When native Iowan turned Nebraskan Ted Kooser was named U.S. poet laureate in 2004, he was the first poet laureate named from the country’s Great Plains.
His poetry was described as modest, straightforward, stubborn, elegiac — and beautiful.
Now, Ted Kooser has written a big little book of elegy to the time and place and people who made him — who made a whole world of farm and field, gas station and pinochle game. A kind of love letter to the country’s heartland and his family’s place in it.
This hour, On Point: Ted Kooser, and a poet’s evocation of the past.
Ted Kooser joins us from Lincoln, Nebraska. A Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and former U.S. poet laureate, he’s a professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His new memoir is “Lights on a Ground of Darkness.” You can read an excerpt here (pdf). And you can read selections of his poems here, here, and here.
See Kooser read from his Pulitzer Prize-winning collection “Delights & Shadows” at the University of California-Santa Barbara in 2005: