Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ted Kooser visits Dowagiac, Michigan

I recently learned that Ted Kooser, former Poet Laureate of the United States, will visit the The Dogwood Festival in Dowagiac, Michigan on May 11th, 2007. The event will take place at 7:30 pm, leaving plenty of time to take in a late dinner and/or drinks at the Wood Fire trattoria in downtown Dowagiac.

Kooser joins an impressive list of past lecturers at the festival, including the likes of Michael Cunningham, Margarat Atwood, Russel Banks, Tim O'Brien, Amy Tan, Norman Mailer, and Kurt Vonnegut.

I heard Kooser read from his work a few years ago and was impressed both by the spare beauty of his work and his low-key, dignified reading style. You will have plenty of time to read some of his poems before the event. I most most familiar with Delights and Shadows and can recommend it.

Tickets are required and cost between $20 and $60. For more information visit The Dogwood Festival website at

Here is one of my favorite poems by Kooser:


What once was meant to be a statement—
a dripping dagger held in the fist
of a shuddering heart—is now just a bruise
on a bony old shoulder, the spot
where vanity once punched him hard
and the ache lingered on. He looks like
someone you had to reckon with,
strong as a stallion, fast and ornery,
but on this chilly morning, as he walks
between the tables at a yard sale
with the sleeves of his tight black T-shirt
rolled up to show us who he was,
he is only another old man, picking up
broken tools and putting them back,
his heart gone soft and blue with stories.

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