Saturday, March 12, 2005

Taking It Right To Their Front Door

That is what Ted Kooser has in mind. Ted who? Ted Kooser, the new U.S. Poet Laureate.

Ted is intent on broadening interest in poetry. After all, that is his function as the Poet Laureate. How one accomplishes this feat is up to the individual Laureate.

The Kooser plan is to offer a free six to eight-inch column to local newspapers each week with a poem by a living American and a brief introduction written by himself. This idea catches my fancy since I am often hearing people talk about how. "poetry is dead... or at least all the poets are." Of course neither is true and more power To Ted Kooser if he can carve that misconception into little pieces and bury it.

Kooser's idea was the result of reading a prestigious literary journal in which he was unable to find a single poem he could use to show an average reader to demonstrate what he was missing. His assessment was that all the poems in the journal were geared for a "really sophisticated audience."

In spite of Koosers assention to the lofty position of Poet Laureate, he is not a household word. In fact he is not like most poets who have aspired to this position. Not a part of the northeast academia crowd, and his own poetry strives for the simplicity that mirrors his humble mid-west life. He rises every day at 4:30 and writes though he says that he probably produces only 10 to 12 poems a year that he considers worthy of publication.

If Ted Kooser is successful in his endeavor to broaden the interest in poetry in this country, it will likely be because he himself is more like the average American than perhaps most Poet Laureates in the past. Good Luck Ted Kooser!

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