Baxter Black

Baxter Black. Courtesy the Texana Review.

Baxter Black
Birth name Baxter Black
Born 12, 1945 (1945-01-12) (age 75)
Origin Las Cruces, New Mexico
Genres Cowboy poetry
Occupations American cowboy, poet, philosopher, radio commentator vetrnarian
Years active 1970's-present

Baxter Black (born January 12, 1945)[1] is an American cowboy poet, philosopher, and radio and television commentator.

Life Edit

Youth and education Edit

Black was born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico. In high school, he had a few honorable feats such as becoming FFA President and the Senior Class President, and lettering in wrestling 1 year. Beginning in high school, he began riding bulls in rodeos and continued riding throughout college.

Black attended college at New Mexico State University and Colorado State University, graduating in 1969.

Career Edit

Before becoming a poet, he practiced medicine as a veterinarian. His veterinarian career last from 1969 to 1982, and he specialized in large animals, such as cows and horses. Baxter worked for three different large companies, and two of the three changed ownership.

During his last veterinarian job, Black spoke on the side. His charisma and humor were appealing to his crowds, which added to his popularity. He continued his job as a veterinarian for 2 years, and during that time he spoke at over 250 programs. His last company let him go, and his speaking jobs kept coming in. After this series of events, his career as a poet was beginning and he still continues to speak at Agricultural conferences and other social events across the country, write a column, speak on the radio, and has a short segment on RFD-TV.

He resides in Benson, Arizona, with his wife, Cindy Lou, and has no cell phone, television, or fax machine. One of his philosophies of life claims: "In spite of all the computerized, digitalized, high-tech innovations of today, there will always be a need for folks to be a cowboy, "Ya either are one, or ya aren't!"." (Black, B.) [2]

Radio Edit

Baxter Black's radio career was something he actually stumbled upon. He's a man that plays life by chance, and he took one when sending some of his work into a radio station. Black specified in an interview, "It was the year Yellowstone caught on fire, 1988. We were listening and they didn't have any coverage to speak of, and it was a huge deal in our life. It was a huge deal in Colorado (where I lived) and the sky smelled like smoke and I had this big tumultuous poem about range fire ... so I sent them this. I just sent it to "Public Radio" in Washington D.C. And two or three days later I get a call back." (Black, B) [3]


Themes Edit

Black's commentary, poetry, and fiction writings come from his personal life experiences which makes his writing unique. His work is often compared to Will Rogers because of the quality.

Poetry has an infinite number of ideas and themes to it, but in Baxter's writing a few are to take notice. Black comments in an interview, "...I believe in life after death, and I believe in telling people about it, if I think they need to be exposed, or I would like to expose them." (Black, B) [4]

Life as a cowboy play a big part into writing this kind of poetry. Although, this doesn't mean a person has to be or live the life of a cowboy to write this type of poetry.

Black states in an interview, that his stories are about a horse, a cow, a cowboy and the wreck they get into. Black knows all about the kinds of wrecks, which include sheep wrecks, cow wrecks, financial wrecks, and finally, Tyrannosaurus Rex. (Black, B) [5]

Black's views on cowboy poetry Edit

Baxter Black claims that cowboy poetry has saved Western music. Black states in an interview, "Well, every singer you can name outside of The Riders in the Sky, probably wouldn't be making a living if it wouldn't be for the poetry gatherings. The poetry gatherings saved Western music and gave it this renaissance that it's had.... However, there is no chance for a cowboy poet. You know, if you could name 5 of them that make enough to buy a car, then you'd be doing good." Cowboy poetry isn't something a person does for a living, rather you come to an event and are a part of it. Poets read their work and might get their expenses paid for. The difference in what a singer and a poet make is a noticeable difference.

Black believes that good writing can come from anywhere but if you're going to tell a tale about cowboys, "you're going to have to know what you're talking about. On the other hand, my whole way of looking at it in the Cowboy Poetry deal is, anybody is welcome." His inspiration is gathered while being on the road. Out of the numerous jobs he has a year, each one of them has a story, whether it is from the journey to and fro or the people encountered. Since he is a cowboy, he feels he can tell stories about them. When he uses them as an idea in his poetry, he's poking fun at himself. From a personal standpoint, Black uses his humor to get his message across. (Black, B) [6]

If Black has learned anything from his speaking, it's that, "And I did find this out: There's something magical about a poem. It immortalizes." The stories told by Black don't have the authorization to be altered, and because of that the characters spoken in the lines have become immortal. (Black, B) [7]

This type of poetry isn't meant to be a competition, due to the small community of Cowboy poets.

Publications Edit


  • Coyote Cowboy Poetry (illustrated by Ace Reid & Bob Black). Denver, CO: Coyote Cowboy / Record Stockman Press, 1986.
  • Croutons on a Cow Pie (illustrated by Bob Black). Denver, CO: Coyote Cowboy / Record Stockman Press, 1988, 1992.
  • The Buckskin Mare (illustrated by Dave Holl). Denver, CO: Coyote Cowboy / Record Stockman Press, 1989.
  • Cowboy Standard Time (illustrated by Bob Black). Denver, CO: Coyote Cowboy / Record Stockman Press, 1990.
  • Croutons on a Cow Pie: Volume 2 (illustrated by Bob Black). Denver, CO: Coyote Cowboy / Record Stockman Press, 1992.
  • Dunny and the Duck: Cowboy poetry (illustrated by Bob Black). Denver, CO: Coyote Cowboy, 1994.
  • Cow Attack (illustrated by Don Gill & Bob Black). Brighton, CO: Coyote Cowboy, 1996.
  • Cactus Tracks and Cowboy Philosophy. New York: Crown, 1997.
  • A Cowful of Cowboy Poetry (illustrated by Bob Black). Benson, AZ: Coyote Cowboy Co., 2000.
  • Blazin' Bloats and Cows on Fire; or, It's hard to blow out a Holstein (illustrated by Bob Black). Benson, AZ: Coyote Cowboy, 2006.


  • Hey, Cowboy, Wanna Get Lucky? New York: Crown, 1994.
  • Hey, Cowgirl, Need a Ride? New York: Crown, 2005.
  • Ride, Cowboy, Ride! 8 seconds ain't that long: a rodeo novel. Guilford, CT: TwoDot, 2012.w


  • Horseshoes, Cowsocks, and Duckfeet: More commentary by NPR's cowboy poet & former large animal veterinarian. New York : Crown, 2002.
  • The World According to Baxter Black: Quips, quirks, and quotes. Benson, AZ: Coyote Cowboy Co., 2008.
  • Lessons from a Desperado Poet. Guilford, CT: TwoDot, 2011.

Except where noted, information courtesy WorldCat.[8]

Audio / video Edit

Baxter Black The Wonders of Duct Tape

Baxter Black The Wonders of Duct Tape

  • Baster Black's 1st video. Brighton, CO: Coyote Cowboy, 1991.
  • Baxter Black Live (video). Benson, AZ: Coyote Cowboy, 2010.

Except where noted, information courtesy WorldCat.[8]

See alsoEdit

References Edit

  1. "When and where were you born?" " Brooklyn Naval Hospital, NY in 1945 during WW II. My dad was in the Navy. Baxter's birthday is the 2nd Friday of January every year." FAQ, Baxter Black, Web, June 28, 2012.
  2. [1]
  3. Home on the Range with Baxter Black
  4. Home on the Range with Baxter Black
  5. [2]
  6. Home on the Range with Baxter Black
  7. [3]
  8. 8.0 8.1 Search results = au:Baxter Black, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, May 4, 2014.

External linksEdit

Audio / video
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