The Western Folklife Center and its 31st National Cowboy Poetry Gathering today announced the winners of the 2nd annual spoken word poetry competition on YouTube for poets ages 18-35. Expressing the Rural West: Poetry of the Next Generation is an ongoing effort to discover new artists who are carrying on the tradition of rural and cowboy poetry in the West. For the second year, aspiring poets from 17 western states were invited to film themselves reciting an original poem and upload it to YouTube.
Cheyenne Greub, from Buffalo, Wyoming, is the winner of the juried competition. Her poem, “As the Master Turns the Page,” is about living in Wyoming and working on a ranch. Cheyenne and her husband have been cowboying on the same ranch for seven years. Cheyenne performed in her first cowboy poetry gathering in Sheridan, Wyoming, when she was 14. That’s where she met her friend and mentor, cowboy poet Georgie Sicking, who has been writing and performing poetry at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and elsewhere for many years. As the winner of the juried competition, Cheyenne will be given an opportunity to perform on stage at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, January 26-31, and her travel and lodging will be paid for.
Jolyn Young is the winner of the audience award. Her poem, “So You Wanna Marry a Buckaroo?” received the most thumbs up on YouTube. Jolyn lives on the RO Ranch between Austin and Tonopah in central Nevada, where her husband cowboys for a living. Her poem chronicles her life as the wife of a working cowboy who moves frequently from ranch to ranch. She wrote the poem when her husband was away at cow camp and she was up late at night, worried and unable to sleep. Jolyn is a writer for the Nevada Rancher newspaper in Winnemucca, Nevada. Though this is the first poem she has written as an adult, creative writing is her passion, and she maintains a blog called “Warmin’ Up Dinner, Watchin’ For Dust,” at desolateranchwife.wordpress.com. Jolyn will receive two 3-day Deluxe Passes to the Gathering and a Gathering poster.
To enter the Expressing the Rural West: Poetry of the Next Generation contest, poets were invited to submit videos which included an artist introduction and did not exceed four minutes in length. Submissions had to be original compositions, performed and not read, and the content needed to have a rural focus. To qualify, poets had to live in one of the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington or Wyoming.
The poetry submissions can be viewed on the Expressing the Rural West: Poetry of the Next Generation YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/2014poetrycontest.