SATIRE: Yeehaw for cowboy poetry week

The art of old Western poetry deserves more recognition

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NATALIE BLAKE | DAILY EVERGREEN ILLUSTRATION

Cowpokes ride into Elko, Nev. with pistols and poems at the ready.

JOEL KEMEGUE, Evergreen columnist

Cowboy poetry week started two days ago. Where’s all the celebration, WSU?

Not a lot needs to be explained. We all know cowboy poetry week has been a staple of America since the old Western days of 1985, and we all know each year hundreds of cowpokes herd themselves to Elko, Nev. from Jan. 28-Feb. 1 for a week of cowboy poems, cowboy stories, cowboy songs, cowboy rapping, cowboy spoken word, etc.

But if you’re like me–cursed with a family that holds a disgusting apathy toward cowboy poetry–then it’s hard to make the holy pilgrimage to Elko every year. Or if you’re a college student with two essays due on Sunday even though it’s only the fourth week of school, but I’m not going to get into that.

I planned to say here how excited I was that I’d finally be able to celebrate such an important holiday. That even though WSU, and Washington in general, wasn’t known for cowboys, it could still appreciate a crucial aspect of American culture. See some appreciation for the poets of our time: Dalton Wilcox, Hannah Montana, and Bingo Gazingo.

Three days gone by and not one hoe down. Not one cowboy poetry slam.

Aren’t I the fool? I can hardly write this with all the egg on my face. 

I have to say this disappoints me. As a Kansas-born, belt-buckle-wearing cowboy who roots and toots but never shoots down a good time, there is no good time to be had here. I’m beginning to think you all don’t really care about cowboys, or poetry, or cowboy poetry.

There’s a plain disrespect held for cowboys on this campus. Why do I get laughed at for sporting my ostrich leather cowboy boots? Why can’t I ride my horse on campus? 

In fact, I was going to originally write this article in cowboy speak, but I was worried it wouldn’t be taken seriously.

I take cowboy poetry very seriously.

Look, cowpokes, something needs to change here. WSU is in the west, ain’t it? Why does all the cold and the location and the 100 years since the end of the Old West era have to make my John Wayne dreams irrelevant? Why can’t you city slickers appreciate a good night of cowboy poetry, if not a week?

Here. I’ll leave you a poem. There are still two days left until cowboy poetry week ends. Think about it.

When the sunset’s lookin’ mighty fine

And there ain’t no varmints to shoot

I need a place to rest my hat

And ostrich leather boots.

But maybe y’all just don’t love cowboys

And I feel just like a booger

Because it sure is hard for us to rest

In a den full of cougars.