Kooser: Poet Laureate
by Johnathan Skidmore
Ted Kooser is coming to visit Burlington on Saturday, January
21, the editors at The Printing Press decided that it would be
worthwhile to examine this poet in a little more detail for
those of you who are not very familiar with him or his work. Ted
Kooser is currently the Poet Laureate of the United States.
Originally elected in 2004, Kooser is currently serving his
second term as Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate, in the United
States, is officially appointed by the Library of Congress as a
result of their literary abilities. Their duties include things
such as composing poetry for state occasions, writing government
sponsored inscriptions, and other government endeavors. Becoming
a poet laureate is a great honor that Kooser shares with such
literary giants as Geofry Chaucer, John Skelton, Tennyson, and
yes, even Wordsworth.
Kooser's receipt of the
title is not to be taken lightly, however, as the list of his
other accomplishments is quite lengthy. Kooser has received two
National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Pushcart Prize,
the Stanley Kunitz Prize, the James Boatwright Prize, a Merit
Award from the Nebraska Arts Council, and he is also the
co-winner of the 2003 Award for Poetry from the Society of
Born in Ames, Iowa, in
1939, Kooser was granted his bachelor's degree from Iowa State
University in 1962. Kooser then moved to Nebraska where he
earned his master's degree at the University of Nebraska in
1968. As a poet, Kooser has written ten collections of poetry
for which he has received several awards. Sure Signs, a
collection written in 1980, received the Society of Midland
Authors Prize for the best book of poetry by a midwestern
writer; Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim
Harrison, written in 2000, won the 2001 Nebraska Book Award for
Poetry; and Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps, a book
of essays written in 2002, was awarded 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 Magazines Book of the Year Awards.
Aside from his poetic and
literary exploits, Kooser has led an interesting life. After
graduating from his master's program, Kooser became a
businessman, rising to become the vice president of the Lincoln
Benefit Life insurance company in Nebraska. Kooser has since
then retired from this position and is now a visiting professor
of English at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
Here is a selection of
some of Kooser's poetry for which he has received much applause:
"Flying at Night"
Above us, stars. Beneath
Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
back into the little system of his care.
All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,
tug with bright streets at lonely lights like his.
"Selecting a Reader"
First, I would have her
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 should 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.
Poems courtesy of
The Importance of
the Senior Portfolio
by Jamie Jasmer
In preparation for this article I had been
thinking about the survey question that the Printing Press would
be asking its readers: “What is your academic New Year’s
resolution?” In my mind I had made a prediction as to how I
felt most people would respond: better attention to detail,
strive for better grades, and the infamous time management issue
that all college students seem to have, eliminate
procrastination. Almost everyone who is or has been a student,
aside from a select few, has made themselves intimately known
with that grand beast. Yet, no matter how horrible the
consequences that may result from our responsibility flaw, most
of us never learn the lesson and we keep walking hand in hand
with this monster. We have all heard the horror stories of what
procrastination can lead to such as missed deadlines, major
points taken off of a paper, and the dreaded complete re-write.
Instead of giving you another story about the possible events
that can occur, I thought I would take the time to help you
prepare for an English major requirement that will be easy to
procrastinate on, but one that you really should not put off
until the last minute – The Senior Portfolio.
declare that you are English major, you will begin to hear about
the Senior portfolio that will eventually be due early in the
semester when you take Senior Seminar. The requirements of the
portfolio itself are highlighted in great detail on the
English department website; however, I thought I would offer
a condensed version of what it entails. The portfolio itself
is a compilation of works that you have produced throughout your
college career and especially those concerning your experience
as English major. The portfolio should reflect what you
consider to be your best and most complete work, while also
showing the progression that you have made as a student at
Monmouth College. Another major requirement of the portfolio is
the inclusion of the Education-In-Progress Reports (EIP). These
reports are annual, self-written evaluations of your performance
as an English student for the previous academic year and a
forecasting of goals that you would like to achieve in the next
academic year. The EIPs for each academic year have different
requirements that are listed on the portfolio website so pay
careful attention to that detail. This completion and work of
this project starts the moment you enter Monmouth College. Save
all of your graded work so that it can be included in your
portfolio because the portfolios are reviewed by your advisor
every spring. The contents of the portfolios should be placed
in a one inch three-ringed binder that should be labeled with
your name and will be stored in the Mellinger Learning Center so
that you and faculty can reach your portfolio if needed.
very easy for a student to put off working on this project, but
in reality the amount of work that the portfolio requires is
minimal. However, if you are not keeping up with it throughout
your four years at Monmouth College it may be overwhelming when
it comes time for it to be turned in. Take the time to put some
effort into this assignment before the very last minute and get
a head start your New Year’s resolution with this project.
Eliminate procrastination and start now! Just like any other
academic project, if you procrastinate until the very last
minute and fail to complete the assignment there are sever and
dire consequences – you may not graduate!
Simpson Monmouth College Alumni of 1998 and current guest
lecturer at MC has recently received a Illinois Arts
Council Fellowship in the prose category. This is a highly
competitive award, with only 8 recipients for prose throughout
the state every two years.
These awards are given annually to Illinois artists of
exceptional talent in recognition of their outstanding work and
commitment within the arts. Awards are made based upon the
quality of the works submitted and the evolving professional
accomplishments of the applicant. Following is a link to
Illinois Arts Council homepage
to learn more about the organization.
Laureate Ted Kooser will read in Burlington on Saturday, Jan. 21
at 8 PM at the Burlington Golf Club. Professor Craig Watson
has rented the last MC van and will be driving interested
students and colleagues to the event. The van will be
leaving from the Student Center Plaza promptly at 6:50.
This event if free of charge. Please contact Dr. Watson
for more information regarding this event or to reserve your
seat in the van. Please respond promptly if you are going
to be attending the event and need a spot in the van; there are
only 12 seats.
week of February 12 - 18 will be the International Writing
Centers Week. More information highlighting this event
will be included in the next issue of the Printing Press.
You can also contact Steve Price if you have any questions
regarding the Writing Center.
- The tutoring hours at
the Mellinger Learning Center have changed. There are updated
schedules posted around campus and there is also an updated
version available on this website. Please note that
certain hours have changed and a new Japanese tutoring session
has also been added. To find this information quickly,
please click here.
By Ashley Nuzzo
One side green, one side red
Can someone decide my fate instead?
Should I forget the words you said
Somehow they just keep ringing in my head
You’ve said before I’ll change I swear
I told you another tear I can not bear
You said you’ll show me how much you care
I got caught again in a slippery snare
You proved me wrong for a time or so
I then believed I could never let you go
Then in an instant you snapped on me though
I finally realized that I have to say no
I can’t tell you I’m not in pain
I can tell you I have more to gain
I have to find the rainbow after the rain
I have to escape the rain, before I go insane.
You keep asking me to stay
You plead for one more day
You tell me we’ll find a way
You always have something to say
I want to believe you
I honestly do.
I wish we could start anew
I think your apologies are overdue
Some day my prince will come,
With bright sparkling eyes,
He'll be different from other guys.
He'll be pure of heart, right from the start.
A polished personality, almost beyond reality
My friends will adore him,
He'll capture my family on a whim.
He'll be settled and stable, ready and able.
He'll have hobbies and delights,
Know the difference between wrong and rights.
He'll hold me close,
But still far enough away.
So I don't have to see him every solitary day
he'll understand my hopes, dreams and my wishes,
Shower me always with kisses.
He'll know exactly what to say,
To change a sky to blue, from gray.
He'll love me for
Never wish me to be.
He's out there somewhere, hoping I will care.
Some day my prince will come.
What is your academic New Year's resolution?
To write better papers or to continue
~ Gail Gummerson
To meet women...maybe work a little,
but mostly, meet women.
~ Brandon Athey
To achieve the unachievable for
someone like me who is academically challenged: get good
~ Ashley Downs
I suppose my academic New Years
resolution is pretty general and... cliché, I suppose, but
it's what I've resolved to do: I'm going to break my habits
of the last seven years or so and actually do my homework.
Simple, I know, but that's what I decided.
~ John Bridges
My academic New Year's resolution is
not to turn the first draft of any paper more than four
~ Amanda Benham
My academic New Year's resolution is
to keep up with my readings for all of my classes so I can
follow along better... The whole semester through.
~ Ashley Nuzzo
Finish a script or two, FINALLY drop
the ED cert., get another 3.0-or-greater semester, and pick
up a minor.
~ Chadd Kaiser
My academic New Year's resolution is
to keep up with my reading for all of my classes, fully
apply myself, try to miss very few classes, and end my
senior year with a bang. Basically, I want to avoid
senioritis while still having the best semester yet.
~ Josie Melton
I would like to make it out of both
Watson's and Hale's survey classes alive this semester.
The Cultural Events
Calendar is a monthly update on the special
activities going on at Monmouth College and
other campuses such as Western, Knox, and
|Monday - Thursday 3:00-5:00 pm
||Sunday - Thursday 7:00-10:00 pm
||Monday - Thursday 3:00 - 5:00 pm
Thursday 7:00 - 9:00 pm
||Monday and Thursday
7:00 - 8:00 pm
||Tuesday and Wednesday 7:00 -
||Tuesday and Thursday 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Thursday 6:00 -
3:00 - 5:00 pm
4:00 - 5:00 pm
By appointment Only
(3rd Floor of Wallace Hall)
Photograph courtesy of Johnathan Skidmore
Rob Hale, Professor of English, screens a film in Hewes
Library, while looking quite studious.