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Shorty's Yarns: Western Stories and Poems of Bruce Kiskaddon

Utah State University Press

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ISBN 10: 0874215803 / ISBN 13: 9780874215809
Published by Utah State University Press, 2004
Condition: Good Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Shorty's Yarns: Western Stories and Poems of...

Publisher: Utah State University Press

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Good

Edition: 1.

About this title


Set in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, the stories are a loosely tied string of old timer's yarns with a continuing cast of engaging characters, whom Kiskaddon avoids reducing to cowboy stereotypes. They include, as Siems describes them, "Kiskaddon himself as the character Shorty. As a common waddy with a small man's feistiness and a young man's mischief, Shorty encounters the wicked world with a succession of companions: Bill, high-headed and a bit of an outlaw; Rildy Briggs, untamable and unstoppable young cowgirl; and Ike, an old-fashioned dandy and 'a very fortunate person.' More or less in the background is the Boss-actually a series of Bosses-generally affectionately respected as long as he remains democratic in his dealings with the waddies. Buffoonery is provided by a succession of pompous characters, from townspeople who look down their noses on wild, unwashed waddies to professors from the East who have read books on how ranches should be run."

About the Author:

Bruce Kiskaddon (1878–1950) was born in Pennsylvania, but by his early teens had moved to Trinidad, Colorado. As a cowboy on a succession of southwestern ranches, he became especially adept at working with horses. Following a serious injury in 1906, his work began to include city employment, most often as a bellhop. Until 1924 he traveled and worked widely, both indoors and out, including two years as a drover in Australia before the war and two years in Europe with the United States Army as a mule skinner during World War I. He began to write poetry around 1915 and published his first collection of poems, Rhymes of the Ranges, when he moved permanently to the Los Angeles area in 1924. He worked at hotels and wrote for the rest of his life, producing over 450 poems and numerous prose pieces and publishing three more collections of his poetry.

Katherine Field (1908–1951) was born and lived most of her life on a New Mexico ranch. Crippled by childhood polio, she taught herself to draw with pen and ink. The bulk of her published work consists of over two hundred illustrations she created for poems written by Kiskaddon.

Bill Siems is a member of the chemistry faculty at Washington State University, a performer of old-time music, including cowboy songs, and a longtime admirer of Bruce Kiskaddon’s poetry. His historical introduction to Shorty’s Yarns benefits from interviews with members of the Kiskaddon and Field families and other new information.

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