On meeting Ted Kooser in a hotel lobby

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I knew he'd be in Appleton, and I saw him, from time to time—a thorough gentleman without an arrogant air in the hotel lobby where the writers were staying. It isn't my way to interfere, to barge in, to announce. It was right enough with me that this former poet laureate was somewhere near.

But then the morning of my last day in Wisconsin, the elevator doors slid open and he was exiting while I was entering and I couldn't help it, I said: "I read your poems to my mother in the final days of her life. It brought us both comfort." He could not have been kinder, but I wasn't surprised. The kindness is in Ted Kooser's poems.

... Across the ice she swooped
and then turned back and, halfway, bent her legs
and leapt into the air the way a crane leaps, blue gloves
lifting her lightly, and turned a snappy half-turn
there in the wind before coming down, arms wide,
skating backward right out of that moment, smiling
back at the woman she'd been just an instant before.

(from "Skater," by Ted Kooser, Delights & Shadows)


Priya said...

This is such a coincidence! Just today I picked up Delight and Shadows for the first time, after seeing it on Maya's night table for several weeks. I really enjoyed many of his poems.

Sherry said...

I love hearing about gifted moments such as these.

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