This is the final poem that I wrote to remember the “lost women of the west” whose stories often get forgotten alongside male notables like Jesse James, Wyatt Earp, and others. I have been aiming to celebrate the women, but not necessarily the lifestyles they led. Some robbed and hurt others, just like some of the men did. The difference is that the men often were celebrated in stories and in history books, while the women were forgotten.
Today’s poem is about Queen Anne Bassett, who was a cattle rancher and who was associated with the Butch Cassidy gang. Bassett, and her sister, resisted the push by larger cattlemen associations to sell off her family land and she became a de facto leader of resistance to small ranch farmers as more and more consolidation happened. (There is also a strong suggestion that Bassett and Etta Place, another woman I wrote about, may have been the same person, with different identities. It is not clear if this is true or not.)
Here are the other poems in my collection:
Peace (dug deep in history books),
I am nearing the end of this two-month run of making comics for The Wild West Adventures of the Internet Kid. This has been an ancillary project for the Course with No Course — a Western-themed offshoot of DS106. It has been a ton of fun to make these comics, but I don’t know how daily cartoonist do it, to be frank. The stress of new ideas … ack …. good thing I don’t do my own art or I would have gone mad weeks ago.
Today’s comic begins the last storyline, which will stretch out over a few days and invite you to take part in the story, too. It features The Kid and a Video Game Vortex coming to town.
You can view the Internet Kid Tumblr site, where I have been posting the comics every day (as well as on Twitter, with the #Western106 hashtag). You can also use the “random” option with Tumblr, so that when you click the link below, it will take you to a random comic at the site.
Get a Random Kid
While this is the last storyline, I suspect that this pause in making daily comics is only for now, and not forever. It’s hard to give up a character like The Internet Kid and The Horse with No Name and Anarchist Annie and Question Mark and others after living with them for seven weeks or so. They’re in my head, and in my heart.
Peace (in the frame of story and humor),
This is another in my series of small poems honoring some of the forgotten women of the Wild West. You can see poems about Stagecoach Annie, Etta Place and Cathay Williams, too. The poems are my attempt to capture the voice and story of these women. This one is about Belle Starr, known as the Bandit Queen. She was associated with Jesse James and his gang.
Peace (in remembering the past),
This is my third poetic “discovery” from the historical archives of a famous woman of the “Wild West.” I have been writing a digital poem for each, trying to capture their voice and their story, with the writing superimposed on an image of the woman (I can’t 100 percent vouch for the historical accuracy of each photo).
I have explored the lives of Etta Place and Stagecoach Mary.
Today, I look at Cathay Williams, a former slave who pretended to be man so that she could fight in the Civil War, and then was discovered to be a man, so she went West to continue to make a life for herself in the White Man’s World (my emphasis).
Peace (in the forgotten),
I brought the idea of a Folded Story to my Western106 folks, hoping to create a 25-fold story (one piece at a time, as exquisite corpse) with a Western theme. I had a good handful of folks participate, so I was happy to be collaborating.
Here is what we ended up with. Strange, yes? But centered on a sort of Western theme? Yes. Success! (The word cloud is the text of the story. I guess we like our coffee, and the sheriff made a late but regular appearance.)
Everything is West of Here (A folded story of the West) by KevinHodgson
Funny how it ended on a cliffhanger … Where does it go from here?
Peace (beyond the fold),
I’m just exploring some famous women of the West who may have been lost to the history books (written by us white men). I’m using some biographical material to write poems, layering the poems on an image (as best as I can verify), and hoping to expand the narrative of the Wild West. The other day I wrote about Stagecoach Mary.
Here is a poem for Etta Place. She apparently was part of Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid and all them others, but when they were either captured or killed, Etta disappeared.
Peace (in the shift),
My editor at Middleweb, John, saw some of my tweets about #Western106, so he sent me a collection of Western magazines (how cool is that?) and an interesting book by Stephanie Bearce entitled Top Secret Files: The Wild West. It’s a non-fiction book for middle school readers that has some cool information in it and some fine myth debunking, too. Bearce also gives over quite a few pages to the forgotten Women of the West. As I read these profiles, I got inspired to write some poems about these woman. I used Canva to create these as digital static poems.
I intend to share one every day or two this week. The first poem is about Stagecoach Mary (Fields), a black woman who worked hard to gain respect and used her physical strength to silence those who would question her.
I gathered the images online, and given the time period we are talking about and muddy history of these women (a mix of those who followed the law and those who broke the law), I can’t vouch for the accuracy. I did my best to use the pictures of these woman from Top Secret Files with the images I found online.
Peace (in the rememberin’),
We’re still hoping to do a Tall Tale radio project for some of us stragglers on the open range of #Western106 but, as Alan Levine noted, since we are A Course with No Course, there’s no time rush on it.
Still, I was listening to a Tall Tale the other day, and thinking of the narrative arc that such a story of hyperbole often follows. The diagram above is my attempt to make sense of the story form, knowing that not every Tall Tale follows this pattern.
If you want to join in on the collaborative Tall Tale story venture we aim to cook up, add your name to this open document. We’re going to keep entry point low and simple, but hope to have fun spinning a tale or two around the campfire.
Head to Tellin’ Tales (a working title for now) to get involved. We’ll be in touch.
Peace (everywhere, all the time, and that’s not telling tales),
The other day, I shared out the song that I wrote and recorded as part of inquiry with #Western106 open storytelling adventure. I thought it might be interesting to share out my notebook page, showing the scribbles as the song took shape. I can read it. Can you? (I did a little filtering in Flickr, to spice up the image).
This is pretty typical for me, crossing out words and using arrows to show where things might go. I’m working out structure with my pencil as I play the guitar and sing.
Peace (in the writing),
The Carolina Panther’s star quarterback Cam Newton is called a “gunslinger.”
The meeting between Patriots (Tom Brady) and Broncos (Peyton Manning) was a “showdown” or predicated to be a “shoot-out” (it wasn’t) between the two great athletes.
Manning says his visit to the Superbowl might be his “last rodeo.”
Reading the sports page these days under the lens of the #Western106 reminds us how the National Football League has co-opted the violent language of the Wild West for entertainment value. Just think of some of the team names: Cowboys, Broncos, and more.
Even when team owners meet, the media uses the Wild West as its central anchor point.
I get why this language has seeped into the culture of the National Football League. It is a violent sport, and the violence is part of the entertainment value. By connecting the language and rhetoric of the Wild West to the NFL, the media and NFL support a narrative, particularly that of the Lone Quarterback who leads his team/town to Victory over the Enemy in a time of great need.
It’s Clint on the football field. Or Shane. Or ….(insert hero) The language creates a story that people can connect with, and that the NFL can “sell” as a brand to its audience and the world.
I get it, but I remain fascinated by it, and worried about the violent nature of the rhetoric, too, and I know I will be more attuned to it now.
Peace (on the field),