Ted Kooser

Ted Kooser Poems

Just past dawn, the sun stands
with its heavy red head
in a black stanchion of trees,
waiting for someone to come
...

Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations.
Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
...

Today, from a distance, I saw you
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
...

First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
...

Only one cell in the frozen hive of night
is lit, or so it seems to us:
this Vietnamese café, with its oily light,
its odors whose colorful shapes are like flowers.
...

The first warm day,
and by mid-afternoon
the snow is no more
than a washing
...

The porch swing hangs fixed in a morning sun
that bleaches its gray slats, its flowered cushion
whose flowers have faded, like those of summer,
...

This evening, I sat by an open window
and read till the light was gone and the book
was no more than a part of the darkness.
I could easily have switched on a lamp,
...

Dawn comes later and later now,
and I, who only a month ago
could sit with coffee every morning
watching the light walk down the hill
...

He was a big man, says the size of his shoes
on a pile of broken dishes by the house;
a tall man too, says the length of the bed
in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man,
...

She is being helped toward the open door
that leads to the examining rooms
by two young women I take to be her sisters.
Each bends to the weight of an arm
...

Ted Kooser Biography

Ted Kooser is one of the nation’s most highly regarded poets and served as the United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004 - 2006. During his second term he won the Pulitzer Prize for his book of poems, Delights & Shadows (Copper Canyon Press, 2004). A Presidential Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he is the author of twelve full-length collections of poetry. Over the years his works have appeared in many periodicals including The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Poetry, The Hudson Review, The Nation, The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, and Antioch Review. Koosers’ poems are included in textbooks and anthologies used in both secondary schools and college classrooms across the country. He has received two NEA fellowships in poetry and many other national and regional awards. In addition to poetry, Kooser has written in a variety of forms including personal essays, and literary criticism. His first book of prose, Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps (University of Nebraska Press, 2002), won the Nebraska Book Award for Nonfiction in 2003 and Third Place in the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award in Nonfiction for 2002. The book was chosen as the Best Book Written by a Midwestern Writer for 2002 by Friends of American Writers. It also won the Gold Award for Autobiography in ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards. For a number of years, Kooser owned and operated Windflower Press which specialized in the publication of contemporary poetry. Though inactive now, Windflower published a number of books as well as two literary magazines, The Salt Creek Reader (1967-1975) and The Blue Hotel (1980-1981). The Salt Creek Reader was awarded several grants of support from the National Endowment of the Arts through The Coordination Council of Literary Magazines. Kooser published several anthologies through Windflower Press. One of these, The Windflower Home Almanac of Poetry, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best books from small presses for 1980. Seventeen Danish Poets in Translation received international notice, and As Far As I Can See; Contemporary Writing of the Middle Plains is in use as a text in secondary schools and colleges across the plains region. In 1999, Kooser published Roy Scheele's Keeping the Horses as a fundraising project for the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association. Born in Ames, Iowa, in 1939, Kooser earned a BS at Iowa State University in 1962 and an MA at the University of Nebraska in 1968. He has received several honorary doctorates. He is a former vice-president of Lincoln Benefit Life Copmpany, where he worked for many years. He lives on an acreage near the town of Garland, Nebraska, with his wife, Kathleen Rutledge, and their dogs, Alice and Howard. He also has a son, Jeff, and a granddaughter, Margaret.)

The Best Poem Of Ted Kooser

A Birthday Poem

Just past dawn, the sun stands
with its heavy red head
in a black stanchion of trees,
waiting for someone to come
with his bucket
for the foamy white light,
and then a long day in the pasture.
I too spend my days grazing,
feasting on every green moment
till darkness calls,
and with the others
I walk away into the night,
swinging the little tin bell
of my name.

Ted Kooser Comments

Grace Greene 19 October 2005

Kooser is a master. After reading his book Delights and Shadows cover to cover at least three times, I am thoroughly convinced that he is one of the most distinguished and gifted authors of our time, as well as my favorite. The intense yet simplistic ways in which Kooser captures his subjects leaves me absolutely speechless with wonder at how one person can be supplied with such an immense amount of talent. I am truly awed and inspired by Kooser's work. If I had to choose a single poem as my 'favorite, ' I would definitely say 'A Spiral Notebook' comes out on top. As a writer myself, this poem deeply and truly speaks to me, as well as many of my peers, in an almost indescribable fashion. The beauty with which Kooser describes the notebook and the feelings of the person handling it is truly amazing. I highly recommend all and any of Ted Kooser's work to anyone who has the gift to understand and appreciate this man's wonderful way with words.

40 26 Reply
Wanda Bailey 22 September 2005

Ted, I just got your book, Delights and Shadows, and The Poetry Home Repair Manual today..I finished Delights and Shadows and half way through Home Repair..LOL I'm definately a free style writer..No syllabics for me.. I am so inspired by your writing. Wanda Bailey

28 21 Reply
Larry Obrien 06 April 2005

Kooser and the Pulitzer kinda coolitzer

29 18 Reply
Charles Pfeffer 09 March 2005

Ted Kooser wrote a poem abut a father receiving his daughter's coffin at a remote railroad station, and then taking it home. Where could I find this poem? Thank you, C. Pfeiffer

30 14 Reply
Brigit Murray 20 June 2014

Another of his poems to add... Abandoned Farmhouse By Ted Kooser He was a big man, says the size of his shoes on a pile of broken dishes by the house; a tall man too, says the length of the bed in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man, says the Bible with a broken back on the floor below the window, dusty with sun; but not a man for farming, say the fields cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn. A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves covered with oilcloth, and they had a child, says the sandbox made from a tractor tire. Money was scarce, say the jars of plum preserves and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole. And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames. It was lonely here, says the narrow country road. Something went wrong, says the empty house in the weed-choked yard. Stones in the fields say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars in the cellar say she left in a nervous haste. And the child? Its toys are strewn in the yard like branches after a storm- a rubber cow, a rusty tractor with a broken plow, a doll in overalls. Something went wrong, they say.

19 5 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 04 May 2021

Most deserving poet to be called as The Poet Of The Day by Poem Hunter. Com and Team.Congratulations!

1 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 04 May 2021

2) He lives on an acreage near the town of Garland, Nebraska, with his wife, Kathleen Rutledge, and their dogs, Alice and Howard. He also has a son, Jeff, and two granddaughters Margaret.and Penelope Wishing him and his beloved souse God's Blessings in Abundance

1 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 04 May 2021

Ted Kooser, a remarkable briiliant poet, He has received several honorary doctorates. He is a former vice-president of Lincoln Benefit Life Copmpany, where he worked for many years.

1 0 Reply
ava 16 February 2021

It doesn't have one of his poems 'Abandoned Farmhouse'

1 0 Reply
MARCUS 15 June 2019

I am looking for a Kooser poem about an old woman who had a bent back from years of work, does anyone know this poem

1 1 Reply

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