by Fran Devereux
The Cowboy poetry gathering has gone high-tech in recent years, with the new-style gather being held at www.cowboypoetry.com. The book, The Big Roundup: Classic and Contemporary Poetry from CowboyPoetry.com, edited by Margo Metegrano, is a by-product of the Web site. The Big Roundup features a broad-based selection of more than 140 poems, both old and new that celebrate the western lifestyle.
There's something for every and about everyone in this anthology, from women of the West to Australian herdsmen. There's even a section devoted to cowboy Christmas poetry. Traditional favorites, such as "Red River Valley" and "The Sierry Petes," are featured alongside newly minted poems about present-day rodeo cowboys.
The poets cover as vast a range as their topics, according to brief biographies included in the book. Some are ranch cowboys, others ranch-raised aficionados transplanted to the city. Some perhaps, have never saddled a horse or headed a cow, but all appreciate the historical value, social conventions or romance of the West.
An added bonus: The Big Roundup includes a "Best of the West" reference section that has contact information for events, publications and organization that feature cowboy poetry and western-style museums. Altogether The Big Roundup is a fine package for anyone who likes cowboy poetry and a fine introduction to the genre for those who think they might like it.
Paperback, 432 pages, 6 by 9 inches, $21.95 plus shipping. Call 800-345-6665 to order or go to www.TheBigRoundup.com.
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