"and Brewsters Pay for Smiles": Ray Bagley's Alienated Verse.
Ethnologies 2000, Annual, 22, 2
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Ray Bagley, a predecessor of later, more prominent Alberta cowboy poets, was born in Iowa in 1880 and immigrated to Alberta with his family at the age of 12. (See Lyon 1991 and Marty 1989 for overviews of Alberta cowboy poetry.) Among his other occupations, Bagley worked as a dude wrangler (a horse worker employed in the tourist industry, preparing mounts for visitors to dude ranches, often leading them on trail rides, and providing local color for their vacation experience) for the Brewster family, outfitters of the holiday club, the Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies.(1) Most of the poems collected in his 1960 anthology Those Other Days were written while he was active with the Trail Riders and reveal the alienation and contradictions at the intersection of tourism, entertainment, and everyday life where the image of the cowboy has been shaped and marketed. Tourist and show business themes, rhetoric, and attitudes in Bagley's verse make it arguably not folkloric, especially in the light of this observation by Roger deV. Renwick: "... [M]odern folk poetry usually takes as its topics real people, institutions, places, and events from the shared environment that's within daily experience and reach of both maker and audience. Folk poetry effectively passes its judgment on social matters of the indigenous, everyday, practical, lived sort" (1993: 55). This paper does not intend to challenge this expectation of folk culture but assumes instead that such verse as Bagley's occurs at an intersection between folk and popular culture. The repetition of the term "intersection" from the previous paragraph is intentional; just as the meeting of industrial, imaginative, and quotidian activities produces contradiction and alienation, versifiers who lack the support of a tradition (be it folkloric, industrial, or academic) are by definition alienated.(2)
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- Categoria: Ciências Sociais
- Publicado: 01/01/2000
- Editora: Ethnologies
- Tamanho da impressão: 23 páginas
- Línguas: Inglês