Poster Image

Elizabeth Cotten playing Freight Train on guitar


Item#: 2024SYR12

Purchase Details

11x17-inches, printed on heavy weight (100-pound) Hammermill cover paper. We package each print with a piece of chipboard in a clear plastic sleeve.

You also receive…

An information page with photos of the artist and poet, and hand-written comments from each.

Medium- and large-format posters are available by custom order. Contact us for details.

Poem Inspiration Location

Freight Train Comes, Freight Train Goes

poster information


Freight train comes, freight train goes

Libba Cotten picking her guitar

Gone but not forgotten in the 'Cuse

My poem is a tribute to Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten, who is a musical hero to me and many others in Syracuse and throughout the world. Libba Cotten grew up poor in the south, and taught herself guitar at a very young age. She developed a unique style of plying, which became known as “Cotten picking.” Her most famous song was “Freight Train” which was recorded and covered by many famous artists during the folk revival.

She moved to Syracuse towards the end of her life, where she continued to play and record music and tour worldwide. When I learned to play guitar, “Freight Train” was one of the first songs I learned to play. I incorporated several key words from her song into my poem, along with its rhythmic feel. I love the fact that her guitar style was an influence to so many giants in folk and rock music, and that she is such a beloved icon in Syracuse.

After reading Sam Young’s poem, I was immediately intrigued, and wanted to learn more about Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten. After some research, I was inspired to choose her as the subject of my poster. Despite my own lack of musical talent, I’m always in awe of those who possess it.

In crafting the poster, I sought to capture the timeless essence of Cotten’s musical legacy and the profound impact she had on folk and blues music. Much like her intricate finger picking style, the design weaves together various elements to create a harmonious visual composition.