A close friend of the Western Folklife Center, the late Colen H. Sweeten Jr. recited his own poetry at the very first Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko in 1985, and for many more years thereafter. This episode of Ranch Rhymes features Colen reciting two of his classic poems, "Why Do Coyotes Howl at Night?" and "Dream Ranch."
Western folklorists remember Colen Sweeten Jr.:
"The last time I saw Colen, he participated as one of the tour directors on the American Folklore Society (AFS) bus tour that went to northern Utah for the Salt Lake City AFS meeting. He kept the passengers entertained with stories and poems all along the way. He loved working with folklorists on projects like this and was always willing to participate. He performed at Elko I don't know how many times, but was really a fixture there and at a number of regional cowboy poetry gatherings. He was gentle and humane, and a joy to be around. We will miss him."
Elaine Thatcher, Director
Mountain West Center for Regional Studies
Utah State University
"Colen was a great human being. Truthful to his life experience, he wrote about family, the landscape he so loved, about horses and cowboys with depth and humor. A man of faith and honor, his belief informed his actions. We will miss him."
Maria Carmen Gambliel, Director
Folk and Traditional Arts Program
Idaho Commission on the Arts
Visit cowboypoetry.com for more remembrances and family photos of Colen Sweeten Jr.; click here to read our Empty Saddles.
This Podcast was drawn from the Western Folklife Center's archival audio material.