Cowboy Archive

The Myth of the Literary Cowboy, Part 6: Save a Horse, Write a (Space) Cowboy

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Over the past few months, the Myth of the Literary Cowboy has explored how and why Willie was spot on when he observed that our “heroes have always been cowboys.” White hats, singers, anti-hero gunslingers, poets, pop music subjects—the role of the cowboy is part of the collective American pop culture

The Myth of the Literary Cowboy, Part 5: Cowboy Poetry

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“Isn’t that an oxymoron?” I’ve heard this phrase uttered by a number of people—students, coworkers, friends, academics, random drunk party guests—anytime I mention one of the following: wearing comfortable stilettos, being a vegan Texan, or enjoying cowboy poetry. The juxtaposition of those pairings proves too much for people to

The Myth of the Literary Cowboy, Part 4: Hi-yo Cowboy, Away!

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Back in December, before an afternoon showing of The Hobbit, I got my first glimpse of the trailer for the big budget adaptation of The Lone Ranger. Sitting there enjoying my smuggled in Diet Dr. Pepper was not the first time I’d run across the film—I had read some

The Myth of the Literary Cowboy, Part 3: Golden Years

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When I was an undergrad, I was constantly debating my Comp II nemesis, a film major who would say things like, “Americans didn’t really start making films until the 1970s.” Yes, he was that guy. Once during a film and literature genre discussion, talk turned to Westerns. My nemesis

The Myth of the Literary Cowboy, Part 2: Make Me a Cowboy

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Last time on Myth of the Literary Cowboy, our hero was developed from the English knight as a post-Civil War appeal to nationalism, and my husband discovered I withheld pie a few years ago. While the cowboy is inspired by the knight, however, he is his own man, one

The Myth of the Literary Cowboy, Part 1: Peculiarly American

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Being raised in West Texas, I have experience with cowboys. I’ve taught and been taught by them, worked with them, listened to their poetry, and eaten their food. My cowboys are the real, working men who get their hands dirty, but have never (to my knowledge) been in a