Sunday, January 20, 2008

One Man's Valentines

Friday night, braving the brisk wind and single digits, Monkey and I headed down to a local bookstore to hear a reading by former Poet Laureate, the famously diminutive Ted Kooser. He has recently published a slim volume of poems that he had composed as valentines and sent out over the years to a list of recipients that eventually grew, according to Mr. Kooser to over 2000 people (all but two of them women). The book, appropriately, is called Valentines, and it is illustrated by a friend of Kooser's who lives two doors down from the Monkey House. Yes, it is a small world.

I have been a fan of Kooser's for some time, and I have enjoyed reading and teaching his poems, and hearing his thoughts on poetry and such in his less poetic writings. So, it was an excellent opportunity to hear him read.

It was a short reading, about a half an hour, but, it was great nonetheless. To hear him talk about his poems, and to hear him read, was a treat (and how often do you find yourself eight feet from a former Poet Laureate?). Monkey and I also got a couple of books signed, but that was a bit perfunctory (there were many people waiting). Of course, I most likely would have held a rather poor conversation with him had I the opportunity, anyway. It would have gone something like this:

Me: "Uh.... Hi."
TK: Hello."
Me: "Um.... You know that one poem you wrote? About your grandmother? 'Dishwater?'"
TK: "Yes."
Me: "Yeah. Um...wasn't that great?"
(TED KOOSER walks away.)


La Fashionista said...

Poetry in motion

So much to love!



Jami said...

Missouri, or should I say Boy Blunt, just announced the states' first poet laureate, 59-year-old Walter Bargen of Ashland. Why did it take so long?