“Selecting a Reader” by Ted Kooser
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
Selecting a Reader
First, I would have her be beautiful, and walking carefully up on my poetry at the loneliest moment of an afternoon, her hair still damp at the neck from washing it. She should be wearing a raincoat, an old one, dirty from not having money enough for the cleaners. She will take out her glasses, and there in the bookstore, she will thumb over my poems, then put the book back up on its shelf. She will say to herself, "For that kind of money, I can get my raincoat cleaned." And she will.
From Sure Signs, 1980
University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Copyright 1980 by Ted Kooser.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press from Sure Signs. Copyright 1980 by Ted Kooser. For further permissions information, contact Rights and Permissions Dept., University of Pittsburgh Press, Eureka Building/Fifth Floor, 3400 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15260 or www.pitt.edu/~press
About the Poet
Ted Kooser (1939- ) served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004 to 2006. He is the author of twelve poetry collections, including Splitting an Order (Copper Canyon Press, 2014).
Learn more about Ted Kooser at The Poetry Foundation.