THE COWBOY POETS

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The Independent Culture
There's never been a poetry tour like it: America's Cowboy Poets are currently roaming the land with their ballads, songs and rope tricks. The Cowboy Poets are Sue Wallis, born into a ranching family in Wyoming; Randy Rieman, colt-breaker and virtuoso verse reciter; Rod McQueary of Nevada, ex-Viet vet, cowboy humorist and married to Ms Wallis; and Wisconsin- born Paul Zarzyski, the "Polish Hobo Rodeo Poet" and professional rodeo rider.

"Real cowboys are sensitive souls who'd rather write a poem than wrestle with a rattler," says the heart-bedecked press release. Apparently, cowboys have been writing and reciting poetry for over a hundred years, Cowboy Sweetheart and tour organiser Judith Palmer reports, telling the tale of a modern-day cowboy trucker who pins up a poem in his cab to learn by heart each trip. Palmer knows what she's talking about: a lovesick cowboy once turned up on her doorstep to propose. The 'Boys are playing Ipswich's Wolsey Theatre on Mon, then Grantham's Guildhall Centre (Tue), the Cramphorn in Chelmsford (Wed), The Junction, Cambridge (Thur), Cardiff's Norwegian Church Arts Centre (Fri) and Ty Llen in Swansea on Saturday, to be joined, where possible, by local poets in the rural tradition. A must for anyone who thinks there's just not enough hog-tying in modern poetry readings.

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