Tag Archives: creative process


Some come quickly now,
a phrase to trigger more
coiled upon the ground
while others hibernate for days,
for weeks and months,
as if they might be dead
without the touch of rain—
that hard and brittle
mindset to survive
like deep-rooted filaree
with all its colors,
with all its seed
waiting for a kiss.
I know no other way
to pen prosody.

“Storyline” by Andy Wilkinson


On February 2, 2017, Andy Wilkinson delivered the Keynote Address to the 33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. Addressing this year’s theme of ‘story’, his poetic treatise on the creative process received a standing ovation and is now available from Dry Crik Press in book form.



ISBN-10: 1883081106
ISBN-13: 978-1883081102
50 pages



For a long time now, I have been studying and thinking on story and narration, mostly in terms of how they are fundamental to creative process. So when asked to deliver the keynote address for the 2017 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering – with its theme being storytelling – I jumped at the chance. I chose poetry and song over prose, both to honor the substance and history of the Gatherings and to force myself to a finer, deeper understanding of the topic and task.

Then, all the while I was writing, an already-divided nation split even wider, adding not only a new perspective to the work, but also an urgency. For reconciliation, I now believe, is itself a creative process, one without beginning or end, inseparable from story and narration. And that, in turn, gives me hope for a kinder world.

My assignment from the Western Folklife Center also required that I write an essay for the event program, which I used as an opportunity to flesh-out the least-accessible part of the poem, that being the intimate relationship with the sciences and story and narration.

I mean for both essay and poem to be read, and sung, aloud. The line breaks, spacings, and archaic punctuation are there to facilitate oral performance, not for style and certainly not to please the eye. You are welcome to supply your own melody.

Andy Wilkinson



(to order click the sidebar)


The Cruelest Joke

Who else could take a break from their bookwork for Uncle Sam and look upon a mountain and see the calves we branded Wednesday, grazing with their mothers? Though it seems so unfair to ruin the prettiest time of the year here with tax accounting, even in a drought, I feel blessed. Thanks to Robbin, our ranch records are substantially better since she took over the daily bookwork in an organized manner.


I awoke early with loose numbers on my mind that tried to interfere, with some success, with my writing time. Language and math must reside on different sides of the brain, or some aspect of them, drawing battle lines in my head. The numbers usually win and I hate my smugness afterwards, finally with an answer. But usually balanced-out quickly with a poem, this morning’s offering is my first effort ever finished, mid-accounting.

Though I don’t pretend to understand it, I find the creative mindset interesting. So much depends on our eye, how we see things as individuals as we appeal to something common within us all, by adding our perspective. So opposite from filling out IRS forms. Done, time to let it rest overnight.