American Life in Poetry Homepage

Photo of Ted Kooser, Poet Laureate of the United States 2004-2006
  • American Life in Poetry provides newspapers and online publications with a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems. The sole mission of this project is to promote poetry: American Life in Poetry seeks to create a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. There are no costs for reprinting the columns; we do require that you register your publication here and that the text of the column be reproduced without alteration.

    The poem in each column is brief and will be enjoyable and enlightening to readers of newspapers and online publications. Each week, a new column will be posted. Registered publications will receive new columns by email. Our archive of previous columns is also available for publication.

  • American Life in Poetry: Column 705

    A poem is an object carefully assembled of words, a "thing" that readers must reckon with just as they'd reckon with any other object. The title poem of Adrian Koesters' new book, Three Days with the Long Moon, published by BrickHouse Books, sets out a number of disparate elements, then observes: "…this pen making / a thing of them." So it's the "pen" in the hand of the poet that assembles the singular "thing" from the details. And that's how a poem comes to be. This poet lives in Omaha and was one of our very able assistants on this column.

    Read the column