Cowboy Poets Gather to Share Works

BY NewsHour Poetry Series  March 14, 2006 at 5:28 PM EST

Wallace McRae is a third-generation Montana rancher and President of the Rocker Six Cattle Company, a family ranch in Rosebud County. He began writing poetry and prose to record the value, humor and plight of the cowboy occupation and he leaves no subject uncovered. Several of his poems have entered the oral tradition of cowboy poetry as classics. He has received the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Montana and the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Award, and was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the National Council of the Arts in 1996. Most recently he participated in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Montana State University. Wally has published four collections of poetry, the most recent titled “Cowboy Curmudgeon”, and has recorded an hour-long video containing thirty-two of his poetry recitations, shot on his home ranch titled “Wally McRae Live (More or Less)”.

Transcript: Wallace McRae

Maggie
by Wallace McRae

I taught my good dog, Maggie
To lay down when I commanded
I also taught her “Set”
Whenever I demanded.
I’ll teach her next to speak, I said
She struggled to comply
And when she learned to speak, she said:
“You twit. It’s ‘Sit’ and ‘Lie.’”