Ted Kooser sent out valentines for many years to any woman who asked for one. I asked for one (I pleaded…) the last year he sent them and I still treasure the postcard mailed from Valentine, Iowa. Here are two websites featuring my main man. The first has a video of him reading, the second website discusses his valentines.
The year after he quit sending out valentines I emailed him this one. He was kind enough to reply with a thank you—he’s just that kind of courteous.
Valentine for Ted Kooser
Hanging my newly cleaned raincoat
your front parlor,
I stand and wait,
construction paper heart in hand.
Here you are at last
speaking of connection and kindness;
of hard work,
and love’s lonely offices.
This valentine is for you,
who sent out so many into a wintry world.
Several years ago I had a “come to Ted meeting” with the poet himself. He was speaking at a writer’s conference in Columbus, Ohio, and gave a Q&A on poetry. Graciousness itself, Mr. Kooser listened to all manner of self-promoting puffery from blue-haired ladies wanting to be discovered by this most non-flamboyant of the laureates. (And I speak with some respect for these ladies, as I now quickly enter their ranks.) I asked him why we should write, when it had all been said so eloquently before.
He gave a good answer, but I want to hear your thoughts before I pour out his wisdom second hand. Why should we write? Create? There’s a lot of hurting in the world today—how do our little efforts make a difference? Send me your answers, either here, on fb, or by email and I’ll put together a compilation.