Denise Low: “Two Gates”

American Life in Poetry: Column 350 BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006 The persons we are when we are young are probably buried somewhere within us when we’ve grown old. Denise Low, who was the Kansas poet laureate, takes a look at a younger version of herself in this telling poem. Two Gates I […]

Don Thompson: “October”

American Life in Poetry: Column 341 BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006 Here’s a poem of mixed feelings by Don Thompson to help us launch October. Thompson lives in Buttonwillow, California, which sounds like the name of a town in a children’s story, don’t you think? October I used to think the land had […]

Joe Paddock: “One’s Ship Comes In”

American Life in Poetry: Column 323 BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006 Joe Paddock is a Minnesota poet and he and I are, as we say in the Midwest, “of an age.” Here is a fine poem about arriving at a stage when there can be great joy in accepting life as it comes […]

Joyce Sutphen: “The Aunts”

American Life in Poetry: Column 309 BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006 I love poems that celebrate families, and here’s a fine one by Joyce Sutphen of Minnesota, a poet who has written dozens of poems I’d like to publish in this column if there only were weeks enough for all of them. The […]

Connie Wanek: “Mysterious Neighbors”

American Life in Poetry: Column 308 BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006 Connie Wanek is one of my favorite poets. She lives in Duluth and has a keen eye for what goes on around her. Here’s a locked and loaded scene from rural America. Mysterious Neighbors Country people rise early as their distant lights […]

Lois Beebe Hayna: “Brief Eden”

American Life in Poetry: Column 307 BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006 I like this poem by 97-year-old Lois Beebe Hayna of Colorado for the way it captures restrained speech. The speaker spends most of her words in describing a season, but behind the changes of spring another significant change is suggested. Brief Eden […]

Nathaniel Perry: “Remaking a Neglected Orchard”

American Life in Poetry: Column 306 BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006 My grandmother Moser made wonderful cherry pies from fruit from a tree just across the road from her house, and I have loved fruit trees ever since. A cherry tree is all about giving. Here’s a poem by Nathaniel Perry, who lives […]

Bruce Guernsey: “For My Wife Cutting My Hair”

American Life in Poetry: Column 303 BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006 There’s something wonderfully sweet about a wife cutting a husband’s hair, and Bruce Guernsey, who lives in Illinois and Maine, captures it beautifully in this poem. For My Wife Cutting My Hair You move around me expertly like the good, round Italian […]

Molly Fisk: “Hunter’s Moon”

American Life in Poetry: Column 300 BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006 This is our 300th column, and we thank you for continuing to support us. I realized a while back that there have been over 850 moons that have gone through their phases since I arrived on the earth, and I haven’t taken […]

Julia Kasdorf: What I Learned From My Mother

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