New Essay about Larry McMurtry

Front Porch Republic published an essay of mine (Larry McMurtry and Wendell Berry at the Dairy Queen) remembering Larry McMurtry and his influence on our local imagination. Below is the opening of the essay; if it intrigues you, then go ahead and click the link above.


Amarillo, TX. On a pre-Covid Saturday afternoon in Amarillo, I was having a beer with the poet Donald Mace Williams at a bar that was otherwise empty—save for one cowboy drinking alone. At 90, a lifelong newspaperman with a Ph.D. in Old English, Don has contributed his fair share to Texas letters, including an  adaptation of Beowulf set in our forgotten section of Texas called the panhandle. Around Beer #2, we began discussing the works of Larry McMurtry. Don proclaimed loudly that he believed Lonesome Dove was a farce. The cowboy down the bar perked up at the mention of the novel. 

Lonesome Dove is the greatest book ever written,” said the man, pushing back his Stetson. 

Don, undeterred, said it again. “It’s a farce. McMurtry thought the Western was dried up, and then he wrote one!” 

The cowboy squinted down the length of the bar, sizing up the old poet. For a moment, I felt Don had just drawn me into a fist fight with a stranger.

“I don’t know about all that,” the cowboy mumbled. “It’s just a great book.” He pulled his hat down and returned to his beer. 

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