Friday, February 4, 2011

An early Valentine

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
carefully outside
your front parlor,
I stand and wait,
construction paper heart in hand.
Here you are at last
—familiar neighbor—
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.


  1. "Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become." -C.S. Lewis

  2. Please keep that lovely red hair, Rhonda. Don't go blue!

    Why I write - I write because it makes me a better person in the world. I love words. I love writing. I love reading.

    I love how it feels when I read others' words that touch me deeply - I feel connected not only to that person but to the many others who are also touched. I love writing. Writing makes me whole; somehow through writing I become myself.

    Words - reading them, writing them makes me me. My daydream self has arms trying to hold as many words as possible, stuffing them into pockets, filling up odd containers, burying them in the garden. Words, words, wonderful words. Words in my voice, in your voice, in the voices of the ages may overlap but each voice is still unique.