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Front Page » December 17, 2002 » Local News » "Cowboy Poetry from the San Rafael" Project
Published 4,292 days ago

"Cowboy Poetry from the San Rafael" Project


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Those working on the cowboy poetry book included: Kathleen Truman, Janet Petersen, Kent Petersen, Dottie Grimes and Shirley Spears. They are seen with the new books and the San Rafael Heritage Afghan which is also a heritage project.

The cowboy poetry book is now complete and available at the museum. The process was long and difficult but worthwhile. Dottie Grimes was hired as an assistant for the Emery County Archives and to work on special projects, the cowboy poetry book was in its first stage. Putting it together, choosing illustrations, and deciding on facts to include in the book and making it fit together, became her first project. Most of the poems had been collected and were waiting to be put into PageMaker format. Kathleen Truman is the Heritage Projects Coordinator, Kent Petersen served as the book editor and Shirley Spears, archives administrator met with Grimes to discuss the goals of the finished product. They put the poems in categories that became sections of the book. These poems are all written by local people, and many of them describe details of living that are specific to this area. Truman and Petersen wanted to continue with that and make the whole book reflect the Emery County way of life, celebrating the cowboy lifestyle unique to this region.

Petersen writes in the introduction that "Many things influence our minds. . .but those of us who live here find our hearts are influenced by the San Rafael Swell." The San Rafael does have such an impact on anyone living here or even visiting, that the name "Cowboy Poetry from the San Rafael" was chosen for the book.

This book is so much more than a poetry book, because it preserves the history of the region and magnifies its treasures. The quest was to showcase the talents of not only local poets, but local artists and photographers as well. In reading this book, one will find facts and photos of the geology and history of the San Rafael, including stories that have become legend of the Swasey boys and others. Some amazing pictures taken by the United States Geological Survey in the early 1900s of the San Rafael region were placed in the book, as well as later photos such as the dedication of the "Swinging Bridge" across the San Rafael River in 1937. Eldon Holmes and Cliff Oviatt added to the book with cartoon illustrations. There is something for everyone in this book. Even if you are not a cowboy, you will find yourself somewhere in the poems-some are humorous, some are historic, some are heartwarming. Developing the layout for the "Cowboy Poetry from the San Rafael" was both fun and educational. "Those who worked on the project were glad to have the opportunity to be part of it and are excited to share it now with the public," said Spears.

"We appreciate all of the people who contributed poems, cartoons, drawings, and new and old photographs. The project was supported by a grant from the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, a heritage grant from the Utah Division of State History, and the Utah Division of Travel Development supported Kathleen Truman's participation in this project. Funds from the sale of the poetry book will be used to produce other projects that preserve the heritage and Western culture of the people of Emery County," said Spears.

The next project being considered is for a book of short stories about the experiences of those living in the county.


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December 17, 2002
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