Poetry by Nancy McLelland
About Us Complete Works Eight Poems from Tuscarora Rat's Country
About the Poet

Nancy McLelland

When she’s not in Tuscarora, Nancy McLelland lives in Ukiah, California with her husband, Doug. She teaches composition and literature at Mendocino College. She is author of “Borderlands: Cowboy Poetry and the Literary Canon” in the anthology, Cowboy Poetry Matters


In Tuscarora, Nevada, I found a home for my aspirations as a writer and reclaimed my heritage as a westerner. I describe the impulsive but rewarding experience of buying a house on dilapidated piece of property in a desolate part of the country in “Thinking of Names.

In Tuscarora, if asked, I would answer, “Yes, I’m a writer” or “Yes, I’m a poet.” I might also volunteer that I was born and raised in Elko County, can work sourdough, own a J.M. Capriola saddle. Psychologically, I felt like someone coming home after a long absence. I loved reminiscing about places and events: being snowed in for several weeks on a ranch near Lee; attending first grade in the one-room schoolhouse in Starr Valley—or telling my listener that he or she was looking at someone who actually lived in Deeth.

This high desert adventure began a decade ago. Now, the house and studio look quite respectable, and my friends, the Adobe House Artists, mark the first week of August on their calendars for the annual trek to Tuscarora. During the past ten years, I have written steadily, mostly poetry. Now, I think of myself as a writer, a poet—and not just when I am in Tuscarora.

In 1996, I wrote a poem, “I Will Know When I Get There,” describing the joy of finding my home as an artist. In 2004,, it dawned on me that I could create a virtual Tuscarora, extending and expanding the creative energies that—for me—come with the territory.





about the poet | complete works | eight poems from Tuscarora | rat's country