James Cathey On the Back Porch

On The Back Porch

A Cowboys Poem

Margo Metegrano recently invited me to recite and record the Bruce Kiskaddon poem, “The Drifter.” It will be included on cowboypoetry. com’s annual CD honoring the old time classic cowboy poets. I thought I would bring you a little history about Bruce Kiskaddon .

Bruce Harvey Kiskaddon was born in Pennslyvania in 1878. At some time in 1898 he began cowboying in the Picketwire district of Colorado where the Purgatory River runs through southern Colorado. Kiskaddon joined the Army at the start of World War I and served with the cavalry. After his discharge, he worked on the ranches of Australia. When he returned to the United States, he went to work for Tap Duncan the owner of the Diamond Bar Ranch near Mojave, Arizona, a wellknown and successful Texas and Arizona cattle rancher. Bruce worked as a cowboy here for about 10 years while he wrote about the ranch and ranch life and is credited for starting cowboy poetry in the United States. In 1926, he tried to start a new career, traveling to Hollywood to audition for a job as an extra in the movie Ben Hur. After that, he no longer cowboyed, but stayed in Hollywood working as an extra and taking bit parts in western movies. His primary support came from working as a bell hop in various Hollywood hotels.

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