Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ted Kooser Interview

Jim Harrison has been a popular poet on this blog. His recent death prompted a spike in blog hits as people sought out his poetry.

One of Harrison's poems I had posted just days before his death is "Kooser called from Nebraska to say he'd found..." Maybe some wondered who the "Kooser" is immortalized in Harrison's poem.

Well, here he is, fellow-poet and friend Ted Kooser. The Writer's Almanac recently posted this interview. You'll find Kooser to be another voice speaking from the calm quiet heart of the chaos around us.

Ted Kooser was born in Ames, Iowa, in 1939. Like Wallace Stevens before him, he took a job in the insurance business, where he worked for many years. He would get up early and write poems for an hour and a half before he went to work. By the time he retired in 1999, Kooser had published seven books of poetry, including Not Coming to Be Barked At (1976), One World at a Time (1985), and Weather Central (1994). He resigned himself to being a relatively unknown poet, but he continued to write every morning. Then, in 2004, he got a phone call informing him that he had been chosen as poet laureate of the United States. He said: “I was so staggered I could barely respond. The next day, I backed the car out of the garage and tore the rearview mirror off the driver’s side.”
Kooser served as U.S. poet laureate from 2004 to 2006, one of the first poet laureates to be selected from the Great Plains, and during that time, his book Delights & Shadows (2005) won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. He also began a weekly newspaper column called “American Life in Poetry.” His goal was to introduce simple poems about ordinary subjects to people who might not otherwise read poetry. He lives on a 62-acre spread near Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife, Kathleen Rutledge. His latest collection, Splitting an Order, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2014.

1 comment:

  1. So now we know who Kooser is...makes Harrison's poem more personal...thanks!