Written by Jessica Chapman, Legal Administrative Assistant at Billings King Avenue
When many of us think of the month of April, we think of showers and flowers, Fools’ Jokes and Chocolate Bunnies. Something you might not have known is that April is National Poetry Month.
A popular type of poetry that is celebrated by Montanans is Cowboy Poetry. In my search for Cowboy Poets across this beautiful state, I came across the name of Kathleen “Scotty” Bettise. Kathleen is a local, retired nurse who began writing as a child in Lambert, Montana, where she grew up next to an old grain elevator. It was that old grain elevator, as well as the rhymes that her mother would recite, that became her inspiration to begin writing her own poetry.
Today, you may be lucky enough to catch Scotty, whose nickname is derived from her maiden name of Scott and feeling that Kathleen sounded “much too lady-like”, reciting her poetry at workshops around Billings as well as at the annual Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Lewistown.
Scotty defines Cowboy Poetry as a story in rhyme. Many of her poems are written about true occurrences in her own life as well as the lives of others. When asked what her favorite part of living in Montana was, Scotty stated that when she drives home on that old, familiar highway to Lambert, “the Big Sky opens up before her.”
Scotty was kind enough to share two of her poems with us. Please enjoy the videos below as she reads Headin’ South and Toughing It Out.
We’d love to hear from you! Let us know how much you enjoyed learning about Scotty by leaving a short poem in the comments.