Kooser talks poetry to MSU students

Apr 19th, 2009 | By | Category: Campus Events

Kristen Cypret


Pulitzer Prize winning poet Ted Kooser entertained a crowd of MSU students for an event sponsored by the English Department on April 17.

Kooser, also a two-time U.S. Poet Laureate and Stanley Kunitz Prize winner, read several of his most famous works, while also discussing his life and experiences, before a packed crowd in the Plaster Student Union Theater on Friday evening.

With a soft, but resonant voice, Kooser began with a humorous introduction of himself, in which he recalled the story of a young boy who noted Kooser’s resemblence to a hobbit in a picture from the newspaper, before turning to his poems.

His simplistic works have called forth a generation of memories and vivid images that almost any audience could relate to. Among the many poems he read, a few were “Tattoo,”Father,” “At the Cancer Clinic,” and “Site.”

The depth of his words captured many in the audience and few appeared disinterested. In the hour that he read, he spoke of death, life, the plains and about several people that influenced his own life in one way or another. He visited an era long forgotten by the fast paced world of today.

After the reading, his books Delights in Shadows, The Poetry Home Repair Manual, and Sure Signs were for sale and a book signing took place.

Prior to the reading, Kooser visited several MSU creative writing poetry classes and gave a question and answer session. For many students, the ending of the poem is the most difficult portion to complete, so one student asked him how he finishes his poems so well.

“My endings are not always deliberate,” he said. “The objective is to set it up, confine the reader, squeeze them in, before letting them go at the end.”

Kooser’s poetry is world-renowned for it’s deft and detailed imagery.

“I have always be known to be a descriptive poet,” he said, “and simplicity is key.”

Kooser mentioned throughout the question and answer session and the reading that he prefers not to write in the first person. He said he despised putting himself too much into his own work.

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