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Cowgirl poetics: Writing women in rodeo

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-08-24, 12:35 authored by Christina ThatcherChristina Thatcher

Rodeo is both a sport and a cultural phenomenon in which the myth of the cowboy and the American West are lived out in the arena. And just as long as the sport has been alive, cowboys have been writing poetry about it (Bell, 2020). However, poetry that acknowledges the complex history of women in rodeo is still largely absent. As a poet, rider, and long-time rodeo fan, I have been working on a set of poetic biographies which I hope will help fill this gap. In this self-reflexive article, I explore the process of writing biographical poems which attempt to capture the dual role that female rodeo riders must play as both women and competitive athletes. For context, this article opens with a brief history of women in rodeo before discussing the absence of poetry written by and about them. Two poems I have written about famous female rodeo riders are then used to discuss how poetic biographies – as well as ekphrasis, segmentivity, and metapoetics – can uniquely represent women’s experiences in rodeo. At the centre of this article is an attempt to understand what it means to be a female rodeo rider and how poetry might help to document their experiences. 


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Australasian Association of Writing Programs

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  • VoR (Version of Record)


Thatcher, Christina (2022) 'Cowgirl Poetics: Writing Women in Rodeo.', TEXT 26 (Special 67): 1–16.

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Education and Social Policy

Cardiff Met Authors

Christina Thatcher

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  • © The Authors


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