Ted Kooser is a brilliant poet.
I stumbled upon his collection, “Delights & Shadows,” a few years ago and it has influenced my writing ever since.
Kooser, an Iowa native who was the United States Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006, writes poems that show glimpses of daily life. He has a way of making the mundane fascinating, of making everyday events awe-inspiring.
Kooser maximizes meaning in minimal words. He proves that economy of language is extremely effective. Kooser’s clear, simple, beautiful language is something to be emulated in all writing forms– creative, academic or journalistic.
Listen to an interview Kooser did in 2005 with NPR.
Here’s on of my favorite poems:
A Rainy Morning
by Ted Kooser
A young woman in a wheelchair,
wearing a black nylon poncho spattered with rain
is pushing herself through the morning.
You have seen how pianists
sometimes bend forward to strike the keys,
then lift their hands, draw back to rest,
then lean again to strike just as the chord fades.
Such is the way this woman
strikes at the wheels, then lifts her long white fingers,
letting them float, then bends again to strike
just as the chair slows, as if into a silence.
So expertly she plays the chords
of this difficult music she has mastered,
her wet face beautiful in its concentration,
while the wind turns the pages of rain.