For Iowans who are still pondering what to get their sweetheart on this Valentine’s Day, consider putting a pen to paper and stringing together some thoughts in a poem about your loved one. Iowa native and former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser says everyone should give poetry a shot.
"I think even a badly written poem would be a nice thing for a wife to receive," Kooser says, "what is a box of chocolates, you know? It’s like ten bucks at the grocery store in the checkout lane. It means nothing at all. The classic things, flowers and candy and stuff, okay, but even a hand-written note just on a scrap of paper would mean a great deal to somebody."
Even if you’re not a great writer, he says the gesture is nice. Kooser explains from where you should pull inspiration for a poem. Kooser says: "The important thing with poetry is trying to tell the truth. Not to invent something. Just simply say, ‘I like the way you do this,’ or ‘Thank you for this.’"
Kooser was born in Ames and got his B.A. from Iowa State University in 1962. He now lives in Garland, Nebraska, and was U.S. Poet Laureate from 2004 to ’06. He’s a professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has written eleven full-length collections of poetry.