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Photo of father and son cowboy poets Harold and Bill Lowman
Father and son cowboy poets Harold and Bill Lowman, May 1997.

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Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Medora
A Local Legacy

When you think of cowboys, do you think of cattle drives, rodeos, horses and -- poetry? Although poetry is not usually associated with cowboys, in the 19th century, when cowboys worked on cattle drives in the West, they would sit around the campfire at night and entertain each other. They sang songs, told stories -- and recited poetry. Cowboy poetry is usually about the work they do and their connection with the land and animals. Some poems even tell a story. They can be funny, sweet, or sad.

There are still cowboy poets today. Since 1987, cowboy poets have met at the Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Medora, North Dakota. The 50 or so participants who gather together every year keep the tradition of cowboy poetry alive.

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