Excerpt from


She was all in black but for a yellow pony tail
that trailed from her cap, and bright blue gloves
that she held out wide, the feathery fingers spread,
as surely she stepped, click-clack, onto the frozen
top of the world. And there, with a clatter of blades,
she began to braid a loose path that broadened

Ted Kooser's web site

Ted Kooser at The Academy of American Poets

Ted Kooser at Poetry Foundation

from The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice For Beginning Poets:
I recommend that when you sit down to write you have in mind an imaginary reader, some person you'd like to reach with your words. That person can be anybody, but give it some thought: How old? Level of education? Experience with literature? The more real your imaginary reader seems to you, the easier it becomes to shape a poem that might reach through to that person. If you keep the shadow of that reader like a whiff of perfume in the room where you write, you'll be a better writer.

Tad Richards on Ted Kooser

One sees relatively little thematic or stylistic development in Kooser's work over time: the subject matter of family and place, the observation of nature and individuals is always at the heart of it, as is the sense that there are mysteries beyond our grasp, but perhaps they're not so far beyond our grasp, if we take the time to contemplate them. In the title poem from his collection Flying at Night, he notes and draws a connection, from the vantage point of an airplane, between a dying galaxy and a farmer, "feeling the chill of that distant death," turning on a light in his yard.

Reading at UC Santa Barbara