April 22, 2005 Poet Laureate Ted Kooser Closes Literary Season with Lecture on May 5

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Jennifer Rutland (202) 707-5394/5

Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Laureate Ted Kooser will close the 2004-2005 literary season with a lecture titled “Out of the Ordinary” at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 5, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the Library’s Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

Kooser, who will return to the Library of Congress as the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for the 2005-2006 literary season, said, “This past year, I have immensely enjoyed connecting with people all over the country and talking to them about reading and writing poetry.” His lecture will be based upon his experiences thus far as Poet Laureate.

On April 4, Kooser received the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his book “Delights & Shadows” (Copper Canyon, 2004).

When Librarian of Congress James H. Billington recently appointed Kooser to a second term, he said, “Ted’s dedication and initiatives are already attracting new audiences to poetry.”

During his first term as Poet Laureate, Kooser, with the support of the Poetry Foundation, inaugurated the program “American Life in Poetry,” www.americanlifeinpoetry.org, which offers a free weekly column to local newspapers around the country. It features a brief poem by a living American and a sentence or two of introduction by Kooser. This initiative offers the chance for poets to reach tens of thousands of readers.

Kooser’s most recent book is “The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets” (University of Nebraska Press, 2005). He is the author, with his longtime friend Jim Harrison, of “Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry” (2003). He also wrote a book of essays, published in 2002, “Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps,” which 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. “Local Wonders” also won the award for 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’s other poetry collections 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.

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.

Among Kooser’s additional 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. He teaches as a visiting professor in the English department of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.


PR 05-103
ISSN 0731-3527