Poem Films

Poem Films

At the core of our Moving Rural Verse series are poems that powerfully communicate contemporary rural issues, ideas and insight—and, in particular, the subject of water in the West. We believe that the artful fusion of poetry and video will nurture a deeper understanding of rural America and kindle important conversation. Produced in collaboration with respected Western poets and experienced video artists, the series is a natural extension of the Western Folklife Center's work with contemporary Western poets.

Watch free Share
Poem Films
  • The Brutal Boss

    Dick laments working for this gol danged ranch boss. Dick Warwick recites "The Brutal Boss" from his barn.


    Dick Warwick
    Oakesdale, WA
    Dick Warwick lives with his wife Sue on the old home place amid the rolling hills of the Palouse country of eastern Washington state. Together, ...

  • Spurs

    Darrell describes a beloved family member through the history of a pair of spurs. Darrell Holden recites "Spurs" during the Juab Poetry Gathering in Nephi, Utah in 2024.


    Darrell Holden
    Vernon, UT
    Darrell Holden is a proud fifth-generation rancher who raises cattle on Utah’s Wes...

  • Slow Burn

    Marleen dramatizes the "glamourous" life of a ranch wife. Marleen Bussma recites "Slow Burn" at her local library.


    Marleen Bussma
    Dammeron Valley, UT
    As a young girl, long hours spent on horseback herding cattle stirred Marleen Bussma’s imagination and sparked a desire to emula...

  • Max's Last Ride

    Andy offers advice when scattering a friend's ashes. Andy Nelson recites "Max's Last Ride" from his ranch in Wyoming.


    Andy Nelson
    Pinedale, WY
    Andy Nelson is an energetic and high-spirited cowboy poet and humorist from Pinedale, Wyoming. As a second-generation farrier raised in...

  • At Home with Poet George Wallace

    From his own home, George reads two of his stirring poems about home and the feelings home evokes. George Wallace shares his "Homecoming" and "A Poem in My Eye" in this short film featured during the 37th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering "Rodear Year."

    George Wallace
    Fort Colli...

  • Why Here, Then Gone?

    George mulls over mediations and musings brought up by abandoned homesteads. George Wallace recites "Why Here, Then Gone?" featured during the 37th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering "Rodear Year."

    George Wallace
    Fort Collins, CO
    George Wallace has farmed and ranched north of For...

  • Hedge Your Bets My Wild Domestic

    George's clear-eyed ode to his dear ranch dog begs the question, who brings who to heel? George Wallace recites "Hedge Your Bets My Wild Domestic" featured during the 37th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering "Rodear Year."

    George Wallace
    Fort Collins, CO
    George Wallace has farmed ...

  • At Home With Poet Jonathan Odermann

    FEATURING: Jonathan Odermann, Penny the Hen.

    Jonathan Odermann's poems show off his Badlands home and humor, and his amiable pal, Penny the Hen. One of the original voices keeping the cowboy poetry tradition going, Jonathan Odermann recites a set of new material. Interspersed with scenes from h...

  • Mining the Motherlode

    A film based on a poem by Andy Wilkinson about the diminishing Ogalala Aquifer. Mining the Motherlode is an animated exploration of the themes explored by Andy Wilkinson’s poem of the same name. The film is not a literal adaptation of the poem. Rather, it attempts to provide a counter-harmony to ...

  • Bendición del Agua

    Olivia Romo pays respects to water with a poem por la gente y por la sangre de la tierra. "Bendición del Agua" is a glance into New Mexico’s acequia landscape as seen through the eyes of a young woman expressing both the perseverance and loss of traditions, language, and culture. The film seeks t...

  • Homesteaders, Poor & Dry

    In a time of drought, a small girl finds that courage can be drawn like water from a well, as told by Linda Hussa. The origin of this poem, Homesteaders, Poor and Dry, was a story a friend’s grandmother told of when she was a girl in Texas during a time of drought and grinding poverty. Though an ...

  • O'odham Dances

    An adaptation of Ofelia Zepeda’s poem about a ritual in which people join the animals and elements. O’odham Dances is a lyrical film adaptation of Ofeli’s poem, portraying a Tohono O'odham ritual in which people join with not only the animals of the desert but all the important elements necessary...