#30 – Winter 2008




Cowboy & Western Poets

Conversations with
Robert Pinsky & Natasha Trethewey


#30 - $7Releasing December 2008, issue #30 celebrates the poetry of the western range with work by 24 cowboy & western poets. Developing primarily as an oral tradition, the genre is often thought of as a hybrid between story and song–a collection of tall tales and folk ballads that sit well around the campfire. But the image of the cowboy has been mythologized by Hollywood, and the image of the cowboy poem has been oversimplified, as well.

Modern cowboy & western poetry is as complicated and eclectic as the modern cowboy–there are plenty of appearances by cattle and corrals and ranchers breaking horses, but the topics range from love and politics to ecology and philosophy. And while many of the poems speak in meter and rhyme, plenty of others roam wild and free. The tribute section even includes the longest poem we’ve ever published, a 20-page western retelling of Beowulf by Donald Mace Williams.

Also in the issue, Alan Fox interviews three-term Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky and Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey. Along with 60 pages of open poetry, we share the 11 winning poems from the 2008 Rattle Poetry Prize.


Cowboy & Western Poetry

Rod Miller A Brief Introduction to Cowboy Poetry
Robert A. Ayres If You Give a Government Trapper…
Bruce Berger Rider
J.V. Brummels Over the Hill Where Rock and Roll Dies
Joshua Dolezal Duende
Cal Freeman Farrier
Thea Gavin Cottonwood Blues
Christine Gelineau Breaking Babies
D.W. Groethe When There’s Frost Upon the Ponies
Mark D. Hart The Calf in the Pantry
M.E. Hope Cow Songs
Mikhail Horowitz Wild Bill Hacker
Bil Lepp Muscled Loins and Haunches
Lisa Lewis A Question About Horses
Jennifer Malesich Love Letter After the Fact
Al “Doc” Mehl Fence Posts Made of Stone
David Romtvedt Spring in the Country
Luke Shuttleworth Showdown
Red Shuttleworth A Plastic Dashboard Jesus?
Laurence Snydal Authority
Jeff Streeby Sheep Kill
Larry D. Thomas Steers in Summer, Lowing
Donald Mace Williams Wolfe
Paul Zarzyski The Car That Brought You Here…


Malcolm Alexander Semiotics
Sherman Alexie Scarlet
Dick Allen Considering the Trebonites
Chris Anderson Reality Homes
Tiffany Beechy On the Poverty of My Imagination
Helena Bell Dalton’s Law
James Best Expiration Dates
Sally Bliumis-Dunn Gratitude
Traci Brimhall At a Party on Ellis Island, Watching…
Trent Busch Dark Coats
Marcus Cafagña Last Meal
Alicia Casey On the Day of Translation Workshop
Bruce Cohen An Honest Man’s Profile for Internet…
Elizabeth J. Colen Aposematic
Jennifer Pruden Colligan Pentimento
Megan Collins My Grandfather Only Wears Brown
Gregory Crosby Everything & Nothing(TM)
David M. deLeon Not Everything I Do Is Magic
Gary Dop Poem of Four Explanations to Poems…
Anna Evans Crash
Alan Fox The Only Thing
Ed Galing Guided Tour
David Lee Garrison Bach in the DC Subway
Ted Gilley Virginia
Paula Goldman Bonnard’s Wife’s Ashes
Bob Hicok Things Rich and Multiple and Alone
A Family Matter
Eric Kocher Dispatches from the Dream…
Hilary Melton Under the Knife
Brenda Paro My Problem with the World
Marge Piercy End of Days
Doug Ramspeck Gift Skull
Eric Paul Shaffer Telephone Lines
Joan I. Siegel Memory
John Spaulding The Tears of India
Alison Townsend Blue Willow: Persephone Falling
William G. Ward A Visit to the SuperMart
Charles Harper Webb Swimming Lesson
Jonathan Wells Please Hold

Rattle Poetry Prize Winner

Joseph Fasano Mahler in New York

Honorable Mentions

Phyllis Aboaf The Neighbor’s Tale
Meghan Adler After Six
John Brehm Dear Internal Revenue Service
Ted Gilley The Tulip Tree
Douglas Goetsch Nameless Boy
Rebecca Lehmann Watching the Wizard of Oz…
Hilary Melton My People
Robert Peake Road Sign on Interstate 5, San Diego…
Deborah Tobola Dream/Time
Amie Whittemore The Calendar


Robert Pinsky
Natasha Trethewey