Ted Kooser

Fish Fry Daughter | Sara Ries

Sara Ries is a poet from Buffalo, N.Y., whose parents run a diner. Here’s one of her delightful poems about family life for a short order cook.

 

Leaving the Hospital | Poem by Anya Silver

If you’ve been in a hospital, and got out alive, you’re really alive. In this poem, Anya Silver, who lives in Georgia, celebrates just such an escape.

 

Moment | Poem by Carol L. Gloor

Carol L. Gloor is an attorney living in Chicago and Savanna, Illinois. I especially like this poem of hers for its powerful ending, which fittingly uses the legal language of trusts and estates.

 

The New Dentist | Jaimee Kuperman

Jaimee Kuperman is a poet living and working in the Washington, D.C., area, and she shares with many of us the experience of preparing one’s self for a visit to the dentist. Do you, too, give your teeth an especially thorough brushing before entering that waiting room?

The New Dentist | Poem by Jaimee Kuperman

Jaimee Kuperman is a poet living and working in the Washington, D.C., area, and she shares with many of us the experience of preparing one’s self for a visit to the dentist. Do you, too, give your teeth an especially thorough brushing before entering that waiting room?

Rental Tux | Poem by Bill Trowbridge

Here’s an experience that I’d guess most of the men who read this column have had, getting into a rental tuxedo. Bill Trowbridge, a poet from Missouri, does a fine job of picturing that particular initiation rit

Sometimes, When the Light | Poem by Lisel Mueller

A wise friend told me that since the Age of Reason we’ve felt we had to explain everything, and that as a result we’ve forgotten the value of mystery. Here’s a poem by Lisel Mueller that celebrates mystery. Mueller is a Pulitzer Prize winning poet from Illinois.

The Art of Being | Poem by Anne Coray

Anne Coray is an Alaskan, and in this beautiful meditation on the stillness of nature she shows us how closely she’s studied something that others might simply step over.

After Disappointment | Poem by Mark Jarman

Here’s a moving poem about parenthood, about finding one’s self to be an adult but still trying to care for the child within. Mark Jarman teaches at Vanderbilt University.

Off A Side Road Near Staunton | Poem by Stanley Plumly

In many of those Japanese paintings with Mt. Fuji in the background, we find tiny figures moving along under the immensity of the landscape. Here’s an American version of a scene like that, by Stanley Plumly of Maryland, one of our country’s most accomplished poets.

Two Gates | Poem by Denise Low

The persons we are when we are young are probably buried somewhere within us when we’ve grown old. Denise Low, who was the Kansas poet laureate, takes a look at a younger version of herself in this telling poem.

The Cricket in the Sump | Poem by Catherine Tufariello

Here’s a fine poem about a cricket by Catherine Tufariello, who lives in Indiana. I especially admire the way in which she uses rhyme without it ever taking control of the poetry, the way rhyme can.

Believe This | Poem by Richard Levine

When we’re on all fours in a garden, planting or weeding, we’re as close to our ancient ancestors as we’re going to get. Here, while he works in the dirt, Richard Levine feels the sacred looking over his shoulder.

Bless Their Hearts | Poem by Richard Newman

My mother and her sisters were experts at using faint praise, and “Bless her heart” was a very useful tool for them. Richard Newman, of St. Louis, does a great job here of showing us how far that praise can be stretched.

Winter Sun | Poem by Molly Fisk

It seems to me that most poems are set in spring or summer, and I was pleased to discover this one by Molly Fisk, a Californian, set in cold midwinter.

Overtime | Poem by Jorge Evans

I love listening to shop talk, to overhear people talking about their work. Their speech is not only rich with the colorful names of tools and processes, but it’s also full of resignation.

Tonight | Poem by Ladan Osman

This week’s column is by Ladan Osman, who is originally from Somalia but who now lives in Chicago. I like “Tonight” for the way it looks with clear eyes at one of the rough edges of American life, then greets us with a hopeful wave.

I am | Poem by 8-year-old Ava Schicke

Here’s a poem in which 8-year-old Ava Schicke, who lives in Omaha, Nebraska, tells us just who she is and what she thinks.

Window Washer | Poem by Christopher Todd Matthews

I love poems that take pains to observe people at their tasks, and here’s a fine one by Christopher Todd Matthews, who lives in Virginia.

End of Market Day | Poem by Judith Harris

Our wars come home, sooner or later. Judith Harris lives in Washington, D.C., and in this poem gives us a veteran of Iraq back among the ordinary activities of American life.

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