October 4, 2004 Poet Laureate Ted Kooser to Read at the Library of Congress on Oct. 7
Newly Appointed Poet Laureate's First Reading
Press Contact: Bibi Martí, (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Poetry and Literature Center (202) 707-5394/5
Contact: Request ADA accommodations five days in advance at (202) 707-6362
Ted Kooser, 2004 Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, will open the Library's 2004-05 literary season with his debut reading as Poet Laureate at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, October 7, in the Montpelier Room, located on the sixth floor of the Library's James Madison Building. 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. Tickets are not required; this event is free and open to the public.
Kooser was appointed Poet Laureate by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington earlier this year. On choosing Kooser, 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." The Poet Laureate is appointed for a one-year term.
The author of ten collections of poetry, most recently "Delights & Shadows" (2004), Kooser 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'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 and third place in the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award in Nonfiction for 2002. The book was also chosen as the Best Book Written by a Midwestern Writer for 2002 by Friends of American Writers; it also 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).
Among Kooser's other awards and honors are two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Pushcart Prize, the Stanley Kunitz Prize, the James Boatwright Prize and a Merit Award from the Nebraska Arts Council. He is editor and publisher of Windflower Press, a small press specializing in contemporary poetry. Kooser teaches as a visiting professor in the English department of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.