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In the News – Ted Kooser, Poet Laureate

In the News logo

Kooser Laureate GraphicOn August 12th, 2004, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of Ted Kooser to be the 13th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. He took up his duties in the fall, opening the Library’s annual literary series on Oct. 7th, 2004, with a reading of his work. Kooser was a featured speaker at the Library of Congress National Book Festival poetry pavilion on Saturday, October 9th, 2004, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

On making the appointment, 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.” 

Kooser, the author of ten collections of poetry, most recently Valentines (2008), was born in Ames, Iowa, in 1939. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Iowa State University in 1962 and his master’s degree at the University of Nebraska in 1968. Kooser is the former vice-president of Lincoln Benefit Life, an insurance company in Lincoln, NE, and currently lives on an acreage near the village of Garland, NE, with his wife, Lincoln Journal Star editor Kathleen Rutledge. 

Kooser’s other collections of poetry include Sure Signs (1980), which received the Society of Midland Authors Prize for the best book of poetry by a midwestern writer published in that year; One World at a Time (1985); Weather Central (1994); and Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison (2000), winner of the 2001 Nebraska Book Award for Poetry. A book of his essays, Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps (2002), won the Nebraska Book Award for Nonfiction in 2003. The book was also chosen as the Best Book Written by a Midwestern Writer for 2002 by Friends of American Writers, and it won the Gold Award for Autobiography in ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards. Kooser is also the author, with his longtime friend Jim Harrison, of Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry (2003), for which the two poets received the 2003 Award for Poetry from the Society of Midland Authors. 

Among Kooser’s other awards and honors are two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Pushcart Prize, the Stanley Kunitz Prize from Columbia, the James Boatwright Prize and a Merit Award from the Nebraska Arts Council. He is a visiting professor in the English department of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Related Materials in Our Collection
The links in this section of this list will take you directly into the items’ entries in the catalog of the Lincoln City Libraries, where you can check on the items’ availability throughout the library system.

Poetry Collections (or other books) by Ted Kooser

Official Entry Blank: Poems  – 811 Koo – [1969] Grass County  – Heritage 811 Koo – [1971] Twenty Poems  – 811 Koo – [1973] A Local Habitation and a Name  – 811 Koo – [1974] Shooting a Farmhouse [and] So This is Nebraska  – Heritage 811 Koo – [1975] Not Coming to Be Barked At: Poems  – 811 Koo – [1976] Hatcher  – Kooser – [1978] — Novel
Old Marriage and New  – 811 Koo – [1978] Cottonwood County  – 811 Klo – [1979] with William Kloefkorn
Sure Signs: New and Selected Poems  – 811 Koo – [1980] Weather Central  – 811 Koo – [1984] One World at a Time  – 811 Koo – [1985] Blizzard Voices  – 811 Koo – [1986] A Book of Things  – Heritage 811 Koo – [1995] A Decade of Ted Kooser Valentines: 1987-1996  – Heritage 811 Koo – [1996] Journey to a Place of Work: A Poet in the World of Business  – 658.314 Koo – [1998] Winter Morning Walks: 100 Postcards to Jim Harrison  – 811 Koo – [2000] Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps  – 917.823 Koo – [2002] Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry  – 811 Har – [2003] with Jim Harrison
Delights & Shadows: Poems  – 811 Koo – [2004] Flying at Night: Poems – 1965-1985 – 811 Koo- [2005] Lights on a Ground of Darkness: An Evocation of a Place and Time – Biography Kooser – [2005] The Poetry Home Repair Manual – 808.1 Koo – [2005] Valentines – 811 Koo – [2008]

Anthologies including poems or other work by Ted Kooser

The Pushcart Prize  – 810.8 Pus – vol IX has a Kooser poem
The New Salt Creek Reader  – Heritage Periodical New – [1967-75] A Bestiary  – 811 Sch – [1973] one Kooser poem
Heartland II: Poets of the Midwest  – Heritage 811.08 Hea – [1975] Voyages to the Inland Sea VI: Essays and Poems  – 811.08 Voy v.6 – [1976] Silent Voices: Recent American Poems on Nature  – Heritage 811.08 Fer – [1978] Brother Songs: A Male Anthology of Poetry  – 811.08 Per – [1979] Blue Hotel  – Heritage Periodical Blu – [Jan 1980] Windflower Home Almanac of Poetry  – 811.08 Win – [1980] On Common Ground  – 811.08 San – [1983] Poetspeak: In Their Work, About Their Work, a Selection  – 811.08 Jan – [1983] Three Rivers, Ten Years  – 811.08 Cos – [1983] one Kooser poem
Christmas in the Midwest  – 813.08 And – [1984] illustration by Kooser
Out Here  – Heritage 811 Rat – [1984] cover design by Kooser
Strings: A Gathering of Family Poems  – j811.08 Jan – [1984] Pocket Poems: Selected for a Journey  – j811.08 Jan – [1985] Going Over to Your Place: Poems for Each Other  – j811.08 Jan – [1987] As Far as I Can See: Contemporary Writing of the Middle Plains  – 810.8 Woo – [1989] Swamp Root, vol 1 num 4, Summer 1989  – Heritage 811.08 Swa – [1989] Vital Signs: Contemporary American Poetry from the University Presses  – 811.08 Wal – [1989] Dreams in Dry Places  – 917.82 Bru – [1990] foreward by Kooser
Wellsprings: A Collection From Six Nebraska Poets  – 811.08 qGeo – [1995] Wherever Home Begins: 100 Contemporary Poems  – 811.08 Jan – [1995] one Kooser poem
The Plains Sense of Things: Eight Poets from Lincoln, Nebraska  – 811.08 San – [1997] A Man in Love With the Wind  – 811 Wel – [1997] commentary by Kooser

Audio and Videotapes including readings by Ted Kooser

Ted Kooser: Voices of the Plains  – Audio 791.447 Voi – [1991] Radio broadcast
Nebraska Humor Month  – Heritage Video NebH4 BETA – [1984] The Frontier in Contemporary Literature: Part I  – Video 810.9 Fro5 – [1985] The Frontier in Contemporary Literature: Part II  – Video 810.9 Fro6 – [1985] The Frontier in Contemporary Literature: Part III  – Video 810.9 Fro7 – [1985] Hansen, Kooser, Saiser and Scheele  – Video 811.08 Han – [1999] Ted Kooser Reads His Poetry, 1984  – Video 811 Koo – [1984] Poetry Nebraska: Lesson #6  – Video 811 Koo – [1984] Ted Kooser Reads His Poetry, 1986  – Video 811 Koo – [1986] Nebraska, the Individual Voice: Part 2  – Video 811 Neb2 – [1986] Blizzard Voices: a Dramatic Reading  – Video 812 Koo – [1986] Ted Kooser’s Poetic World – DVD 811.08 Koo – [2005] Poetry: Capturing the Moment With U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser and Friends – DVD 811.08 Koo – [2005] Ted Kooser: Poet – DVD 811 Koo – [2008] Nebraska Book Festival 2009: Nebraska Writers Cultivating Creativity – DVD 810.098 Neb – [2009] Ted Kooser [author] – DVD 811 Koo – [2011]

Online Resources

The following databases and/or webliographies on the Lincoln City Libraries site can be used to access numerous articles and/or links to additional resources on-line. [If you have difficulty using these databases, please contact the Reference Department at 441-8530 for assistance.]

Database: Magazine Article Search [periodical index and database] Database: eLibrary [periodical & broadcast media index and database]

Additional on-line resources * about Ted Kooser, the United States Poet Laureate program, and Poetry in general:

Ted Kooser’s own website information from The Library of Congress
Poet Laureate of the United States information on Kooser from The Library of Congress
Ted Kooser page on the Nebraska Authors website
Nebraska Center for Writers page for Ted Kooser. (no longer available)
Critical Commentary about Kooser’s work on the Nebraska Center for Writers page (no longer available)
Access to some of Ted Kooser’s poems at
Archive of past “poems of the day” at [scroll down to Kooser] Kooser page at the Academy of American Poets web site.‘s list of all past Poet Laureates of the United States

Articles about the naming of Kooser as U.S. Poet Laureate

Official announcement from the Library of Congress [August 12, 2004] USA Today (no longer available)
National Public Radio
Washington Post
American Libraries Magazine (no longer available)
Lincoln Journal Star (special section)
BBC News
San Francisco Chronicle (no longer available) (no longer available)
Kansas City Star (no longer available)
Minneapolis Star Tribune (no longer available)

* Please Note: The presence of a link on this site does not constitute an endorsement by Lincoln City Libraries.