American Life in Poetry: Column 148

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

I’ve written about the pleasures of poetry that offers us vivid scenes but which lets us draw our own conclusions about the implications of what we’re being shown. The poet can steer us a little by the selection of details, but a lot of the effect of the poem […]

American Life in Poetry: Column 147

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

Our earliest recollections are often imprinted in our memories because they were associated with some kind of stress. Here, in an untitled poem, the Nebraska State Poet, William Kloefkorn, brings back a difficult moment from many years before, and makes a late confession:

I stand alone at the footOf my […]

American Life in Poetry: Column 146

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a new name for “shell shock,” a term once applied only to military veterans. Here the poet Marvin Bell describes a group of these emotionally damaged soldiers, gathered together for breakfast. I’d guess that just about everybody who reads this column has known one or […]

Poetry Catchup #1

Shame on me!American Life in Poetry: Column 141

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

Life becomes more complicated every day, and each of us can control only so much of what happens. As for the rest? Poet Thomas R. Smith of Wisconsin offers some practical advice.

Trust

It’s like so many other things in lifeto which you must […]

Poetry Catchup #2

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American Life in Poetry: Column 145

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

If one believes television commercials, insomnia, that thief of sleep, torments humans in ever-increasing numbers. Rynn Williams, a poet working in Brooklyn, New York, tries here to identify its causes and find a suitable remedy.

Insomnia

I […]