Nature, grazing cattle, men on horseback — all are depicted in the artworks featured in The Blanton’s current exhibition, Go West, and all are inspiration for Joel Nelson’s poetry.

A Native Texan, Nelson is one of today’s most well-respected cowboy poets. In a special Third Thursday event –   Thursday, April 19 at 6 p.m. – and in conjunction with Go West, he will recite poems from his Grammy-nominated CD “The Breaker in the Pen.”

Nelson, 2009 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow, is also known for his horse training skills. In an interview with the NEA, he described his life as a cowboy as a “life of love” and a “life of passion for the outdoors.” He said cowboy poetry is “closely connected to the lifestyle and the work of the working cowboy.” Interviews with the poet reveal a man with charisma, and one who captivates an audience.

In the below Western Folklife video, Nelson recites “Equus Caballus”:

In an older video, Nelson is recorded on his ranch in Alpine, Texas.

Joel Nelson’s performance at The Blanton is free and open to the public. Details available online.

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