Wednesday, January 13, 2016

#WesternArtWednesday Smokey Culver, Poet

As you may have noticed, the schedule has changed a bit for the blog. 
For the next while we will be featuring one artist a month, on the second Wednesday of each month. 

We are expecting a new little ranchhand this spring and between housechores, ranchchores and toddler wrangling, there's not much time left for looking up artists to interview! 
So for now that's the new schedule. 

NOW! Enough blather from me, go see what Smokey Culver has to say!

This photo was part of a magazine article I was featured in recently.

Life story: I was born and raised in Southeast Texas on the Gulf Coast. I grew up during a time when my little community of Pasadena was still somewhat rural, and got my first horse at age 11. That was about the time I started tossing a lariat and signing up for the steer riding event at a the Deer Park Rodeo. I will enclose a poem dedicated to that rodeo. As I got older I continued my connection with horses, and started calf roping and steer roping in my early 20s.

Day job: I started my railroad career at age 20 just out of the Navy, and ran freight trains all over Texas until I left that job in 1995 to become a railroad safety consultant. I currently work as a consultant/expert witness in railroad accident litigation, which allows me to set my own schedule, making rodeos and poetry gatherings often. I was not raised on a ranch like a lot of cowboy poets, but my grandfather, who named me Smokey, owned a big spread that was to have been passed down to me. Sadly this did not happen, but my lifelong dream to own my own place will come to pass someday. I have included a poem about my grandfather, whom I called Jay.

I am involved with a horse rescue ranch in South Texas called Habitat for Horses. The property where I volunteer my time has about 100 horses at any given time. We get the abused and undernourished ones, nurse them back to health and put them up for adoption. This allows me to handle a lot of horses and not have to pay feed bills, vet bills etc. I am HfH's coordinator of volunteers, and am on the investigation team. A labor of love.

How introduced: I was never really interested in poetry until I realized that I had a natural ability as a poet and song writer. I was in my late teens when I began writing songs and poetry. Had a record published in about 1975, but it never took off. I still write a song from time to time, but in the past few years have focused mainly on poetry.

Subject matter: I call myself a cowboy poet, but the truth is I write about a lot of things besides cowboys, but most is about down home folks, small towns and country life and things like that. I have written many tributes to deceased friends, family members and pets, and am often called upon to write something for a memorial service for folks that I have not met. I feel truly honored when I receive these requests. When I sit down to write a poem, I pray for the words and they come. I give that credit where it is due. I am just blessed to be the one writing it down.

Advice for new artists: Keep a notepad or iPhone handy. You never know when an idea will come along, or a subject that you want to write about. I often wake up in the middle of the night and record an idea or a line or two that I would never remember if I didn't record it right then. Don't get frustrated if you get stuck in the middle of a poem. Walk away for awhile and come back later. It will all come together. Focus on rhyme and meter if you write that style. Keep your rhyming words as perfect as you can.

I am on Facebook as Smokey Culver:

I have a cowboy poetry page on Facebook also: Smokey Culver Cowboy Poet

I have a book available on Amazon, A Wrap and a Hooey.
My second book, Ridin' Shotgun is due to come out any day, and will also be available on Amazon.

If you liked today's #WesternArtWednesday post be sure to check out the #WesternArtWednesday index page to see past features! Sign up for the Cowgirl Mama newsletter up on the right side of the page so you'll never miss another post

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