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General information
Guidelines
Holiday and themed poems
Indexes to poems
Articles
Tips

 

Photo courtesy of C. E. Avery -- click for details

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Our focus is on stories about the life of rural communities and today's real working West. We look for poems and lyrics that say something original about cowboying, ranching, or rural life. 

We seek well-written poems and lyrics with strong, developed stories with themes that are uniquely Western.  

We encourage poems and lyrics inspired by personal experiences. 

Above all, we seek quality. There are some additional tips below.

We look for works that go beyond platitudes, seeking those that say something new, or say something in a new way about today's real working West.

We are not looking for idealized "Old West" poems or lyrics. We do consider works with factual historical themes that relate to cowboying, ranching, or rural life.

We are not looking for poems or lyrics inspired by a "Hollywood" view of the West,  worn jokes turned into poems or songs, or "bathroom humor." We do not accept blatantly political, patriotic, religious or romantic poems or lyrics that are not original, well-developed stories about today's working West. Our focus does not include Christian cowboy poetry.

Works should be suitable for our wide audience, which includes young readers. Works that have been published elsewhere previously are welcome.

Occasionally, poems outside of those guidelines are posted, at the invitation of the editor. Such works are usually poems of merit by poets with a body of work at CowboyPoetry.com.

All are welcome to submit poetry and lyrics.  We respond to all submissions; we do not have the resources to offer critiques. Our editorial decisions are final.

Accepted poems and lyrics are posted.  

 

These are the essential guidelines:

Works must be submitted by email (no attachments; please make the subject line your poem title).  We do not accept postal mail submissions.

Poems and lyrics submitted must be your original work. They may have been published elsewhere previously.

Send just one poem or song.

Read the tips below before sending your work. They address near-rhymes and forced rhymes, meter, editing, and other matters.  

We generally look for poems written in the traditional cowboy poetry style, with particularly strong rhyme and meter, which tell well-developed stories of cowboying, ranching, and  rural life. We do consider other forms. 

We look for works that go beyond platitudes, seeking those that say something new, or say something in a new way about today's real working West.

We are not looking for idealized "Old West" poems or lyrics; poems or lyrics inspired by a "Hollywood" view of the West; worn jokes turned into poems or songs; Christian cowboy poetry; or for political, patriotic, religious or romantic poems or lyrics that are not original, well-developed stories about today's working West. We do consider poems with factual historical themes that relate to cowboying, ranching, or rural life.

We do not accept unsolicited prose, essays, or commentary.

We're particularly interested in works that reflect how people live and work today in Western rural communities in the real working West. 

Occasionally, poems outside of those guidelines are posted, at the invitation of the editor. Such works are usually poems of merit by poets with a body of work at CowboyPoetry.com.

All submissions are judged for acceptance.

Send one poem to: poems@cowboypoetry.com:

Please:
Include your poem's title in the subject line.
Use plain email, no attachments  
Do not type in all CAPS
Include your name
with your poem

Once you hear back about whether your submission is accepted (we confirm receipt right way and then generally respond about acceptance within 8-12 weeks) you may send another. Accepted works get posted at CowboyPoetry.com. Our editorial decisions are final. We do not have the resources to offer critiques.

Full index of all poems and songs alphabetical by artists' names

A - L
M - Z
 

Additional indexes:

And:

Classic Cowboy Poems and Songs

Honored Guests (invited poets and songwriters)

Special Featured Poems, Prose, and Lyrics

Invited Singers and Songwriters

Continuing Features

Poetry in Special Features


There are these special collections, also added to regularly:

Subscribe to the occasional BAR-D e-news here.

We add news, poems, and more just about daily, and you can find what's new here.


Win the Lariat Laureate

Photo courtesy C. E. Avery -- click for details

CowboyPoetry.com occasionally chose Lariat Laureates (and "8 Seconds") from accepted submissions, 2000-2010. That program has been ended.

The final Lariat Laureate is Ken Cook. You can read his poem and those of the current 8 Seconds here.

From the announcement about our final Lariat Laureate competition:

 

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

We are pleased to share so many good poems at CowboyPoetry.com, in our frequent postings.

We've recognized some fine poets over the past years in our Lariat Laureate
competition. Now we're moving toward a sharing of poems, rather than a
competition among poets, and phasing out the Lariat Laureate competition.

Poetry submissions continue to be encouraged. As always, poems are accepted based on quality and in accordance with our guidelines. We look forward to
continuing to share an abundance of good poetry focused on cowboying,
ranching and rural life.

Your comments are welcome. Email us.

 


Holiday poems and songs and special themes

Submissions of Christmas poems and songs and New Year toasts are welcome during the season, from November 1 through December 15

When submissions are open, you may submit one poem or song, even if you have another regular or Art Spur submission pending or want to send another regular or Art Spur submission during the season.

Poems should be uniquely Western and conform to the regular submission guidelines.

 


Visit the sixteenth annual Christmas at the BAR-D (2015)

See the 2015 Christmas Art Spur here.


 

While we do have existing themed collections, there are no current open submissions for those collections. We often post accepted poems in those collections. We do not solicit submissions for Cowboy Poetry Week, Valentine's Day, and other such holidays. Themed poems may be submitted under our regular guidelines. It takes about eight weeks for us to consider a submission. If you have a posted poem that you think should have been included in a themed collection, please email us.

There are often open Art Spur submissions. You can find those announcements here.

 

What if your poem or song isn't accepted?  We comment below.

 

We also have poetry and lyrics from invited Honored Guests.

Space and editorial considerations may cause us to remove posted works after an extended period of time. Often, if a writer has no new work posted for more than a couple of years, those pages will be removed. The works may be resubmitted according to these guidelines.

All poems and lyrics remain the property of their authors, who are protected by U.S. Copyright Law to its full extent.  No poem or song may be reproduced without the express permission of the author. 

 

 

We recommend these articles:

"Whipping Up a Poem"
Rod Miller's essay about craftsmanship in poetry.

"A Brief Introduction to Cowboy Poetry, or, Who's the Guy in the Big Hat and What is He Talking About?"
Rod Miller's wide-ranging essay about cowboy poetry, then and now

"Don't Say It"
Rod Miller writes about the importance of what a poet doesn't say

You Call THAT a Poem?
Poet and writer Rod Miller challenges writers

Are You All Talk and No Trochaic Tetrameter?
Poet and writer Rod Miller discusses meter

Writing Cowboy Poetry
Sam Jackson, known for his excellent poetry and for conceiving and producing the world's only Cowboy Poetry Rodeo, shares his experience and advice

No Excuse for Lazy Poets
COWBOY MAGAZINE editor and publisher Darrell Arnold tells it as he sees it

Does Slant Rhyme with Cant?
Poet and writer Rod Miller discusses slant rhyme and the classic poets who use it

Suggestions for Wordsmithing Better Poetry
Award-winning poet and writer Jane Morton addresses the craft of writing, with a focus on rhyme and editing

Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Poet and writer Rod Miller examines inspired, memorable poetry with examples from current and classic poetry

Spurrin' the Words
Recommended for all poets, excellent Cowboy Poetry guides by Montana 4-H

Learning About Rhythm
A lesson from Spurrin' the Words, the Montana 4-H Cowboy Poetry guides

Writing Cowboy Poetry
Sam Jackson, known for his excellent poetry and for conceiving and producing the world's only Cowboy Poetry Rodeo, shares his experience and advice

and others, listed here

 

 

If you want to keep in touch with updates at CowboyPoetry.com, subscribe to our free email newslettter, which goes out about quarterly or so.  It is compiled from news that is posted just about daily, which you can read here.


 

Some tips

Poems that don't get accepted might have a better chance if these things were considered and revisions were made:

Our focus is on poems that reflect cowboy and ranching life—the real, working West, not the "reel" stories from movies and such. 

We are not interested in "outhouse" poems or poems that include drunken driving or racial prejudice. 

We're interested only in poems that are acceptable to readers of all ages. 

Get to know the work of the classic Cowboy Poets and read all the good poetry you can. There are usually good reasons why poems become the favorites of many readers. Read our Honored Guests' poetry. See our articles about writing and reciting Cowboy Poetry.

 

sigh . . .

 

What if your poem is not accepted?

We hope you'll work on it and re-submit it, or submit another.  

Judging is of course subjective, but we try to let poets know why a poem is not accepted. 

We do out best to keep the bar high, in an effort to make our collection representative of the best in cowboy poetry.  

 

 

 

 

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