Surf and Turf from Here to Texas!

Feb 22, 2014 | 0 comments

Poster of Texas Cowboy Gathering 2014

Poster for the 2014 Texas Cowboy Gathering

Judy Eron (one of the J’s of ‘Double J and the Boys’) wrote to me from Texas the other day to say that she and Charlie (one of the Boys of ‘…and the Boys’) were headed for the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering.  It is being held on the Sul Ross State University Campus in Alpine, Texas yesterday and today.         And, what’s more…  Judy and Charlie get to play at the open mic on both days “Which,” says Judy in an obvious understatement, “is always fun!”

Judging from their website, the Cowboy Poetry Gathering is made up of equal parts poetry and music with a couple of chuck wagon breakfasts thrown in for good measure.  The participants and audience members seem to know one another and come year after year.  2014 is billed as their 28th annual Gathering.

Double J and The Boys

Double J and the Boys

As I watched the videos, listening to the music and poems, I couldn’t help but think of our own Fisher Poets Gathering which is also happening right now just across the river in Astoria.  For the Fisher Poets, it’s their 17th year and the venue is spread out across the entire downtown area.  The focus, of course, is maritime – the ‘surf’ equivalent of the Texas ‘turf.’  But the feeling is the same.

Fisher Poets Gathering

2014 Poster for Fisher Poets Gathering

There is even a similarity in some of the poetry.  Cowboy Jay Snider’s rendition of Curly Fetcher’s poem about the miseries of herding sheep, for instance, reminded me so much of Geno Leech’s “I Miss the Fish but I Don’t Miss the Fishing.”  Same cadence, same attitude, same description of the torment and love all intertwined in hard work.  There’s probably a similar poem in the repertoire of the Logger Poets but, as far as I know, they aren’t having a Gathering this weekend.

Fisher Poet Geno Leech

Fisher Poet Geno Leech

This year 78 Fisher Poets are on the Astoria program – some for the first time, but many who have participated every year since the beginning.  Our favorites, of course, are ‘locals’ (more-or-less!) – all of them friends and all of them fabulous:  Geno Leech from Chinook, Mary Garvey from Seaview, David Campiche also from Seaview, Lorrie Haight from Long Beach, Patty Hardin from Long Beach, Hobe Kytr from Astoria, and Irene Martin from Skamokawa.

The Fisher Poets website sets a tone that we know from our own first-hand experience to be the way it really is:  Folks keep coming back, schools of them, from all over.  It’s become a cultural highlight of the year for a lot of us, attracting talent from every Pacific state and province, from New England and the Gulf Coast, from Kodiak, Alaska to Sulphur Springs, Arkansas.  Come join us in the audience or on stage!

Hope to see you there!


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