were the times when the cowboys' work slowed enough for them to assemble in town. I went to Elko to present about Florida cowboys -- a group of people than many of the westerners didn't know to exist. There was great surprise when I shared that Florida has America's oldest ranches as well as the country's top beef producer today. The Gathering in Elko was my first real exposure to cowboy poetry. The readings were resonant and powerful, representing a genre of poems from working people which I see to have tremendous application for social media campaigns. One of the poets told me that history according to the wealthy and powerful is written in articles and books while history of the working people is written in poems and songs. Poems as voices from the rural frontier? Combine them with photographs and we'll have a recipe for a transcending awareness.View new photography at www.carltonward.com