Selecting a Reader

First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it. She would be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having money enough for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses, and there
in the bookstore, she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back
up on its shelf. She will say to herself,
“For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned.” And she will.

~ Ted Kooser, “Selecting a Reader”, the opening poem in his new book: Kindest Regards: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, May 8, 2018)


  • Ted Kooser’s new collection went on sale at Amazon (only in Hardcover) this month for $28.69
  • Portrait of Ted Kooser via KUOW


  1. Nice and cute poem, David. Loved the simplicity in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. love it –

    Liked by 1 person

  3. freddiegeorgia says:

    Wicked good!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s all about perspective and not taking yourself too seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. For $28.69?

    It’ll be a while before anything can wipe the smile this put on my face. This better be good @ $28.69 ☺

    Liked by 2 people

    • Think about the thousands of hours that went into this work of art. $28.69. Less than pennies per hour.


      • It’s priceless. Without thinking of the hours. It’s as precious as the heart and soul it came from. I don’t know how one can put a price on that. My comment came from a place where for the past year and a half I haven’t been able to purchase my books. When I say I ordered a book I mean for my neighborhood library to get it for me from the bigger libraries.

        This poem was so beautiful and it reminded me of the dearest woman. When her husband gave her flowers, he loved flowers, she used to say, “Do you realize how many chickens the money you spent on the flowers can buy?”

        Or to clean a raincoat 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Humility…a virtue that’s often overlooked.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. montanalulu says:

    wow, i was just talking to a good friend of mine a coupla days ago about ted kooser……she was trying to remember the title of the book he did with jim harrison….
    kooser’s a gem! and so was harrison….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. montanalulu says:

    by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser

    Sometimes all it takes
    to be happy
    is a dime on the sidewalk.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. montanalulu says:

    How one old tire leans up against
    another, the breath gone out of both.

    Old friend,
    perhaps we work too hard
    at being remembered.

    Which way will the creek
    run when time ends?
    Don’t ask me until
    this wine bottle is empty.

    While my bowl is still half full,
    you can eat out of it too,
    and when it is empty,
    just bury it out in the flowers.

    All those years
    I had in my pocket.
    I spent them,

    Each clock tick falls
    like a raindrop,
    right through the floor
    as if it were nothing.

    In the morning light,
    the doorknob, cold with dew.

    The Pilot razor-point pen is my
    compass, watch, and soul chaser.
    Thousands of miles of black squiggles.

    Under the storyteller’s hat
    are many heads, all troubled.

    At dawn, a rabbit stretches tall
    to eat the red asparagus berries.

    The big fat garter snake
    emerged from the gas-stove burner
    where she had coiled around the pilot light
    for warmth on a cold night.

    Straining on the toilet
    we learn how
    the lightning bug feels.

    For sixty-three years I’ve ground myself
    within this karmic mortar. Yesterday I washed
    it out and put it high on the pantry shelf.

    All I want to be
    is a thousand blackberries
    bursting from a tree,
    seeding the sky.

    Republicans think that all over the world
    darker-skinned people are having more fun
    than they are. It’s largely true.

    Faucet dripping into a pan,
    dog lapping water,
    the same sweet music.

    The nuthatch is in business
    on the tree trunk,
    fortunes up and down.

    Oh what dew
    these mortals be.
    Dawn to dark.
    One long breath.

    The wit of the corpse
    is lost on the lid of the coffin.

    A book on the arm of my chair
    and the morning before me.

    from “Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry”, published in 2003 by Copper Canyon Press

    Friends and fellow poets Harrison and Kooser decided to have a correspondence entirely in short poems after Kooser was diagnosed with cancer and, Harrison says, “Ted’s poetry became overwhelmingly vivid.” The results of that decision are gathered in this book, and none of the two- to five-line writings is individually signed. Telling whose poem is whose is virtually impossible, and, not to gainsay Harrison, vividness, visual or tactile, takes second place to wit and wisdom in their colloquy.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thank you David, and Montanalulu! How wonderful to be with those with such a unique eye! and of course, thank you all poets!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thank you for introducing me to yet another wonderful poet, David. Dang, you are good!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love how he visualizes his readers, and that she is beautiful but a little rough around the edges….Real.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. So true. Authors do empathize with readers having to pay so much for books. He paints a very clear picture of that potential reader.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Don’t know about his poems but clearly love his face! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  15. o simple and beautiful poem.


  16. Won’t you like someone, not so beautiful but will say, new raincoat can wait?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: