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Write like a Kooser

This week instead of practicing a form, we will try writing like another writer - specifically Ted Kooser.

Who the heck is Ted Kooser and why should we write like him? In a nutshell, he was poet laureate(U.S.), won the pulitzer prize in poetry, runs a great web site american life in poetry and is one of the most readable, likeable and well known poets around.

So what are we doing this week? This week we will spend part of the time writing to a ted kooser style prompt during the meetup and as always bring in some of our own or others poetry to share. So please look at some of ted's work on line and see if you have any pieces like his or write a new one this week and bring it in.

hope to see everyone there!

Here are some examples of Mr. Koosers work -

Please note the short verse, colloquial style and extended metaphors that just keep going -  


This is the pipe that pierces the dam
that holds back the universe,

that takes off some of the pressure,
keeping the weight of the unknown

from breaking through
and washing us all down the valley.

Because of this small tube,
through which a cold light rushes

from the bottom of time,
the depth of the stars stays always constant

and we are able to sleep, at least for now,
beneath the straining wall of darkness.

Ted KooserDelights and Shadows, p. 62


by Ted Kooser

The green shell of his backpack makes him lean
into wave after wave of responsibility,
and he swings his stiff arms and cupped hands,

paddling ahead. He has extended his neck
to its full length, and his chin, hard as a beak,
breaks the surf. He's got his baseball cap on

backward as up he crawls, out of the froth
of a hangover and onto the sand of the future,
and lumbers, heavy with hope, into the library.

"Student" by Ted Kooser from Delights & Shadows. © Copper Canyon Press, 2007. 

Join or login to comment.

  • William R.

    In the words of that famous Armenian poet, Teodor Katchakooserian, "her bonnet flopped on the floor like a duck in the last throes of life, while in the barn Grandma made butter ex nihilo, and we liked it that way."

    July 4, 2014

  • Jim

    It was a tough but worthy writing prompt as well as a meaningful discussion.

    July 2, 2014

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