The Wheeling Year: A Poet's Field Book

The Wheeling Year: A Poet's Field Book

The Wheeling Year: A Poet's Field Book

The Wheeling Year: A Poet's Field Book


Ted Kooser sees a writer's workbooks as the stepping-stones on which a poet makes his way across the stream of experience toward a poem. Because those wobbly stones are only inches above the quotidian rush, what's jotted there has an immediacy that is intimate and close to life.

Kooser, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a former U.S. poet laureate, has filled scores of workbooks. The Wheeling Year offers a sequence of contemplative prose observations about nature, place, and time arranged according to the calendar year.

Written by one of America's most beloved poets, this book is published in the year in which Kooser turns seventy-five, with sixty years of workbooks stretching behind him.


I’ve always been covetous of my friend Keith Jacobshagen’s journals. Keith is a fine landscape painter, and for more than thirty years he’s been filling hardbound orange engineer’s field books with drawings, watercolor sketches, and observations. I know from years of experience that keeping a journal is like taking good care of one’s heart. Keith’s journals are good medicine. They’re beautiful, they’re priceless, and I hope that some museum eventually has the good sense to acquire the entire collection. Young artists, young musicians, young writers, and museumgoers both young and old would find them inspirations, just as I have.

But instead of being jealous of the record that Keith’s made of his life, I’ve put together my own little field book, in which I’ve included sketches and landscape studies made out of words, and thrown in a few observations about life. Keeping the original for myself, of course, I now offer a copy to you.

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