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University Relations

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November 1, 2005
Contact: Frank Farmer, associate professor of English, (785) 864-2524.

Poet Laureate Ted Kooser to visit the University of Kansas

LAWRENCE -- U. S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser will read his poetry at the University of Kansas on Thursday, Nov. 3. The reading will take place at 8 p.m. in the Woodruff Auditorium of the Kansas Union. A book signing will follow.

Kooser also will participate in a poetry panel at 4 p.m. that day in the Kansas Room of the Kansas Union. Appearing with Kooser on the panel will be KU English Professor Michael Johnson, Stanley Banks of Avila College and John Mark Eberhardt with the Kansas City Star. Each participant is a published poet.

Both events are open to the public and are sponsored by the Department of English, the Hall Center for the Humanities and the chancellor's office.

Born in Ames, Iowa, in 1939, Kooser received his bachelor's from Iowa State University and his master's in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a professor in the English department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and lives near Garland, Neb., with his wife, Kathleen Rutledge, editor of the Lincoln Journal Star. He is editor and publisher of Windflower Press, which specializes in publishing contemporary poetry. He is a former vice president of Lincoln Benefit Life, where he worked as an insurance representative for many years.

His work has appeared in many periodicals including The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Poetry, The Hudson Review, The Nation, The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner and Antioch Review. Kooser's poems are included in textbooks and anthologies used in secondary schools and college classrooms across the country. He is the author of a number of collections of poetry, including Flying at Night (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005); Delights and Shadows (Copper Canyon, 2004); Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry (Copper Canyon, 2003), written with fellow poet and longtime friend Jim Harrison; Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison (2000), which won the 2001 Nebraska Book Award for poetry; Weather Central (1994); One World at a Time (1985); and Sure Signs (1980).

In addition to poetry, Kooser has written in a variety of forms including plays, fiction, personal essays and literary criticism. His nonfiction books include The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets (University of Nebraska Press, 2005) and Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps (University of Nebraska Press, 2002).

Kooser won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for Delights and Shadows. His other honors include two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in poetry, a Pushcart Prize, the Stanley Kunitz Prize from Columbia magazine, a Merit Award from the Nebraska Arts Council and the Boatwright Prize from Shenandoah literary magazine.

In announcing Kooser's appointment as Poet Laureate, Librarian of Congress James Billington said: "Ted Kooser is a major poetic voice for rural and small town America and the first Poet Laureate chosen from the Great Plains. His verse reaches beyond his native region to touch on universal themes in accessible ways."

Flying at Night

Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations.
Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
back into the little system of his care.
All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,
tug with bright streets at lonely lights like his.

Ted Kooser
Published in Flying at Night


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