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Charlie Seemann, cowboy poetry expert, to offer multimedia presentation, 'Get Along Little Doggerel,' Dec. 4

Nov. 25, 2008 -- Charlie Seemann, executive director of the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nev., will speak at Arkansas State University on Thursday, Dec. 4, at 4 p.m., inCharlie Seemann, executive director of the Western Folklife Center, will lecture on cowboy poetry on Thursday, Dec. 4, at 4 p.m., in the Mockingbird Room, ASU Student Union. Photo courtesy of the Western Folklife Center. the Mockingbird Room of the ASU Student Center, 101 N. Caraway Road, Jonesboro.  His multimedia presentation, “Get Along Little Doggerel:  The Long Trail of Cowboy Poetry and Song from Cow Camps to Cowboy Poetry Gatherings,” is free and open to the public. Seemann’s visit is sponsored by ASU’s Department of English and Philosophy and the Heritage Studies doctoral program, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Seemann is a noted international authority on cowboy poetry and the folk culture of America’s western states. He will discuss how poetry has been an important cultural contribution from American cowboys from the early 1800s to the present. His lecture will focus on the history of cowboy poetry as it has evolved from the stories and verses told by working cowboys into a highly theatrical form of performance that is showcased at major festival and readings, including the “National Cowboy Poetry Gathering” produced annually by Seemann’s Western Folklife Center for the past 25 years.

Although telling stories and creating poetry has been part of the folklore of cowboys from the earliest days of ranch culture, cowboy poetry was first printed in newspapers and other publications by the late 1800s. The earliest poems were shared mainly among cowboys and ranchers, but organizations like the Western Folklife Center have recently brought cowboy poetry to a wider audience. Cowboy poetry is now flourishing within numerous communities.

The National Cowboy Poetry Gatherings have been so successful that cowboy poetry has received national attention through major newspapers and networks, and numerous articles, books, recordings, and documentaries have brought the artistry of cowboy poets to an international audience. Additional information on the Western Folklife Center, including podcasts of cowboy poetry and on-line exhibits, is available at the center’s Web site:

For more information, contact Dr. Gregory Hansen, associate professor of English and Folklore, at (870) 972-3508, or e-mail him at


 Photo of Charlie Seemann courtesy of the Western Folklife Center.

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