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Publisher's Comments: Two voices of the American landscape create a remarkable suite of lyrics. For years Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser exchanged letters and poems, then Kooser was diagnosed with cancer. "Ted's poetry became overwhelmingly vivid, " Harrison recalls. "Then we decided to correspond in short poems, because that was the essence of what we wanted to say to each other." Braided Creek contains more than 300 poems exchanged in this longstanding correspondence. Wise, wry, and penetrating, the poems touch upon numerous subjects, from the natural world to the nature of time. Harrison and Kooser decided to remain silent over who wrote which poem, allowing their voices, ideas, and images to swirl and merge into this remarkable suite of lyrics. Each time I go outside the world is different. This has happened all my life. The moon put her hand over my mouth and told me to shut up and watch. A nephew rubs the sore feet of his aunt, and the rope that lifts us all toward grace creaks on the pulley. Under the storyteller's hat are many heads, all troubled.
Braided Creek contains more than 300 poems exchanged in this longstanding correspondence. Wise, wry, and penetrating, the poems touch upon numerous subjects, from the natural world to the nature of time. Harrison and Kooser decided to remain silent over who wrote which poem, allowing their voices, ideas, and images to swirl and merge into this remarkable suite of lyrics.Each time I go outside the worldis different. This has happened all my life. *The moon put her handover my mouth and told meto shut up and watch.*A nephew rubs the sore feetof his aunt,and the rope that lifts us all toward gracecreaks on the pulley.*Under the storyteller's hatare many heads, all troubled.Jim Harrison, one of America's best-loved writers, is author of two dozen books of poetry, fiction, essays, food criticism, and memoir. He is best known for a collection of novellas, Legends of the Fall, and the epic novel Dalva. He lives in western Montana and southern Arizona.Ted Kooser is the author of eight collections of poetry and a prose memoir. His poetry appears regularly in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Poetry, and The Nation. He lives in Nebraska.
From the book: Ted Kooser, Poet Laureate of the United States, received the Pulitzer Prize for Delights & Shadows. He edits the weekly newspaper column "American Life in Poetry." Throughout a distinguished writing career, critics have praised his clarity and accessibility and, as The New York Times noted, Kooser has a "genius for making the ordinary sacramental." Praise for Delights & Shadows "Delights & Shadows is a book with a deep stillness at its center, perfectly self-contained, yet echoing like a country well." -The Los Angeles Times Book Review "That Kooser often sees things we do not would be delight enough, but more amazing is exactly what he sees. Nothing escapes him; everything is illuminated... Highly recommended." -Library Journal "Kooser is straightforward, possesses an American essence, is humble, gritty, ironic and has a gift for detail and a deceptive simplicity." -Seattle Post-Intelligencer "Kooser is not afraid to challenge us and himself. He brushes poems over ordinary objects, revealing metaphysical themes the way an investigator dusts for fingerprints." -The Philadelphia Inquirer "There is a sense of quiet amazement at the core of all Kooser's work." -The Washington Post
Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry"Kooser documents the dignities, habits and small griefs of daily life, our hunger for connection, our struggle to find balance."--Poetry"[Kooser] brushes poems over ordinary objects, revealing metaphysical themes that way an investigator dusts for fingerprints. His language is so controlled and convincing that one can't help but feel significant truths behind his lines." --The Philadelphia Inquirer"Delights & Shadows raises the voice of the poet above everything else. Each short, vivid poem on the page reads as if it were being spoken aloud. Details about cemeteries, dictionaries, a doctor's waiting room, and a jar of buttons bristle with sound and awareness. Kooser's ability to use brief lyrics to compose a music of discovery and regeneration makes his work radiant and consuming." --Bloomsbury ReviewTed Kooser is a master of metaphor, a poet who deftly connects disparate elements of the world and communicates with absolute precision. Critics call him a "haiku-like imagist" and his poems have been compared to Chekov's short stories. In Delights and Shadows, Kooser draws inspiration from the overlooked details of daily life. Quotidian objects like a pegboard, creamed corn and a forgotten salesman's trophy help reveal the remarkable in what before was a merely ordinary world.Ted Kooser is the author of eight collections of poems and a prose memoir. He lives on a small farm in rural Nebraska.
From the book: Ted Kooser describes with exquisite detail and humor the place he calls home in the rolling hills of southeastern Nebraska known as the Bohemian Alps. Nothing is too big or too small for his attention. Memories of his grandmother's cooking are juxtaposed with reflections about the oldfashioned outhouse on his property. In the end, what makes life meaningful for Kooser are the ways in which his neighbors care for one another and how an afternoon walking with an old dog, or baking a pie, or decorating the house for Christmas can summon memories of his Iowa childhood. This writer is a seer in the truest sense of the word, discovering the extraordinary within the ordinary, the deep beneath the shallow, the abiding wisdom in the pithy Bohemian proverbs that are woven into his essays.
One of the "Big Indie Books of Fall 2014"--Publishers Weekly "Ted Kooser must be the most accessible and enjoyable major poet in America. His lines are so clear and simple. "--Michael Dirda,The Washington Post "Readers [of Splitting an Order] will find 'characters' both strange and wonderful, animal or human. There is a sense that time is passing quickly and that everything worthy must be captured and savored, from an old couple lovingly sharing a sandwich to another sowing seed potatoes to a tribute to an old dog who waits as age and winter approach. . . Master of the single-metaphor poem, Kooser offers images that evolve, fluid and unforced. "--Library Journal, starred review "Wisdom, compassion, and dignity continue to mark the poetry of Ted Kooser. . . Splitting an Order [is] a quiet collection that honors small victories and gives reasons to be hopeful. "--Elizabeth Lund, The Christian Science Monitor "Kooser's ability to discover the smallest detail and render it remarkable is a rare gift. "--Bloomsbury Review Pulitzer Prize winner and best selling poet Ted Kooser calls attention to the intimacies of life through commonplace objects and occurrences: an elderly couple sharing a sandwich is a study in transcendent love, while a tattered packet of spinach seeds calls forth innate human potential. This long-awaited collection from the former U. S. Poet Laureate--ten years in the making--is rich with quiet and profound magnificence. From "Splitting an Order": I like to watch an old man cutting a sandwich in half . . . and then to see him lift half onto the extra plate that he asked the server to bring, and then to wait, offering the plate to his wife while she slowly unrolls her napkin and places her spoon, her knife and her fork in their proper places, then smoothes the starched white napkin over her knees and meets his eyes and holds out both old hands to him. Ted Kooser is the author of numerous books of poetry and prose, including Delights and Shadows (Copper Canyon Press), which won the Pulitzer Prize. A former US Poet Laureate, Kooser serves as editor for "American Life in Poetry," a nationally syndicated weekly newspaper column.