Susan Parker thinks perhaps God didn’t have
his reading glasses handy when he was deciding where on earth to
set her down. Without them, he misread the address and sent her
to Eureka, California, instead of Eureka, Montana.
Born with a cowboy soul, Susan grew up with a love
for horses, cowboys, rodeos, and all things Western. She rode stick
ponies and played with plastic horses while her friends played with
When her legs were long enough, Susan would sneak
off through the woods to rendezvous with a neighbor’s horse.
Bareback, she lived out her Western fantasies—until the owner
caught her! At the age of 40, she realized her dream of horse ownership,
buying a gray Arabian gelding.
Susan began writing contemporary poetry and prose
in 1995. Her passion for cowboy poetry was sparked in 2003, after
attending the Monterey Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival. It burst
into full flame shortly thereafter.
"I felt I'd come home when I heard cowboy
poetry for the first time," Susan says. "I reveled in
the stories honoring man and beast, in tales of hardships presented
by the lifestyle, of strong family ties—all the while finding
humor in the mundane. It’s poetry of our American heritage—poetry
that cannot be forgotten. I like the challenge of traditional cowboy
poetry with its rhyme and meter, yet I like pushing the creative
muse with free verse."
Susan taught poetry at a drug and alcohol recovery
center. She explains: "We read Shakespeare, Robert Service,
Tupac Shakur and wrote pantoums, haiku and cowboy poetry. I used
Spurrin’ the Words, a Montana 4-H project manual.
The participants came to see the storytelling of poetry, saw the
honesty in Wallace McRae and Virginia Bennett, the tenderness in
Laurie Wagner Buyer, the unique Indian voice within Henry Real Bird,
and the magical music in the words of Paul Zarzyski."
Intrigued by pioneering women of the West, Susan
has become a student of their writings: "I hear their voices
as they pour out loneliness and frustration onto the page. Their
courage and determination beg me to share their work, to appreciate
the freedoms I enjoy as a result of their perseverance and sacrifice."
Susan resides in Palm Desert, California. When
she’s not writing or performing, she enjoys traveling.
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