Poet Drum Hadley: Back with 'Borderlands'

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Drum Hadley on his ranch, wearing a cowboy hat, with a dog in the background.

Drum Hadley on his ranch at the borders of Arizona, Mexico and New Mexico. Ted Robbins, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Ted Robbins, NPR

In the 1960s, Drum Hadley was a poet among poets, hanging out with the major voices of his generation — Alan Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Olson, Gary Snyder. Then he moved to a ranch at the spot where Arizona and New Mexico come together along the Mexican border.

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Less than a year ago, a head-on car wreck left Hadley, 68, with a variety of physical problems. But nearly 40 years after he last put out a book, he's publishing a new collection of his work: Voice of the Borderlands.

He's not a cowboy poet, exactly. But it's tough to separate the cowboy from the poet.

"I like to think that these are very practical poems," Hadley says. "They're practical in the sense of getting a job done like saddling a horse or a bronc. And they're practical in letting go of something in your life or bringing something into your life."

Hadley's poetry and his life are devoted to sustaining a way of life. He started the Animas Foundation, and with others, the Malpai Borderlands Group. Both organizations help support ranching in harmony with the environment.

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Voice of the Borderlands

by Drum Hadley

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