Skip to main content

Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate: A Resource Guide

About Ted Kooser at the Library of Congress

Ted Kooser served as the U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. The links below provide more information about Kooser's activities at the Library, including webcasts, blog posts, and related news releases.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of Ted Kooser as the 13th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry on August 12th, 2004. Kooser took up his duties on October 7th, 2004, opening the Library's annual literary series with a reading of his work. He also appeared on October 9 of that year at the Library of Congress National Book Festival poetry pavilion:

In 2004, Ted Kooser launched his Poet Laureate project, "American Life in Poetry," External a weekly newspaper column with the goal to create a space and a presence for poetry in American culture. "American Life in Poetry" provided newspapers and online periodicals with a free weekly column by Kooser that featured a poem from a contemporary American poet. The column was featured in over 70 newspapers across the United States. As Kooser explained the project,

Scarcely a day passes when we don’t get a note or an e-mail from somebody saying that for years they’ve felt excluded from poetry, but now they’ve begun to feel that they’re being welcomed back. And the fact that newspapers can use it for free has made it very attractive to editors.

Ted Kooser was appointed to a second term on April 7, 2005, and opened the Library's season with a reading in the Mumford room on October 13:

On March 9th, 2005 Ted Kooser held a discussion between himself and singer-songwriter John Prine, on the differences and similarities between poetry and lyrics. Watch a recording of that event below:

Ted Kooser served two terms as poet laureate, finishing his duties in spring 2006.

Ted Kooser has been featured on the Poetry and Literature Center's blog, From the Catbird Seat. Those blog posts are linked below:


The Library of Congress features several recordings of Ted Kooser reading and discussing his poetry and the poetry of other poets. These are listed below.