Cowboy Poetry (2018)
Cowboy Poetry is a short film about the 2017 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. It is a meditative portrait of the cowboy poetry culture, which combines behind the scenes footage of the Gathering with footage of the cowboy poets in their homes.
Cowboy poetry originated on the trail drives north from Texas after the Civil War, as a way for cowhands to pass time around the campfire, telling stories to the rhythm of traditional ballads and the popular poetry of the time. In 1985, Hal Canon, with the help of several others, established the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, a town of about 10,000 people. Originally intended as a one-off weekend performance, the Gathering is now a weeklong event that brings together thousands of individuals to watch performances, participate in workshops, and gather as a community to pass down narratives and practices from the rural West.