Monday, April 25, 2011

Cruelest Month

It's Blue Monday in the blog, and "cruelest month" is the poem-a-day prompt.  Rain has resumed, and we are in the last stretch of April, National Poetry Month. And it's Ted Kooser's birthday, one of our Poet Laureates of the United States.

I have three of Kooser's books, two inherited from Griff, a family friend who collected books and movies, his tiny apartment an overflowing library.  Local Wonders, a sort of memoir on place, contains Griff's little yellow post-it notes and more elaborate notes on yellow lined paper, and Flying at Night has his characteristic pencil checkmarks and loopy marginalia beside the poems. Delights & Shadows is clean, and my own.

Today's Writer's Almanac quotes Kooser from an interview in Guernica Magazine, saying, about his "success"--I guess the success of being named Poet Laureate--"The image is this feeling like one of those telephone poles...on which a lot of notices have been stapled and then torn away, and they leave little triangles of paper, held by staples. On those notices were things lost and things found and the photos of people missing, and now even the photos are missing as a metaphor for what happens in life. All this experience is tacked upon us and then torn away, and we become a residue of this experience."

Competing in my head at this moment, the wry and cheerful "Sadder but Wiser" song from The Music Man, sung by Robert Preston, and "Genius Next Door," sung by Regina Spektor.

And this very short poem by Kooser, from Delights & Shadows


All night, this soft rain from the distant past.

No wonder I sometimes waken as a child.


ted tingley said...

I liked Kooser's quote about his success. Thanks Kathleen.

Kathleen said...

Ted, I think you would like his poems, too!

Nancy Devine said...

kooser's book, "The Poetry Repair Manual," is one of my favorites. it is full of such clarity.

Kathleen said...

That's one I don't have, Nancy, but I'm pretty sure I can borrow it from my mom!

Collagemama said...

Kooser is a local hero and a local wonder. In a clearer year, my dad enjoyed "Delights and Shadows" and mailed me Kooser's contributions to the Lincoln Journal & Star. Somehow I'd forgotten Dad and I share our birthday with Kooser. Excuse me, I have to go move an outhouse.

Kathleen said...

Happy Birthday, dear! That is the most interesting celebration I've heard of yet!

nene said...

I guess I share a birthday with some pretty good company

Kathleen said...

Happy Birthday, Nene!