|VOICES WEST: COWBOY POETRY SECTION|
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F. Loesser's "Have
I Stayed Away Too Long"
Dorothy Hammond and Alta Jablow in their "Gilgamesh and the Sundance Kid: the myth of male friendship" (In: The making of masculinities: the new men's studies) note that "the major change in modern versions of the myth is the loss of the aristocratic tradition ... modern protagonists, often heroes in spite of themselves, are usually of the lower class: common soldiers, seamen, prospectors, cowboys, criminals, and policemen. Their dangerous occupations provide the arena for the drama of friendship" (p.252). There is much in print providing access to the aristocratic written record. Few cowboys left journals, diaries or correspondence. So the oral tradition is one source of recovering cowboy friendship, myth and legend. The long poems by John G. Neihardt fall easily into this mythology.
Hammond and Jablow add: "the ideology of friendship -- affection, loyalty and trust -- has never gone out of style (p.256).
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|Last revised: December 30, 2000|