Baxter Black

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Baxter Black
Birth name Baxter Black
Born (1945-01-02) January 2, 1945 (age 70)
Origin Las Cruces, New Mexico
Genres Cowboy poetry
Occupation(s) American cowboy, poet, philosopher, radio commentator veterinarian
Years active 1970's-present

Baxter Black (born January 10, 1945) is an American cowboy, poet, philosopher and former large-animal veterinarian. He is also a radio and television commentator.

Black grew up in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He was trained as a large-animal veterinarian at New Mexico State University and Colorado State University, but began writing and speaking in the early 1980s. Black left his veterinary career and later published more than a dozen books of fiction, poetry and commentary. He is a regular commentator for National Public Radio's Morning Edition and also hosts a syndicated weekly radio program, Baxter Black on Monday. He writes a syndicated weekly newspaper column, "On the Edge of Common Sense."

He currently resides in Benson, Arizona.


Black was born at the Brooklyn Naval Hospital in Brooklyn New York in January of 1945. In high school, he became the FFA president, the senior class president, and lettered in wrestling one year. Beginning in high school, he began riding bulls in rodeos and continued riding throughout college. Black attended college at New Mexico State University and Colorado State University, and graduated in 1969. Before becoming a poet, he practiced medicine as a veterinarian. This career lasted from 1969 to 1982, and he specialized in large animals, such as cows and horses. Baxter worked for three different large companies, and two of the three changed ownership. During his last veterinarian job, Black gained popularity through public speaking. He continued his job as a veterinarian for two years, and during that time he spoke at over 250 programs. After this, his career as a poet was beginning. He continues to speak at Agricultural conferences and other social events across the country, write a column, speak on the radio, and has a short segment on RFD-TV.

He currently resides in Benson, Arizona, with his wife, Cindy Lou, and has no cell phone, television, or fax machine. One of his philosophies of life claims: "In spite of all the computerized, digitalized, high-tech innovations of today, there will always be a need for folks to be a cowboy, "Ya either are one, or ya aren't!"." [1]


Black's commentary, poetry, and fiction writings come from his personal life experiences. Black comments in an interview, "...I believe in life after death, and I believe in telling people about it, if I think they need to be exposed, or I would like to expose them." [2]

He also states that his stories are about a horse, a cow, a cowboy and the wreck they get into. Black knows all about the kinds of wrecks, which include sheep wrecks, cow wrecks, financial wrecks, and finally, Tyrannosaurus Rex.[3]

Baxter Black claims that cowboy poetry has saved Western music. Black states in an interview, "Well, every singer you can name outside of The Riders in the Sky, probably wouldn't be making a living if it wouldn't be for the poetry gatherings. The poetry gatherings saved Western music and gave it this renaissance that it's had...However, there is no chance for a cowboy poet. You know, if you could name five of them that make enough to buy a car, then you'd be doing good."

Black believes that good writing can come from anywhere but if one is going to tell a tale about cowboys, "you're going to have to know what you're talking about. On the other hand, my whole way of looking at it in the Cowboy Poetry deal is, anybody is welcome." His inspiration is gathered while being on the road. Out of the numerous jobs he has a year, each one of them has a story, whether it is from the journey or the people encountered. Since he is a cowboy, he feels he can tell stories about them. When he uses them as an idea in his poetry, he's poking fun at himself. From a personal standpoint, Black uses his humor to get his message across.[2]

About his experiences as a public speaking poet, he states: "And I did find this out: There's something magical about a poem. It immortalizes." The stories told by Black don't have the authorization to be altered, and because of that the characters spoken in the lines have become immortal.[3]

This type of poetry is not considered a competition because of the small number of active participants.

Black has presented his poetry at gatherings of the American Cowboy Culture Association, which holds the annual National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration each September in Lubbock, Texas.[4]


Black's radio career began as a chance occurrence. During a news-worthy local event, he submitted some of his work to a radio station.

Black specified in an interview, "It was the year Yellowstone caught on fire, 1988. We were listening and they didn't have any coverage to speak of, and it was a huge deal in our life. It was a huge deal in Colorado (where I lived) and the sky smelled like smoke and I had this big tumultuous poem about range fire...So I sent them this. I just sent it to "Public Radio" in Washington D.C. And two or three days later I get a call back."[2]


  • Horseshoes, Cowsocks, and Duckfeet
  • All Natural Beef
  • The Buckskin Mare
  • Cowboy Is His Name
  • The Cowboy And His Dog
  • Duty
  • Evolution Of The Ranch Wife
  • High Good
  • Good Bye, Old Man
  • Legacy of the Rodeo Man
  • Ol' Blue
  • The Oyster
  • Salmon Fishing
  • Take Care Of Yer Friends
  • To The Feedlot Hoss
  • Tombstone Of Canaan
  • Vanishing Breed
  • Where's The Horse Meat
  • Women and Mules
  • A Vegetarian's Nightmare
  • Ride, Cowboy, Ride! (Eight Seconds Ain't That Long)
  • Range Fire

See also[edit]


External links[edit]