"Will one day rank alongside of Edgar Lee Masters, Robert Frost, and William Carlos Williams." --Minneapolis Tribune
"Kooser ranges over familiar territory, but maturity and full command of his craft now allow him to risk a wider scope, both in subject matter and form. . . . Weather Central forecasts the best of Ted Kooser's poetry: a steady voice, arresting and memorable images, and vigorous play in metaphor that can nourish the human soul." --Southern Humanities Review
"Kooser's poems have the beauty and wisdom of something closely tied to the soil. . . . Perfect combinations of imagery and music, American Poetry, the real thing." --Bloomsbury Review
Ted Kooser was born in Ames, Iowa, in 1939. He was educated in the Ames public schools, at Iowa State University, and the University of Nebraska. His awards include two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, the Stanley Kunitz Prize from Columbia magazine, and the 1981 Society of Midland Authors Award for Poetry for Sure Signs. His poems have appeared in many magazines including the Antioch Reveiw, the Hudson Review, and the Kenyon Review.
As the excellent critic Dana Gioia has remarked ("Can Poetry Matter?" ), Kooser is a popular poet in the sense that he speaks of nonliterary experience in nonliterary language. You don't have to know literature or literary manners to get a lot out of his poetry; it's not highfalutin. Because he writes of such ordinary things as noticing the weather, suddenly remembering one's own past, and imaginatively projecting our human consciousness into other creatures and even things (see "A Heart of Gold," the "protagonist" of which is a bottle of beer), he runs the risk of sentimentality, of letting emotion overpower reason and observable reality. But sentimentality rarely gets the better of him, and to anyone familiar with the great, regular middle of North America--Kooser was born in Iowa but lives in Nebraska--the scenes and actions in his poetry (especially the way that, in several poems, light--the quintessential physical reality on the plains--is a virtually corporeal actor) will seem, to paraphrase Pope, things often seen but ne'er so well observed.
From the Publisher
"Weather Central, TedKooser's latest book, reinforces his title as poet laureate of Nebraska, whether the governor has gotten around to making the appointment or not. . . .His poems have the beauty and wisdom of something closely tied to the soil. . . .perfect combinations of imagery and music, American Poetry, the real thing." --Bloomsbury Review
"A stunning book. Kooser's very best. Poems of a mature poet whose craft and vision merge in a way seldom seen today." --Northeast
Ted Kooser was named U.S. Poet Laureate for 2004-2006. He was born in Ames, Iowa, in 1939. Kooser was educated in the Ames public schools, at Iowa State University, and the University of Nebraska. His awards include two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, the Stanley Kunitz Prize from Columbia magazine, and the 1981 Society of Midland Authors Award for Poetry for Sure Signs.
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."