Ted Kooser

poet laureate icon
1939 –
Poet Laureate of the United States, 2004–2006

Ted Kooser was born in Ames, Iowa, on April 25, 1939. He received his BA from Iowa State and his MA in English from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Kooser is the author of thirteen collections of poetry, including Raft (Copper Canyon Press, 2024); Kindest Regards: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2018); Splitting an Order (Copper Canyon Press, 2014); Delights & Shadows (Copper Canyon Press, 2004), which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005; Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2000), which won the 2001 Nebraska Book Award for Poetry; and Weather Central (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1994).

Kooser’s fiction and nonfiction books include The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets (University of Nebraska Press, 2007); Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry (Copper Canyon Press, 2003) written with fellow poet and longtime friend, Jim Harrison; and Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps (Bison Books, 2002), which won the Nebraska Book Award for Nonfiction in 2003.

Kooser’s honors and awards include two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in poetry, a Pushcart Prize, the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize, and a Merit Award from the Nebraska Arts Council. In the fall of 2004, Kooser was appointed the thirteenth United States poet laureate.

Kooser is an emeritus professor in the English department of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He lives in rural Nebraska.