Baxter Black: He Elevated Cowboy Poetry to Folk Art

From a New York Times obit by Clay Risen headlined “Baxter Black, Who Elevated Cowboy Poetry to Folk Art, Dies at 77”:

Baxter Black, the country’s best-known cowboy poet, whose witty, big-hearted verse about cowpokes, feed lots and wide-open vistas elevated the tradition of Western doggerel to something of a folk art, died  at his home, a ranch outside Benson, Ariz.

It’s worth pausing to ask why cowboy poetry exists in the first place. Cowboys, after all, are not well known for their communication skills. Yet the genre flourishes; more than 100 cowboy poetry festivals are held each year, and the peripatetic Mr. Black was often featured as the main event.