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Paul Zarzyski Compares Writing Poetry to Riding Rodeo Broncs

Steering With My Knees, poems by Paul Zarzyski
poetry, western author, bronc riding

During this program, Paul Zarzyski talks about and reads from his latest collections of poetry and prose, Steering With My Knees and 51: 30 Poems, 20 Lyrics, 1 Self-Interview, both published by Bangtail Press.


  • "Tumbleweed Munchies"
  • "Monte Carlo Express--Post Office Box 258, 15.3 Miles Home"
  • a recitation (from memory) of the lyrics to "Black Upon Tan"
  • a comparison of writing poetry to riding rodeo broncs

Paul Zarzyski
Paul Zarzyski and Zeke

The music in this program was written and performed by John Floridis.

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Born and raised in Hurley, Wisconsin, Paul Zarzyski has called Montana “home” since 1973, shortly after heeding the advice of Horace Greeley to “go west young man, go west.” He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from The University of Montana, where he studied with Richard Hugo. At the same time, he took up a second vocation — bareback bronc riding — and rode the amateur, the ProRodeo, and Senior circuits into his early forties.

Zarzyski received the 2005 Governor’s Arts Award for Literature. He has been a featured performer at the Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering for the past 26 years, has toured Australia and England, and has recited at the National Book, Folk, and Storytelling Festivals, The ProRodeo Hall of Fame, The Library of Congress, The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, and with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra. He was also featured in 1999 on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, which was broadcast from The Mother Lode Theater in Butte, Montana.

Paul Zarzyski's recent publications include Steering With My Knees (Bangtail Press 2013) and 51: 30 Poems, 20 Lyrics, 1 Self-Interview (Bangtail Press, 2011).

Paul Zarzyski's Facebook page

Cowboy Confessional: An Interview with Paul Zarzyski on the Western Folklife Center Web site

(Broadcasts: 4/24/14 & 4/20/17)

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