Local cowboy poet releases book

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Owner of Glenn’s Warehouse Carpets and patron of the arts, David Smith of Waxahachie, Texas is releasing a book of cowboy poetry.

In a meet-the-poet book release event set for 6:00 p.m. on August 19, 2021 at the lyceum of Sims Library in Waxahachie, David will read from his collection of 70 cowboy poems that relate aspects of cowboy life and cattle drive experiences that he’s picked up from his years of interest in the genre. The name of the book is a play on words: David Smith, Waxahachie Cowboy Poet Lariat. Proceeds from the book will be donated to local nonprofits.

Photo of Cowboy Poet David Smith of Waxahachie, Texas
David Smith of Waxahachie, Texas is releasing a book of his cowboy poetry..

“We’ll have the book available. It’s going to be on a donation level, and then the proceeds from what people donate we’ll split between the [Ellis County] Youth Expo and the Friends of the Library.” David says.

David says during the event, he’ll recite a poem that he wrote for a dedication ceremony of the Texas Historical Marker for part of the Shawnee Cattle Trail that runs through an area near Italy, Texas. Also in the book is his first work written about an event that “had to do with a documented occurrence in Downtown Waxahachie in 1902, 600 cows stampeded through the courthouse lawn,” he says.

Altogether, David’s works continue the tradition in cowboy poetry of conveying stories about life and historical events through an oral presentation.

“Really, it’s almost like a teaching about a previous time of history — a connection to the cattle drives and the stories that evolved out of their experiences. It’s a record of another time of Texas history,” he says. “I like history, and this is a way to tell part of our history and do it in rhyme.”

David is a frequent participant of cowboy poetry gatherings throughout Texas — in Alpine, LaGrange, Lubbock — and says an open mic at one gathering started him along his path to becoming a cowboy poet himself.

The book is a wholly local product compiled and published by the Waxahachie Sun; a painting by his daughter-in-law and Ennis High School art teacher Leah Lawless-Smith serves as the book’s cover.

Image of painting of Cowboy Poet David Smith of Waxahachie, Texas
A painting of David Smith by Leah Lawless-Smith serves as the cover of the book, David Smith, Waxahachie’s Cowboy Poet Lariat.

A local businessman and an advocate for local art, David launched a venue for local artists in 2020 with the opening of Glenn’s Warehouse Carpets Cultural Center. David also worked for 15 years as an evening docent at the Dallas Museum of Art and has taught continuing education classes on art topics for the Lighthouse for Learning program with Waxahachie I.S.D. He also gives presentations on art to local groups such as the Ellis County Art Association.

Now enjoying a career as a cowboy poet, David says the power of the cowboy poetry genre to outlive the era that produced it is a statement in itself about the enduring appeal of the values expressed in the works.

“They’re genuine. These are people that appreciate the land and the animals and even doing for others, he says. “The cowboy concept of helping the partner along, and they wrote about being brand brothers and when you work for the brand, you’re dedicated to that brand. I mean, the whole cowboy concept — it still attracts people even though the cattle drives were a long time ago.”

Update: This article has been changed since it was initially posted to reflect the postponed date for the poetry reading and book release of August 19, 2021.

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