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In this provocative and insightful anthology, many voices join in celebrating the remarkably vast and varied American West. The verse collected here ranges from Indian tribal lyrics to nineteenth-century folksongs like "The Streets of Laredo," from country-western lyrics to the poems of such non-American observers as Apollinaire and Borges. Here is the rich diversity of the West—the harsh life of farms and ranches; man's destructive invasion into forest and desert solitudes; the bookstores, bars, and bistros of San Francisco and Hollywood; the Pacific coastline, the endless highways, the ghost towns, the poverty, and the now legendary world of cowpunchers and gunslingers.
From Robert Frost's "Once By the Pacific" to Charles Bukowski's "Vegas," from Nanci Griffith's "Lone Star State of Mind" to Thom Gunn's "San Francisco Streets"–the West is evoked in all its incarnations, both real and mythic.