The Life and Poetry of Ted Kooser

By Mary K. Stillwell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOURTEEN
“Walking Home to You”

Just so are you and I gathered at 5:00,
your bicycle left by the porch, the wind
still ringing in it, and my shoes by the bed,
still warm from walking home to you.

—From “Five P.M.”

As “Year’s End” predicted, love was on the horizon, although as 1976 opened, it was not clearly in sight. Literary successes, however, continued. Kooser won the Prairie Schooner Prize in poetry; then in June he was notified by the National Endowment for the Arts that he was one of 165 writers across the United States to be awarded a 1976–1977 NEA creative writing fellowship of $6,000.

Following the publication of Not Coming to Be Barked At, Kooser closed on a house at 1447 Washington Street. Built in the early 1900S, the two-story white frame home was in need of restoration. Journal entries of this time are filled with reports of fumigation and renovation, beginning with the first floor so that he could at least move in while he finished repairing and repainting. On August 23, three and a half weeks after purchase, the poet looked forward to moving in the next day.

In early November Kooser, on his way to a dinner party, noticed

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