Ted Kooser served two terms, from 2004 until 2006, as the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. In 2005 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his book Delights and Shadows.
He is the host of the newspaper project, “American Life in Poetry,” and the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and the Stanley Kunitz Prize from Columbia University. He is a visiting professor in the English department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This event will celebrate the launch of his first collection of poems in nearly a decade, Splitting an Order, published by Copper Canyon Press.
A Meeting After Many Years
Our words were a few colorful leaves
afloat on a very old silence,
the kind with a terrifying undertow,
and we stood right at its edge,
wrapping ourselves in our own arms
because of the chill, and with old voices
called back and forth acoss all those years
until we could bear it no longer,
and turned from each other,
and walked away into our countries.
— from Splitting an Order
Walking on Tiptoes
Long ago we quit lifting our heels
like the others—horse, dog, and tiger—
though we thrill to their speed
as they flee. Even the mouse
bearing the great weight of a nugget
of dog food is enviably graceful.
There is little spring to our walk,
we are so burdened with responsibility,
all of the disciplinary actions
that have fallen to us, the punishments,
the killings, and all with our feet
bound stiff in the skins of the conquered.
But sometimes, in the early hours,
we can feel what it must have been like
to be one of them, up on our toes,
stealing past doors where others are sleeping,
and suddenly able to see in the dark.
—from Delights and Shadows
“When she left me
I stood out in the thunderstorm,
hoping to be destroyed by lightning.
It missed, first left, then right.”
—from Braided Creek
Splitting an Order (2014)
The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets (2005)
Lights on a Ground of Darkness: an evocation of place and time (2005)
Flying At Night: Poems 1965-1985 (2005)
Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps (2004)
Delights and Shadows (2004)
Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry (with Jim Harrison) (2003)
Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison (2001)
Riding with Colonel Carter (1999)
A Book of Things (1995)
Weather Central (1994)
The Blizzard Voices (1986)
One World at a Time (1985)
Sure Signs: New and Selected Poems (1980)
Not Coming To Be Barked At (1976)
A Local Habitation and a Name (1974)
Twenty Poems (1973)
Grass County (1971)
Official Entry Blank (1969)