Delights & shadows : poems

by Ted Kooser

Paperback, 2004






Port Townsend, Wash. : Copper Canyon Press, c2004.


The author, a Poet Laureate of the United States, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, 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 these poems, the author 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.

User reviews

LibraryThing member JackieCraven
I always enjoyed Ted Kooser in snatches, heard on Writers Almanac and such. So, I plunged into this book with great expectations. But, quickly -- after just the first few poems -- I felt as though I had lingered too long in a Hallmark store, or worse yet, inside a painting by Thomas Kincade. Poem by poem, the final lines clock in predictably with some sentimental twist, and by the end of the book I had seen just enough of frail grandparents, peonies burning like birthday candles, decks salted by tears, lithe fluttering fingers... etc.

I say this while, at the same time, I would sell my soul for the gift of writing so well. The problem, I think, that poems like these aren't meant to be read in one greedy gulp. One a day is enough... sort of like a Gummy Bear vitamin.
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LibraryThing member snash
The poems are short, very accessible, thick with visual detail. Most involve an extended metaphor, many extremely clever, fun, and illuminating. If I were reading an anthology of 4 or 5 poets, Kooser's would most likely be my favorites. Reading a whole book of his poetry alone, however, the cleverness seemed to engender feeling of shallowness. There were definitely poems that did not deserve that assessment but the depth got lost in the cleverness.… (more)
LibraryThing member abbeyhar
More like 3.5. Enjoyed the personal poems about his family. Liked the others a whole lot too, individually, but after a while they all sort of seemed thematically the same.
LibraryThing member Crystalee
There's a reason why Ted Kooser was named the Poet Laureatte of the United States-- talent. His poems are moving, simple yet profound, and most importantly, accessible to such a wide range of readers. If you don't think you like poetry, you should read Kooser. Highly recomended first read.
LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
A little too simple, and I disagree with some of his imagery (he perfectly describes, without naming, a chickadee, but in a poem calling it the Early Bird, with the assumption that it draws the worms from the ground, which it doesn't, as that is the Robin.? Flying by Night was better.?á

Still, I'm glad I read it, if only for the anonymous quote taken from The Evening Post of May 31, 1865, that Kooser uses to introduce his Four Civil War Paintings by Winslow Homer:"?á '... if the painter shows that he observes more than he reflects, we will forget the limitation and take his work as we take nature, which, if it does not think, is yet the cause of thought in us."

I'm also prompted to check for myself if there really is "at least one pair [of praying hands] in every thrift shop in America..."

Well, ok, I also liked "Hall of Bones" in which is the observation that man is the only animal "in which throbbed a heart made sad by brooding on its shadow."

And "The Beaded Purse" in which a father, accepting his daughter's corpse after she ran away to the city to be an actress, puts a few bills in her empty purse "for her mother to find."?á So the mother would not think that the daughter failed miserably, and will feel just a bit of comfort that, maybe, the daughter was finding happiness in her adventure.

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LibraryThing member Beth.Clarke
Beautifully written prose. Kooser is a master of language.
LibraryThing member yellerreads
Poems about everyday life written by the United States Poet Laureate.
LibraryThing member dasam
A quietly brilliant collection.

Ted Kooser's Delights & Shadows is one of those rare volumes where I wish I had written nearly every poem within. With few exceptions, each poem has just the right imagery and just the right, quiet word to explode like a milkweed pod into a fertility of grace and meaning.… (more)
LibraryThing member librarymary09
Powerful poems.



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