Splitting an Order

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Overview


One of the "Big Indie Books of Fall 2014"—Publishers Weekly

"Ted Kooser must be the most accessible and enjoyable major poet in America. His lines are so clear and simple."—Michael Dirda,The Washington Post

“Readers [of Splitting an Order] will find ‘characters’ both strange and wonderful, animal or human. There is a sense that time is passing quickly and that everything worthy must be captured and savored, from an old couple lovingly sharing ...

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Overview


One of the "Big Indie Books of Fall 2014"—Publishers Weekly

"Ted Kooser must be the most accessible and enjoyable major poet in America. His lines are so clear and simple."—Michael Dirda,The Washington Post

“Readers [of Splitting an Order] will find ‘characters’ both strange and wonderful, animal or human. There is a sense that time is passing quickly and that everything worthy must be captured and savored, from an old couple lovingly sharing a sandwich to another sowing seed potatoes to a tribute to an old dog who waits as age and winter approach… Master of the single-metaphor poem, Kooser offers images that evolve, fluid and unforced.”—Library Journal, starred review

"Wisdom, compassion, and dignity continue to mark the poetry of Ted Kooser...Splitting an Order [is] a quiet collection that honors small victories and gives reasons to be hopeful."—Elizabeth Lund, The Christian Science Monitor

"Kooser's ability to discover the smallest detail and render it remarkable is a rare gift."—Bloomsbury Review

Pulitzer Prize winner and best selling poet Ted Kooser calls attention to the intimacies of life through commonplace objects and occurrences: an elderly couple sharing a sandwich is a study in transcendent love, while a tattered packet of spinach seeds calls forth innate human potential. This long-awaited collection from the former U.S. Poet Laureate—ten years in the making—is rich with quiet and profound magnificence.

From "Splitting an Order":

I like to watch an old man cutting a sandwich in half
… and then to see him lift half onto the extra plate that he asked the server to bring,
and then to wait, offering the plate to his wife while she slowly unrolls her napkin and places her spoon,
her knife and her fork in their proper places,
then smoothes the starched white napkin over her knees
and meets his eyes and holds out both old hands to him.

Ted Kooser is the author of numerous books of poetry and prose, including Delights and Shadows (Copper Canyon Press), which won the Pulitzer Prize. A former US Poet Laureate, Kooser serves as editor for "American Life in Poetry," a nationally syndicated weekly newspaper column.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

"All night each reedy whinny/from a bird no bigger than a heart/flies out of a tall black pine/and, in a breath, is taken away/by the stars." Since the late sixties, former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser has been giving voice to screech owls and other creatures, including humans, of the Great Plains. In this long-awaited new collection of poetry, the Nebraska writer once again displays his keen, but gentle sense of observation.

Publishers Weekly
08/18/2014
Former U.S. Poet Laureate Kooser’s long-awaited follow-up to 2005’s PulitzerPrize–winning Delights and Shadows is a journey of intimacies, a stroll through lives and minds via common objects and quotidian occurrences, that brims over with small profundities and discoveries. “Because it arrives while you sleep,” Kooser writes in “Bad News,” “it’s the one call you never pick up/ on the first ring.” Writing in the soft, casual tone he’s best known for, his focuses are the telephone, the sundial, the birdhouse, and the Arby’s meal. Kooser explores the bonds of love and friendship with simple insights into the marvels of existence and meditations on aging and weariness: “she stepped outside, and placed one foot/ and then the other on the future, and it held her up.” In “Tree Removal,” “the tree makes its exit with grace,/ going down slowly, one piece at a time.” Old objects, present and remembered, become the markers by which a mind reconstitutes and evaluates a life, “forever wading/ into the next hour, followed by the rest.” Kooser, alone “among the others who have stood here,” observes the slow summation of past and present people and things, all “becoming a piece of some great, rusty work/ we seem to fit exactly.” (Oct.)
Library Journal
★ 10/01/2014
There is a comfort in reading these poems from Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate Kooser: the cozy notion that despite modern technology, he is there, observing the world deeply and writing the words needed to ground us. Readers will find "characters" both strange and wonderful, animal or human. There is a sense that time is passing quickly and that everything worthy must be captured and savored, from an old couple lovingly sharing a sandwich to another sowing seed potatoes to a tribute to an old dog who waits as age and winter approach: "its rippling scent a cold/ that floats on the rest of the cold/ like a snake on a pool." Included is an essay about a first house in which shootings and a murder later take place, illustrating how time and circumstance can startle and strike memory. VERDICT Master of the single-metaphor poem, Kooser offers images that evolve, fluid and unforced: "This old hand with which I am writing/ holding its pen and pecking its way/ across the paper like a hen, has pulled me/ clucking with little discoveries/ across more than seventy years." Recommended.—Karla Huston, Appleton, WI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556594694
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
  • Publication date: 10/21/2014
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 78,961
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ted Kooser
Ted Kooser
A former insurance executive turned award-winning poet and writer, this author of the acclaimed look at the Nebraska heartland, Local Wonders, says that he has what he calls "wolf vision" -- an ability that lets him see every change in the landscape around him.

Good To Know

Kooser revealed some interesting facts about himself in our interview:

"I wanted to be a writer from the time I was a young man, but realized that I'd have to make a living somehow. I tried high school teaching but was incapable of maintaining discipline in the classroom and the students ran right over me. In 1964, after being tossed out of graduate school because I was a completely undisciplined scholar, I went to work at an "entry level" job in a life insurance company and over twenty five years was gradually elevated to a vice presidency.

During those years I wrote every morning from 5:30 till about 7:00. I never saw myself as an insurance executive, but rather as a writer in need of a paying job."

"I love living in rural America, away from the noise and clamor of the city, and I am completely content to go all week without speaking to anyone but my wife and my dog. My wife, Kathleen Rutledge, is the editor of the Lincoln Journal Star, the daily newspaper in Lincoln, Nebraska, and she helps keep me up on the news. I rarely leave home unless I can't find a good excuse not to go.

I write and paint and do chores around the farm, and am immensely thankful for every new day."

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    1. Hometown:
      Garland, Nebraska
    1. Date of Birth:
      1939
    2. Place of Birth:
      Ames, Iowa
    1. Education:
      B.S., Iowa State University, 1962; M.A., University of Nebraska, 1968

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 7, 2014

    Excellent!

    Ted Kooser and Mary Oliver are my favorite poets. Both write seemingly simple verse that gets richer and richer each time they are read

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