Magazine July 30, 2018, Issue

Poet of Plain Things

Ted Kooser (Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call/Getty Images)
Kindest Regards: New and Selected Poems, by Ted Kooser (Copper Canyon, 256 pp., $30)

Ted Kooser has said, “It’s very hard for me to imagine a God who has taken a personal interest in what one old man in rural Nebraska is doing or thinking, but it’s fun to imagine him being that kind of a spirit, walking among us, amused by our foibles, shaking his head at our stupidity.” Kooser’s poetry has done something similar: offered glimpses of our ordinary oddities, but with a caring sense. Uninterested in cynicism, Kooser has been sentimental without becoming saccharine. He is one of our best poets, and not simply because his style widens the reach of

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