About three months ago I visited my local Barnes & Noble (shhhh, I should have supported the independent Facts & Fiction)looking for something to read on a plane...I'd been immersed in a series of political history books about the Middle East and so I decided to try and find something a little lighter. I came across a book called Local wonders, Seasons in the Bohemian Alps by Ted Kooser and picked it up. I'd be telling a fib if I said who I knew who the author was at the time; it was the cover that attracted me. The cover has an old red truck with bright green grass growing up through it. The quote on the cover, by Jim Harrison says, "The quietest magnificent book I've ever read." and so I decided to bite.
Local Wonders is by Ted Kooser and is a marvelous piece of work about Kooser's homeland, Nebraska. It is the kind of book you want to tell your friends about and the kind of book you want to read aloud. In my own case, I do that sort of thing alot with just about everything I think has value, so sometimes I hold back for fear of wearing out my "hey, Johnny O says this is cool so it must be" allure.
Imagine my surprise when, this evening as I was shoveling part of the two cubic yards of soil piled neatly beside my house by the good folk's at Marchies Nursery, I heard over the jam box perched on my porch that the newest poet laureate of the United States was a longtime favorite poet of the State of Nebraska. I stood up, wiped the dirty sweat on my shirt and walked over to the radio...sure enough, the announcer said Ted Kooser had been named US Poet Laureate.
Kooser has a very interesting background and is a wonderful poet. I highly recommend picking up any of his works.