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

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

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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...

 

American Life In Poetry

Austin Smith lives in rural Illinois and is an acute observer of the world at hand.This poem is from his book Flyover Country, published by Princeton University Press. Cat Moving Kittens We must have...

 

American Life in Poetry

I don't suppose there are many of our younger readers who have started to worry about the possibility of memory loss, but I'd guess almost everybody over fifty does. Peter Schneider lives in...

 

American Life in Poetry

Ibbetson Street is a journal that comes out twice a year and does a fine job selecting its poems. I like this one by Kenneth Lee, a gynecological pathologist in Boston, whose most recent book is...

 

American Life In Poetry

How many of our mothers set aside what they wanted to do with their lives and chose instead to make good lives for us? This poem is from Faith Shearin's sixth book, Darwin's Daughter, published in 201...

 

American Life in Poetry

There's a lot of very wordy poetry these days, but here is a poem of only around 120 words in which every choice is necessary. I recently accepted another poem by Caitlin Doyle, who lives in Ohio,...

 

American Life In Poetry

There's nothing that can't be a good subject for a poem. The hard part is to capture something in such a way that it becomes engaging and meaningful. Here's a poem from the Summer 2018 issue of...

 

American Life In Poetry

I like this poem for the way it portrays the manner in which we study the behavior of others and project our own experiences onto their lives. It's the second poem we've published by Jeanie...

 

American Life In Poetry

One of the many challenges in life is in knowing where you’re supposed to sit. I slid into the wrong pew at a funeral forty years ago and still smart from the hard looks I got. Here’s a church pew poem by Bruce Pemberton, who lives in Palouse,...

 

American Life In Poetry

Liz Ahl was once a very talented graduate student in our creative writing program at The University of Nebraska, but she’s long since moved on to teach at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. The following villanelle is from her handsomely...

 

American Life In Poetry

Caitlin Doyle, who lives in Ohio, writes haunting, memorable poetry about the familiar and the strange. Her poetry is a fine example of what I call strategic artistry, as if her words have been carefully held back until they burst into light at just...

 

American Life in Poetry

Until about a hundred years ago, the worth of a poem was measured by how noble and elevated was its subject and its manner of delivery, but with the appearance of modernism all hell broke loose and suddenly there were all sorts of subjects one had...

 

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