Payson Cowboy Poet Honored

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Payson author Dee Strickland Johnson, also known as "Buckshot Dot" is a recipient of the Will Rogers Medallion Award for outstanding achievement in the publishing of cowboy poetry.

The award is for Johnson's book, "Arizona Herstory: Tales from Her Storied Past." The Academy of Western Artists confers the award.

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Dee Strickland Johnson

Johnson will be signing copies of the book from noon to 2 p.m., Saturday, May 16 at the Beeline Music Store, 307 S. Beeline Highway, next to Famous Sams.

"Poets and publishers of cowboy poetry continue to raise the bar for excellence in publications that honor and celebrate the West, and we proudly recognize these books," said AWA Director Bobby Newton. "(The book) showcases the strong talent of its writer and the high standards of its publisher." Johnson's book is one of six that will be presented the award in July in Fort Worth, Texas at the AWA Awards.

"All (of the books) make significant and lasting contributions as the best examples of preservation and celebration of the history and spirit of the West," Newton said.

The book is written in an innovative style. As explained in the foreword by Arizona's Official State Historian, Marshall Trimble, "She uses an unusually effective means to bring Arizona's past to the reader; history in verse! ... Some of these poems will make you laugh, others will tug at your heart strings, while others have a sense of drama ..."

Reviewing the book in the AWA publication, Rope Burns, Margo Metegrano said, "Her expertly crafted, engaging stories in verse never speak in a detached historian's voice, but rather through the colorful and convincing words of the native people .... She brings the past alive vibrantly, and this unique volume delivers a panoramic view of the history and the settlement of the West."

Accompanying the book-signing will be refreshments and a live performance by Johnson, who will read selections from the book.

Johnson is a native Arizonan and was one of the founders of Payson's Rim Country Western Heritage Festival at the Rim Country Museum. She has taught drama, English and art at Payson High School and American history at South Mountain High School in Phoenix.

In addition to receiving the prestigious Will Rogers Medallion Award, Johnson has also been named one of Arizona's Culture Keepers for 2004.

"Arizona Herstory: Tales from Her Storied Past" sells for $19.95 and may be purchased at Beeline Music, Payson Feed and Pet Foods, Rim Country Museum, the chamber of commerce or by calling 928-472-8063 or 602-957-3191 or online at buckshotdot.com

The book was published by Cowboy Miner Productions.

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