John & Robbin

We raise beef cattle on Dry Creek, a tributary of the Kaweah River in the southern Sierra Nevada foothills of California, about 30 miles east of Visalia.  The fifth generation to harvest grass in Tulare County, John was invited to perform at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1989, at a time when the genre was primarily an oral tradition.  He began publishing the Dry Crik Review in 1990 as a format for contemporary poetry from rural and livestock cultures.  His work can be found in small press lit mags, anthologies, or chapbooks published under the Dry Crik Press imprint.  His Poems from Dry Creek, published by Starhaven, received the Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for the “2008 Outstanding Poetry Book”. His Proclaiming Space published by Dry Crik Press in 2012 has also received a Wrangler Award.

Robbin has been photographing various aspects of the Dry Creek landscape, livestock and ranch work since the inception of Dry Crik Journal in 2005, initially sponsored by the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada.

36 responses to “John & Robbin

  1. Kenneth Jackson

    Searching for the old Pohot place and Pohot Cemetery….Can anyone help?


    • Response on Facebook.


      • Tara Williams

        Hmmm this is an old post, it looks like, but my husband is Mary Pohot’s great grandson and remembers going there. He also spearheaded an effort to clean up the cemetery about 10 years ago, and we’re thinking about heading over there again – not easy to access, no easement. Curious about your interest. – Tara


  2. Pingback: Current of Words « For the Archives

  3. I read the article on cowboy poetry in the NY Times, and that is where I got your e-mail address. My Dad was an honest to God cowboy from Montana as were many of my relatives. I am not. My Dad did poetry:
    he sat at Camp Shelby Mississippi during WWII and wrote much, when he was not training soldiers. He understood about the breadth and depth of the cowboy life: he was an old time conservative, not like these ignorant bastards who scoff at manly pursuits as they praise the fascistic pursuit of power and wealth. It should not be a surprise that the likes of Limbaugh and Palin scorn real value: they create nothing but lies and nihilistic chaos.
    I hope your meetings will go on, and that (somehow) this group of power grabbers will be seen for what they are: evil incarnate.
    Richard H. Randall
    Major, USA (ret.)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. sequoiariverlands

    Love this picture of you two!


  5. You guys are lookin’ a little shady…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi John,
    Looking through some old files today. Back to days of Maverick Western Verse, etc. Found you on line so mailed you a couple of my recent collections: Five Miles West of Here, and The Long Loping Hills of Montana.
    And here is a short poem that might mean something to you and some of the bloggers with a ranch background


    My father
    would stand for hours
    just looking at his cows

    Like God leaning
    on a rail fence in heaven
    pleased with his creation

    All the best,

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m an American living in Australia for the past 5 years. They have something here called Bush Poetry. It’s mostly poetry about the land but there’s a humorous lean as well. There are many famous bush poets and they have readings around Australia all the time.

    One of the best I ever heard was an 80-year old lady who did one about how older men date younger women and how at her age she was going to do the same thing. But date a young rich man so she didn’t have to play the lottery anymore.

    Like I said, most are about Australian life, bush life, etc. and my husband and I were living on an 120,000 acre property up Northern Queensland called Natal Downs. They ran cattle and he did the fencing, helped with mustering, processing etc. Well, we went through the wet season there and were pretty much stuck at the house for six weeks because all the roads in and out were flooded and even around the house was too boggy to drive on. He went to work on a horse but I was in the house with the kids. I decided to try my hand at bush poetry and write my one and only bush poem.

    I ended up reading it at a bush poets reading night months later. I was shaking in my boots but everyone loved it and laughed in the appropriate spots. I’d live to let you read it so you could see what bush poetry is.

    What a great life you all have. My husband (he’s Australian) trained cutting horses in the states for six years and managed a couple of big properties here so of course I love reading about your life. I’ll have to follow the blog.

    We are no longer on a large property but have a bit of land for our two horses and my husband works at the mines and is a farrier in his time off.

    Good to meet you and I’ll be keeping up with the blog. Love the name too. I knew it had to be in America when I saw “crik” in the name. 🙂


    Lisa Donovan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa. We’ve had the pleasure getting to know several of your Bush Poets at Elko. I’ll try to keep up with the bugs down under… all so interesting, all so amazing!


  8. So you decided to join the small clan of Uncle Spike followers John…. That makes me a happy blogger now – I really appreciate you making that special mouse click.

    Hope you like my upcoming posts and if you get bored one day, maybe you’ll enjoy trawling through some of my older stuff too.

    If you have any likes, dislikes or suggestions about my blog, just let me know, either through ‘comments’ or via email. Always welcome reader input 🙂

    Have a great old day…



  9. Hi John
    I had the good fortune to go on a horse drive in the Sierra Nevada a few years ago – taking a herd of mules from Bishop CA to their home at 10K feet in the mountains. WOW it was beautiful beyond words. Your visit has brought me back and now I want to post some photos from that ride. I also met a cowboy poet at a Horse B&B in AZ and purchased a volume.

    Though I live in the east there is a part of my soul that comes alive under the big open skies. What a joyful life you lead! Happy New Year!


  10. So glad you made a visit to my blog so that I could find you. I’m living on the edge of suburbia with ranches and cattle all around me. The country life has become a growing fascination, and after quite a few years of wanting to move to “the other side of the Altamont”, I find that I am happier here with magnificent vistas of open land, horses and cattle. I’ve just retired and hope to add to my small gallery of photos of this beautiful area. You both have inspired me.


  11. Thank you John for liking my post. I looked around your blog and really like your photos and writings. It’s great to read your perspectives from a ranch.


  12. John;
    Been a lot of years since we were sitting around chatting at Doyles. I love reading your work and hope sometime we can connect.
    The world is small, but not really. I see Jody Bos up here because I now live in Minden NV. Jefferey Tatum is one of my oldest friends, her dad and mine hooked up first day at Stanford. Three of my great saddle pals are the Hannah’s aka Sons of the San Joaquin and Belinda Gail, who used to live in Visalia is another. I’m still a cowgirl in my heart just lack the horse. But we’re still ranching in SLO county, just leasing to cow/calf operation now.


    • Thanks, Susan, for touching on yesteryear, back, perhaps, when the world seemed simpler, though no less dramatic. Good to hear from you. Looks like you’re running with a good crowd. Best always.


  13. Thanks for the follow. Am enjoying your blog; particularly the wildflower photos.


  14. Thank you for the follow 🙂


  15. Hi John & Robin, so nice to have discovered your blog. Love the “Dry Crik” name. Crik is how people here in the mountains of Virginia refer to Creek as well. Thank you for being so kind in response to my (somewhat naive?) Summer Lovin’ Bovines post. You as cattle farmers would definitely know that cows have personalities!


  16. Ηello!
    Keep up your good work and thank you very much for your time to visit and follow my blog !


  17. Hi!
    Thanks for stopping by and following my Journeys with Johnbo photo and travel blog. I hope my photo stories continue to enjoy your support. I will also enjoy following your blog, especially the photo sections.


  18. Wow. What a happy day to find YOU! Will tell my husband, too, as he is a HUGE fan of cowboy poetry. Can I assume you also like Ian Tyson, Alberta based rancher and icon of Canadian country/cowboy music?


  19. Hi, your blog looks awesome, thanks for liking my ‘Crystal Sword’ post!


  20. I was raised on a cattle farm in Iowa. I have been hitchhiking the United States for most of 18 years.

    If you are ever up in Cedarville, California (near Alturas in Modoc County), stop by the Sunrise Motel and say hello to John and Susie Bunyard. They own the Sunrise and have a cow-calf herd. Whenever I passed through Cedarville, I helped them feed and brand their cattle. Great people.

    “Branding Calves”


  21. Hi John,
    I loved your pictures of the wildflowers. We get a lot of them around here too (but not the same kinds). You should see Texas with its bluebonnets in the spring. 🙂
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m glad you liked it.


  22. Rich & Shelby Hewitt

    Hi John & Robbin,

    It has been a long time since pasturing yearlings on your ranch. It would take awhile to fill in all the happenings since we were last at your ranch. Due to age and health issues we finally had to hang up the saddles and retire the ponies. It has been a wonderful life and there are no finer people than those who chase cows for a living. We have left Montana and now hang our hats in Tucson, Arizona. While we have always lived in or next to the mountains we find exploring the southwest fascinating. We know a few ranchers down here so stay in the loop in a small way. Enjoy your poetry and especially Robbin’s photography. If you ever find yourselves in southern Arizona give us a shout.

    Your friends,

    Rich & Shelby Hewitt


  23. Love your blog. Beautiful work.


  24. Hello John,
    Tried to send you an email at and it bounced back. Wanted to let you know about my Voices for the Voiceless project for which you submitted a poem. Please send me an email at an I’ll send you the letter I sent other contributors. Thanks. And Blessings!


  25. Is there an email address that I can use to reach you guys?


  26. Don E. Thompson

    Hi John… Just stumbled across your work. Hard to believe we don’t know each other! I’d like to trade books with you if you’re interested. You can check out my stuff at (“San Joaquin Ink”).


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