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An evening of poetry and conversation with Ted Kooser and Terrance Hayes

U.S. Poet Laureate and National Book Award winner share their poetic wealth at Grand Valley State University
Underwriting support from:
Ted Kooser

Ted Kooser /Library of Congress

Terrance Hayes

Terrance Hayes /Pittsburgh Urban Media

Two of the nation's most esteemed poets will be featured as part of Grand Valley University's Fall Arts Celebration this Friday at 7:00, in the Eberhard Center on GVSU's Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate from 2004-2006, and Terrance Hayes, winner of the 2010 National Book Award in Poetry, will read from and discuss their work at this free event, followed by a reception and book signing. 

Kooser has published a dozen books of poetry dating back to the late 1960's, achieving critical acclaim from fellow poets along the way.

Dana Goia said Kooser "has written more perfect poems than any poet of his generation."

Librarian of Congress James Billington remarked, "Ted Kooser is a major voice for rural and small town America and the first Poet Laureate chosen from the Great Plains. His verse reaches beyond his region to touch on universal themes in accessible ways."

An excerpt from Kooser's meditation on inner and outer change of seasons, 'Letter in October' illuminates that approach:


...I woke,

and at the waiting window found

the curtains open to my face;

beyond me darkness. And I,

who only wished to keep looking out,

must now keep looking in.


Terrance Hayes represents a younger, up-and-coming American talent. A professor of creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University, he has won recognition ranging from the Pushcart Prize to a Guggenheim Fellowship. Lighthead, his breakthrough fourth book of poetry, showcases an innovative and edgy voice able to pull the reader through sharp turns on its narrative journey. An excerpt from "Lighthead's Guide to the Galaxy," one piece in that collection:


 ...I am carrying the whimper

you can hear when the mouth is collapsed, the wisdom

of monkeys. Ask a glass of water why it pities

the rain. Ask the lunatic dog why it tolerates the leash.

Brothers and sisters, when you spend your nights

out on a limb, there's a chance you'll fall in your sleep.


Grand Valley State University's Department of Writing sponsors Poetry Night, which in previous years has featured poets Carolyn Forche, Bob Hicock, Patricia Smith, and Gary Synder.

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