One of the best things our government ever did was create the position of U.S. poet laureate, consultant to the Library of Congress in poetry.

The naming of Nebraska’s Ted Kooser, I think, is an interesting choice. A red state poet in a presidential election year. No, I’m not that cynical, but I agree with Billy Collins that “The middle section of the country needed greater poetic representation.”

Its easy to go to New England, the west coast and even parts of the South and find poets, but naming a Cornhusker the poet laureate takes guts. Only one of Kooser’s books is available at Timberland, one of the two published by Copper Canyon press of Port Townsend.

After Years

Today, from a distance, I saw you

walking away, and without a sound

the glittering face of a glacier

slid into the sea. An ancient oak

fell in the Cumberlands, holding only

a handful of leaves, and an old woman

scattering corn to her chickens looked up

for an instant. At the other side

of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times

the size of our own sun exploded

and vanished, leaving a small green spot

on the astronomer’s retina

as he stood on the great open dome

of my heart with no one to tell.