On April 26, 2012, Shadd Piehl drove over from Menoken to Fargo, picked me up from my place, and from there we headed over to Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) for a bout of poetry readings hosted by Red Weather press. Between my place and MSUM, though, we stopped by Mick’s Office, a tavern in Moorhead. Below Shadd recounts the time he spent shaving hog skins in Minot, North Dakota. Since hog skin is similar to human skin, these come in handy for burn victims who are on the mend.
Shadd is what in the business we refer to as a cowboy poet from the northern Great Plains. After the poetry reading, we caught a burger at JL Beers, and then went across the street to the HoDo (not to become legends, though). As I charge through my own graduate training, Shadd inadvertently made me think about how in the future I would think about the past (or what is now the present). He remembered and told particular stories now absorbed by the urban Fargo-Moorhead landscape, these from the time he spent getting undergraduate and graduate degrees some years back from NDSU and MSUM.
In addition to writing and reading poetry, Shadd fixes fence, sings in a band, and teaches English classes in Bismarck, North Dakota. Actually, I don’t know how regularly Shadd fixes fence. But that’s something it seems a cowboy poet ought to be doing on the northern Plains from time to time.