Launched in April 2005 with the support of the Poetry Foundation in
Chicago, the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and the Library of Congress,
the column appears in more than 100 newspapers and reaches a circulation
of nearly 10 million readers.
Every fall, the Poet Laureate, who is chosen by the Librarian of Congress,
opens the Library's literary season. Kooser, in his second term as Poet
Laureate, will open the 2005-06
season with a reading at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13, in the
Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the Library's James Madison Building,
101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open
to the public; reservations or tickets are not required.
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington first appointed Kooser to
the laureateship in 2004 and hailed him as "a major poetic voice
for rural and small-town America and the first Poet Laureate chosen
from the Great Plains." On Kooser's reappointment in 2005, Billington
said, "We are delighted that Ted Kooser has agreed to serve a second
year. His dedication and initiatives are already attracting new audiences
Born in Ames, Iowa, in 1939, Kooser earned a bachelor's degree at Iowa
State University in 1962 and a master's at the University of Nebraska
in 1968. He worked for years as an executive in the insurance industry.
Kooser teaches as a visiting professor in the English department of
the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
The poetry and literature reading series at the Library of Congress
is the oldest in the Washington, D.C., area, and among the oldest in
the United States. The Poetry and Literature Center administers the
series, sponsored since 1951 by a gift from Gertrude Clarke Whittall,
who wanted to bring the appreciation of good literature to a larger
audience. The center also is the home of the Poet Laureate Consultant
in Poetry, a position that has existed since 1936. For more information,
visit the Library's poetry Web