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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 14, 2005

U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser Reads Oct. 25 On 'Live From Prairie Lights'

Ted Kooser, poet laureate of the United States, will headline a week of broadcast readings on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910. Kooser's reading will be broadcast at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, originating in Shambaugh Auditorium of the UI Main Library as a free event hosted by Julie Englander. Listen on the Internet at

The week's broadcast schedule also features fiction writer Richard Burgin on Wednesday, Oct. 26, and a non-fiction reading by Kay Redfield Jamison on Thursday, Oct. 27. Those 7 p.m. broadcasts will originate as free events in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Ted Kooser was born in Ames, Iowa, in 1939 and received a bachelor's degree from Iowa State University before attending graduate school at the University of Nebraska. He is the author of more than 10 collections of poetry, and he has also published fiction and non-fiction.

In the "Live From Prairie Lights" broadcast, he will read from his "Delights & Shadows," which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

His many honors include two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in poetry, a Pushcart Prize, the Stanley Kunitz Poetry Prize from Columbia Magazine, the Nebraska Book Award for non-fiction and a Merit Award from the Nebraska Arts Council.

The Library of Congress first appointed Kooser to be its 13th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry in the fall of 2004. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, "Ted Kooser is a major poetic voice for rural and small town America and the first Poet Laureate chosen from the Great Plains. His verse reaches beyond his native region to touch on universal themes in accessible ways."

Kooser is a visiting professor in the English department of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, but he did not spend his career in academe: He was vice-president of Lincoln Benefit Life, a Nebraska insurance company.

Burgin, the editor of Boulevard Magazine and the author of "The Spirit Returns," "Ghost Quartet" and "Fear of Blue Skies," will read from "Identity Club: New and Selected Stories" on Oct. 26. A Publishers Weekly preview summarized, "A master of elevating perversity, callousness and loneliness to the level of story premise, Burgin offers shorts that read as if Raymond Carver and Edgar Allan Poe shared a body and had to write about it."

Jamison is a psychologist who wrote about her own bipolar disorder in "The Unquiet Mind." On Oct. 27, she will read from "Exuberance: the Passion for Life," about which famed UI neurologist Antonio Damasio wrote, "Her lyrical stream flows abundantly, her generosity of spirit is everywhere, and her wisdom has never been greater. A delight of a book."

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,