On August 12, 2004, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington appointed Ted Kooser to be the 13th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. On making the appointment, Billington said:
Ted Kooser is a major poetic voice for rural and small town America and the first Poet Laureate chosen from the Great Plains. His verse reaches beyond his native region to touch on universal themes in accessible ways.
Among Kooser's other awards and honors are two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Pushcart Prize, the Stanley Kunitz Prize, the James Boatwright Prize and a Merit Award from the Nebraska Arts Council. He is a visiting professor in the English department of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
Ted Kooser served two terms as poet laureate, finishing his duties in spring 2006.