Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

PALM LATITUDES

THE WORD : Even Cowgirls Get the Muse

July 17, 1994|Greg Spring

For years, soppy verse about riding the range, sleeping under the stars and cooking over a campfire has been a strictly male pastime. No more.

Gail Wronsky and Molly Bendall are the authors of "Calamity and Belle," perhaps the world's only collection of cowgirl verse. The two poets and university instructors were discussing the cowboy poetry craze and, figuring they could do better, "Calamity" Wronsky wrote a brief cow girl poem and sent it to "Belle" Bendall, who responded with a short ode that included the lament, "I'm armed/with a pearl-handled pistol/but not your love."

"This was just something we were doing to amuse ourselves," says Wronsky, who teaches writing at Loyola Marymount University. "It was a big hoot. I thought we'd get tired of it and stop, but we didn't."

Their inside joke soon became a collection of some 60 pieces, enough for a book. Publishing house Gibbs Smith agreed, and "Calamity and Belle" hit the stores late last year. It was successful enough that a sequel is in the works.

The Old West "is not just the province of men," says Bendall, a USC English instructor. "Women are discovering it's their mythology too."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|