O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier -

Articles written by Ted Kooser - U.s. Poet Laureate

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American Life In Poetry

Tolstoy said, "Nothing can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness." I found this poem by Dorianne Laux in Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness...

 

American Life In Poetry

Last week I said that I planned to publish two beautiful poems of grief and loss by David Baker, from his new and selected poems, Swift, published last year by W. W. Norton. This is the second of...

 

American Life In Poetry

This is the sixth of Marge Saiser’s poems to appear in my column, and I’ve written elsewhere how much I admire her work. This poem is typical of her clear, accessible poetry of close observation. I am especially taken by her capture of the flash...

 

American Life In Poetry

Poets Tom Montag and David Graham have just published a fine anthology, Local News: Poetry About Small Towns, from MWPH Books, P.O. Box 8, in Fairwater, Wisconsin. Here's one of the many poems I've en...

 

American Life In Poetry

There's a very fine book, Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems, published by Grayson Books of West Hartford, Connecticut, and I've found a number of poems for this column there....

 

American Life In Poetry

Alberto Rios is a highly acclaimed American poet who lives and teaches in Arizona. I found this poem of community and peace in Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems, published by Grayson Books of West Hartford, Connecticut. The most...

 

American Life In Poetry

I've been asked if I believe in ghosts, and my answer is, "Well, now, there's very little fun in NOT believing in ghosts." Here's a poem by Austin Smith, who lives in Illinois, about being encouraged...

 

American Life In Poetry

Sometimes a poem can seem to be like a jeweler's setting, in which a gemlike image is presented. This one, by Chase Twichell, who lives in upstate New York, has one of those perfect gems of...

 

American Life In Poetry

Minnesota has many fine writers, gathered together by a deep and trusting affection for one another. Freya Manfred has been an important part of that community for her entire life, having been...

 

American Life In Poetry

I highly recommend a new anthology called Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection, edited by James Crews and published by Green Writers Press in Brattleboro, Vermont. Here's just one of...

 

Ameican Life In Poetry

We've published several poems by Washington, D.C., poet Judith Harris, who writes beautifully about her Jewish heritage. Bruno Bettelheim, writing about fairy tales, remarked on the closeness of the...

 

American Life In Poetry

How about a light-footed Irish reel before winter sets in, before the rest of our lives sets in? Here's a poem by Barbara Crooker, who lives in Pennsylvania. Her most recent collection of poems is...

 

American Life In Poetry

Here's a poem by Holly J. Hughes, who lives and writes in Washington state, about finding joy in what's before us. I found it in Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems, published by...

 

American Life In Poetry

One of poetry's most important tools is sensory imagery, and the following poem, by Christie Towers of Massachusetts, brings in pleasurable smells, tastes, and sounds to evoke a rich experience...

 

American Life In Poetry

Wallace Stevens, the great modernist poet, wrote about setting a jar down in a wild place, and how by doing so he organized that space around the jar. Here's Marilyn Dorf, a Nebraska poet, using a...

 

American Life In Poetry

I'd guess that at least every other person reading this column did at one time, as a child, carry home some animal that he or she wouldn't be able to keep. Here's Connie Wanek, who lives in New...

 

American Life In Poetry

All of us know people who wouldn't wear an article of clothing that had ever before been touched, let alone worn, by somebody else, and others who could care less. As I write this column I'm wearing...

 

American Life In Poetry

If at times your world seems flat and uninteresting, I recommend making a cardboard viewfinder with a postage-stamp sized window. Then look at what's around you through that. I think you'll be...

 

American Life in Poetry

We reprint poems by living Americans, about American life, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the many beautiful and moving poems written by American poets no longer with us. Robert Francis has been gone for thirty years but I turn to his p...

 

American Life In Poetry

There are so many delightful poems by Faith Shearin that it can be difficult to select just one to show you. This one is from her sixth book, Darwin's Daughter, published in 2017 by Stephen F. Austin...

 

American Life In Poetry

Lately I've been worried about the welfare of a young groundhog who lives under our front deck. His back legs won't support him and he drags them behind. This poem has been a good lesson for me. That...

 

American Life In Poetry

The following poem by James Davis May, published in 32 Poems Magazine, has a sentence I'd like to underline, because it states just what I look for in the poems I choose for this column: "We praise th...

 

American Life In Poetry

I'm afraid that if I'd asked my grandparents what the past was like they'd say it was "hard," and that would be it. But Megan Arlett is privileged to have a grandmother who knows how to enchant us...

 

American Life In Poetry

Here's a fine poem about a loving, attentive father, by Elise Hempel, who lives in Illinois. Notice how deftly she's placed her rhymes so that we scarcely notice them as the words flow on. Ms....

 

American Life In Poetry

When I was a nasty little kid I once made fun of a girl in my school because her father worked cutting up dead animals at a rendering plant.My mother sat me down and said, "Ted, all work is...

 

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