There are mornings when everything brims with promise, even my empty cup.

โ€” Ted Kooser

The most perspective Ted Kooser quotes that will activate your desire to change

Sometimes you sense how faithfully your life is delivered, even though you can't read the address.

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The poem is the device through which the ordinary world is seen in a new way - engaging, compelling, even beautiful.

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Just as a dancer, turning and turning, may fill the dusty light with the soft swirl of her flying skirts, our weeping willow -- now old and broken , creaking in the breeze -- turns slowly, slowly in the winter sun, sweeping the rusty roof of the barn with the pale blue lacework of her shadow.

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Turtle has just one plan at a time, and every cell buys into it.

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When she left me I stood out in the thunderstorm, hoping to be destroyed by lightning. It missed, first left, then right.

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Keeping a journal is like taking good care of oneโ€™s heart.

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It may very well be that people in San Francisco don't think we have any culture in Nebraska, but we have a different culture, and it's a very deep culture. We have these Czech immigrants, who are making this marvelous ethnic food and their Catholic lives and it's very fascinating stuff.

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I like the idea of there being times when even words cost so much you used them sparingly. I have known a lot of old men and women who talked as if they were paying Western Union by the word.

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I farm a little plot of things to say, with not much frontage on the busy road.

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There's always been what I would call the William Carlos Williams strain, in which poems of simplicity and clarity are valued by a different community. I was talking to Galway Kinnell one day, and he said that there was an audience for poetry up until about 1920 and then, from that point on, the poets and the critics drifted.

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My colleagues knew I was writing poems.

I never hid it from them. I don't think they ever thought I was cheating on them. So, I think they probably saw it as being rather peculiar, that I was doing that sort of thing, but nobody ever suggested I shouldn't be doing it. I think that would be different on Madison Avenue or Wall Street, where you're really expected to be doing 110 percent for the company.

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When I was a kid, I suppose I got more praise for being able to draw things and paint things than I did for my little amateur poems I was writing. But the thing that I'm trying to do with my painting is that I'm trying to keep it in the realm of pleasure. I don't show my work, I don't try to sell it.

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About Ted Kooser

Quotes 32 sayings
Profession Poet
Birthday April 25, 1939

Mike Forsberg's images give us bright openings onto a world.

. . . Here on the Great Plains both people and trees and everything else are in some way shaped by wind and weather. This book, too, has been shaped by where it comes from, and that's just a part of its beauty.

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Valentine's Day is the poet's holiday.

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If you look at the Directory of American Poets and Writers, you know there are hundreds of poets in New York City. So therefore, just by specific gravity, it seems like a more significant place. Robert Wrigley is a poet who lives in rural Idaho - I think it's really back-country Idaho - and he writes beautiful poems.

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If I don't take the risk, I'll wind up with a bloodless poem. I have to be out there on the edge.

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One movement that I find interesting - this is not a movement in poetry necessarily, but there's a movement on a lot of campuses now called eco - criticism. It's a body of theory based on how nature is treated in literary works. That sort of interests me.

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There's nothing wrong with delighting in what you do.

In fact, most of the fun you'll have as a poet will come about during the process of writing.

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Somebody comes to my house and admires what I've done, sometimes I just give it to them. Because I don't want to get it all tied up in all that professional stuff because I have to do that as a writer. I don't need that. I need something like painting, where I can just play.

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Wallace Stevens had more time to write as an insurance agent.

He was a bond lawyer and I know that insurance company lawyers don't have to do nearly as much as we had to do. We were out more in the production area. I'm not condemning Stevens for having had a better job than I did, but that's one of the many places where I differ from him.

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A poem is a record of a discovery.

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For a while the creative writing community sort of sprung out of places like Iowa and Syracuse. The graduates sort of went out, and they would found creative writing departments in the little colleges where they went, and then some of those would found other ones. I mean every college has got a creative writing department, so where are the jobs coming from? There are not any jobs out there.

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I've written some poems that are in the middle ground - who are in between very challenging and abundantly clear, but there's a tremendous investment in the challenging poem, and it's been going on so long that the whole infrastructure supporting it, a lot of critics and theorists and so on are deeply invested in maintaining that status.

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Every poet gets to choose what kind of community he or she serves with the poems, and it's true that there is a community for very difficult, challenging poetry. It's a community that's established itself over the last 80 years, that was originally, in effect, really started by T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. They believed that poetry ought to contain learning, that it ought to rise upon all the learning that went before.

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Now the seasons are closing their files on each of us, the heavy drawers full of certificates rolling back into the tree trunks, a few old papers flocking away. Someone we loved has fallen from our thoughts, making a little, glittering splash like a bicycle pushed by a breeze. Otherwise, not much has happened; we fell in love again, finding that one red feather on the wind.

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All night, this soft rain from The distant past. No wonder I sometimes Waken as a child.

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a happy birthday this evening, I sat by an open window and read till the light was gone and the book was no more than a part of the darkness. I could easily have switched on a lamp, but I wanted to ride the day down into night, to sit alone, and smooth the unreadable page with the pale gray ghost of my hand

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This evening, I sat by an open window and read till the light was gone and the book was no more than a part of the darkness.

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In my work, I really try to look at ordinary things quite closely to see if there isn't a little bit of something special about them. I'm trying to make something as nearly perfect as I can out of words.

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I try to be realistic with students. And say that there's a good chance that they're not going to get a creative writing teaching job, that there aren't enough jobs to go around and the university faculties are cutting back on staff and that they may have to get some other kind of work. None of them wants to hear that, but it is true and I think I'm a good example for them of somebody who took the other route.

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If you can find two poems in a book, it could be a pretty good book for you.

You know, two poems you really like. There are some poets who are fairly big names in contemporary poetry and who write a book and I might like three or four poems in the book, but the rest of them don't appeal to me personally; but I think that's the way it really ought to be. I think it's really a rare thing to like everything that somebody has written.

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