Storytelling in the Rural West is Focus
by Western Folklife Center Staff
The 33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering will celebrate the art and tradition of storytelling in the rural West, presenting first-hand narratives wrought from personal experience and told in verse, song, film, visual art, new media, and prose. From January 30 through February 4, 2017, Elko, Nevada, will be bursting with tales of lessons learned, risk-taking, humor, heroes, neighbors and family told by master storytellers and everyday folks from the rural West. Texas poet, scholar and songwriter Andy Wilkinson will deliver the keynote address and The Moth, an organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling, will bring its Mainstage performance to Nevada for the first time.
“Some folks say that the world began as stories told by the elders around a campfire,” says David Roche, Executive Director of the Western Folklife Center, which produces the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. “Our worlds are made up of stories—old ones that stick to our souls and new ones that light us up like a thunderbolt crackling on the high desert. Come join us in Elko for a Gathering warmed up by some of the best wordsmiths and story slingers in the West.”
The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is an international festival that honors the arts, culture and traditions of the rural West. It offers poetry, music, storytelling, dancing, workshops, exhibitions, discussions, food and fellowship. At the 33rd annual Gathering, 45 poets, musicians and musical groups from the U.S., Canada and Australia will perform on seven stages at four different venues. A full list of artists can be found at www.nationalcowboypoetrygathering.org. The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering also features hands-on workshops in traditional Western arts including rawhide braiding and horsehair hitching, cooking, dancing, songwriting, and how to play the bones. A special exhibition will present an artful view of the horse in the American West and will display contemporary gear from the Western Folklife Center’s collection.