Cowboy poet, recording artist and former bareback rider Paul Zarzyski will bring his wild words to Livingston for a free reading on Thursday, March 17, at 7 p.m., as the kick-off of Elk River Arts & Lectures’ spring 2016 lecture series.
The 2005 recipient of the Montana Governor’s Arts Award for Literature, Zarzyski has performed at the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada for the past 30 years and has toured Canada, Australia, Wales, England and Russia. He has recited his poetry at the Kennedy Center and the Library of Congress, performed with the Reno Philharmonic and the Spokane Symphony, and was featured on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. He studied with renowned poet Richard Hugo in the 1970s at the University of Montana, where he received an MFA in creative writing and later taught Hugo’s classes after his passing. During the same period, he began competing on amateur and professional rodeo circuits, riding bareback broncos—an activity he has often compared to writing poetry.
Following the reading, Zarzyski will be on hand to sign copies of his latest book of poetry, Steering With My Knees. A spoken word and music cd of the same title will also be available.
During his visit to Livingston, Zarzyski will also work in the classroom with Park High students. The events are co-sponsored by the Murray Hotel.
The public event will take place upstairs at Elk River Books, 120 N Main St. Elk River Arts & Lectures is a non-profit organization that seeks to bring writers to Livingston for free public readings, and also to provide opportunities for those writers to interact with local public school students. For more information, call 333-2330 or visit elkriverarts.org.