Monday, February 17, 2014

The Road to Elko ~ February 01, 2014

Here we go again. We start the day with a feather fall of snow, a real treat for us West Coast Kids. Time to round the posse up for breakfast and see what's on the agenda.

Playtime - fun horse artwork by Kathleen Roeth

Our first show is "Free Range Poetry and Prose" in one of the smaller venues. As we're getting seated a woman walked up to Rod and told him he was a spiting image of Alberta poet Ken Blacklock. We started chatting and found out she was Saskatchewan poet Linda Nadon. We gained another new connection to Elko and bought a copy of her poetry collection to bring home. 

mt Ken Blacklock Alberta CAN 150x150 Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering by Gwen Peterson Photo by Bob Kisken
Ken Blacklock
The Rodster

I found a great definition of "free range" from Arielle Greenberg: poet, author, editor and a regular columnist for the American Poetry Review.

"One could theorize that some of the most exciting poetry from any part of history or the world manages to walk the line between chaos and control, concision and surprise. A little purposeful sloppiness can be a great way to enliven, embolden and deepen the heart of the well crafted poem." Sounds a bit like life doesn't it?

We finally get a chance to see Amy Hale Auker and were once again delighted by the stories of Vess Quinlan. Best of all we got to see the winner of the first YouTube competition, Expressing the Rural West: Poetry of the Next Generation, sponsored by the Western Folklife Center. Forrest Mackey is a young cowboy from New Mexico. He recited poems about an 1889 blizzard in the high country near where he grew up and the drawback of a speed dial phone. He's lanky, shy, and has a lot of promise. Hope to see him at the next Gathering.

Off to the G3 Theater for two more shows before lunch. The first is "Windows on the West" with Yvonne Hollenbeck, Dianna McCall and Trinity Seely. 

Bannack Montana Historic Old West Ghost Town Rustic Window Reflection 8x10 fine art digital photography image glossy print
Bannack State Park Historical Site
A friend had seen Trinity earlier in the week and told us not to miss the chance to see her. She's a ranch wife, cowboy, mother, and remarkable singer and songwriter. We were treated to a glimpse into her life through her music. Here's "Rides for the Brand" on YouTube. 

Next is "Steering with my Knees" where Paul Zarzyski enlightens and entertains with works from his new book of the same title. He's a feral wordsmith with a huge stage presence and a one of a kind delivery. If ever you get a chance to see him live take the opportunity and run with it. He'll rock your world.

Phew, time for a breather. We're a little "crowded" out and decide to pass on the afternoon performances to check out some of the trade shows around town and get a walk in. Rod is a knife collector and is drawn to one of the tables at the Stockman's show. There is a young cowpoke of about 6, in full cowboy gear, standing at the display case. He tells Rod the pros and cons of some of the knives and which ones he likes. Rod told him he already had a good knife but asked if he could give him a tip for his great sales pitch. The kid was delighted as Rod handed him a buck. I looked over to the owner of the booth and told him his son was a great salesman. His wife walked up behind us and said "He isn't even ours, his mom runs the booth next to us". What a delightful encounter. 

This has been such a whirlwind we wanted to get the six of us together before we head home tomorrow and decided on Machi's Saloon and Grill. We had a very long wait, but it was well worth it. It also afforded us a chance to catch up on the last couple of days. 

Our final show is "Anthems Past and Future" with Brenn Hill, Waddie Mitchell and Dave Stamey doing a round robin. The show opened with Waddie reciting Dame Nevada, a poem he wrote to celebrate Nevada's sesquicentennial (150th) birthday this year. When the show started it was clear they each had a set list in mind, but that quickly disintegrated as they started to respond to each other, a little unplanned chaos that delighted the audience and gave us one of the best shows of the Gathering.  Here is the link to YouTube: