Cowboy poetry part of Boys Ranch curriculum

Posted by John Kanelis on
A look at Cal Farley's Boys Ranch Cowboy Poetry

Cal Farley founded a school for children who needed a "shirt tail to hang on to" back in the late 1930s.

In the decades since its founding, Cal Farley's Boys Ranch has earned international acclaim and attention for the magnificent work it does to help troubled boys and girls find their way toward becoming productive citizens.

One of the many skills taught at the ranch is a fairly unconventional one: cowboy poetry.

The next "Live Here" segment takes a look at how Boys Ranch students' accept the challenge of penning their own poetry -- and it reveals the joy that many of them express at being able to accomplish this task.

"Live Here" will air Thursday at 7 p.m. on Panhandle PBS.

Cal Farley's administrator Mike Pacino talks about how the students don't need to make their poems rhyme. "They try to make them flow," he said.

One of the more interesting aspects of the students learning cowboy poetry is the background of many of the students who end up at Cal Farley's Boys Ranch. Pacino said kids arrive at the ranch -- about an hour's drive northwest of Amarillo in Hartley County -- from major urban centers. They come from inner-city Los Angeles, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston, said Pacino. Their interests upon arrival at the ranch do not include -- generally speaking -- writing cowboy poems.

They learn how to do it, while learning how to grow into responsible adults. The students' achievement in completing the poems fills them with self-esteem and pride, Pacino said.

Cal Farley's Boy Ranch is full of success stories. Young men and women graduate from the ranch and become pillars of their communities. They've gone on to succeed in politics, business, the media, the arts ... name the endeavor and there will be a Boys Ranch graduate to be found.

You'll also find cowboy poets among them as well.

"Live Here" will provide a look into how these budding poets get their start.

 

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