Ames native Ted Kooser — the current U.S. poet laureate — has won a Pulitzer Prize for his recent book, “Delights and Shadows.” Kooser said he learned of it from reporters asking his reaction. His winning volume of verse is a poem about his father preparing for a day’s work, titled “The Necktie.” Kooser says though many of his poems are as short as that one, they don’t come quickly. Kooser says “I spend hours and hours with revisions,” saying he might revise one like that 30 or 40 times before he’s satisfied with it. Nobody’s a millionaire after winning the Pulitzer and the Ames native who teaches at the University of Nebraska wasn’t certain what he’d won with the award. He was told — by a reporter — that there’s a ten-thousand-dollar prize, but Kooser says “The money is nice but the honor is the big thing.” Kooser says there are hundreds of very good poets in the country and lots of good books coming out every year. He jests that he’ll “really have to start lookin’ over my shoulder now.” In addition to journalism awards for entries like the best breaking news, explanatory story, national coverage and commentary, there are Pulitzer categories for literature including history, fiction, autobiography and poetry. Kooser’s “Delights and Shadows” is his tenth collection of poetry. Winners of the Pulitzer will be awarded their gold medals and checks at a simple luncheon next month at Columbia University in New York.
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