The Life and Poetry of Ted Kooser

By Mary K. Stillwell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIXTEEN
Common Ground

What writers on the Great Plains share is the Great Plains.

—Interview with Ted Kooser, in Mark Sanders
and J. V. Brummels, On Common Ground

As Kooser looked for new topics and other signs, his insurance career advanced steadily at Lincoln Benefit Life; in 1981 he was appointed second vice president, new business. The compilation and publication of The Windflower Home Almanac of Poetry, a 141-page anthology edited by Kooser, was one of his largest press projects, bringing together 180 poems from a variety of writers, well known and unknown. Favorite Nebraska poets—Roy Scheele, Shirley Buettner, Mordecai Marcus, Don Welch, and William Kloefkorn—rub shoulders with Plains neighbors, Thomas McGrath, Linda Hogan, Mark Vinz, Linda Hasselstrom, and William Stafford, as well as with those from afar, Theodore Weiss, Marge Piercy, Carole Oles, and Henry Taylor. Long infatuated by the eclectic nature of home almanacs, Kooser set out to collect poems that described the human seasons within the context of nature’s larger seasonal display.

Almanacs have long been popular in North America. The Book of the Seasons, published in 1881 by William Hewitt, was, according to Laurence Buell, one of the first books on nature that Thoreau

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