Ted Kooser
Ted Kooser
Photo courtesy of Charles W. Guildner, UNMC 1957
In 2005, Ted Kooser of Garland, Neb., was named as the first recipient of the University of Nebraska Presidential Professorship. Kooser, the former Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, is a professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is the author of a number of collections of poetry, including “Delights and Shadows,” for which he won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, and two non-fiction books. As Presidential Professor, Kooser serves as a university-wide and public scholar, visiting Nebraska communities and University of Nebraska campuses to lecture, participate in discussions, read poetry and otherwise participate in the life of the entire university and state. In Kooser’s case, the designation recognizes his extraordinary work in sharing his art and time with people across Nebraska and the United States.

Kooser has earned national recognition for his life’s artistic work and for making poetry more accessible to a wide range of readers while bringing extraordinarily positive attention to the university and the State of Nebraska. His weekly column, American Life in Poetry appears in newspapers across the United States.
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Milliken said he intends to name one outstanding faculty member as Presidential Professor each year. Upon completion of their year of service, Presidential Professors will retain the title throughout their careers at the university.

Kooser’s appointment will commence at the beginning of the fall semester. Support for the Presidential Professorship is made possible by private donations to the President’s Excellence Fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation.

In April 2005, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington appointed Kooser to serve a second term as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, during the same week that he received the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for his book, “Delights and Shadows” (2004). The author of ten collections of poetry, Kooser was born in Ames, Iowa, in 1939. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Iowa State University in 1962 and his master’s degree at the University of Nebraska in 1968.

Kooser’s other collections of poetry include “Sure Signs” (1980), which received the Society of Midland Authors Prize for the best book of poetry by a Midwestern writer published in that year; “One World at a Time” (1985); “Weather Central” (1994); and “Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison” (2000), winner of the 2001 Nebraska Book Award for Poetry. A book of his essays, “Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps” (2002), won the Nebraska Book Award for Nonfiction in 2003. The book was also chosen as the Best Book Written by a Midwestern Writer for 2002 by Friends of American Writers, and it won the Gold Award for Autobiography in ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards.

Kooser is also the author, with his longtime friend Jim Harrison, of “Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry” (2003), for which the two poets received the 2003 Award for Poetry from the Society of Midland Authors.

Among Kooser’s other awards and honors are two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Pushcart Prize, the Stanley Kunitz Prize, the James Boatwright Prize and a Merit Award from the Nebraska Arts Council.
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