Friday, December 5, 2008

Poetry Friday: Selecting a Reader

I found this beautiful poem at Poetry 180. It's by former U.S. Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser. Then I found a picture of him. 

Poet incognito, that's what I'd say. 
Not flashy.
Not pretentious.
He might even be nice

But I don't really know. I only know him through his words. Isn't that the most intimate and strange thing? He selects a reader; a reader selects a poem. Or not.

They need not ever meet or have a thing in common. Poetry is their mutual dance card. And if I understand this poem, sometimes he writes for those who don't want to dance with him at all. 

Selecting a Reader
by Ted Kooser

First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it. She should be wearing

the rest here

The roundup is here


  1. "He might even be nice." Ah, to live so long that someone might say that of me.

    Seriously, thanks for this one.

  2. This poem made my day, Sara. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  3. Sara,

    I really like this poem too--and the rest of Kosser's work. Thanks for sharing it today

  4. I've read this poem before and I love it and I really love the Poetry 180 site and also thinking of poetry as a dance card...

  5. Oh, wow, poetry as a dance card. What a lovely turn of phrase.

    He does look so... humbly sweet, doesn't he? Is that just age? Should we all get old, so we can be nice?

  6. Oh thank you! I have read one of his anthologies before, and I was wow'ed. But I'd never seen that.

  7. LOL that poem makes me laugh. I think I'm that woman, who would read poetry books in the bookstore but save the money for cleaning an old coat.

    You chose a very tempting point to make the break in your quote, BTW. Nice touch.

  8. Talk about your teaser-y breaking points . . .

    I've read this one before, and laughed then, too. I think he's marvelous.

  9. Love Kooser's poetry! And I've met him!!!! He was signing at NCTE last year or the year before. He IS nice! Very ordinary.

    Now that I have autographs of TWO poet laureates (also Billy Collins), it's almost a collection!

  10. Kooser is a favorite. The whole unpretentious approach is very appealing. I'd wear a dirty raincoat forever to read his poetry :)!


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