Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Missives En Masse

For Valentine's Day 1986, Ted Kooser wrote "Pocket Poem" and sent it to 50 friends, thus starting an annual tradition that would persist for the next 21 years.

Printed on postcards, the poems were mailed to a list of recipients all over the United States. He always dropped them at the Post Office in Valentine, NE, to be postmarked. He kept adding requests and over the years the list grew to number 2,700.

Kooser is happily married (his wife approved of the Valentines) and lives in rural Nebraska. He founded American Life in Poetry, which features poetry in a weekly column for newspapers. He also is a Presidential Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, a former U.S. Poet Laureate, and the winner of a Pulitzer Prize.

In 2007 he spent almost $1,000 on postage, and printing the post cards. That's when he decided to stop writing and sending Valentine's Day poems, at least for now. So he took the 20 years of Valentine poems and published them in a book in 2008.

Just a little poem, a little thought, not much really. Why would so many people sign up to get an original Valentine poem in the mail?

1 comment:

Grannybunny said...

What a wonderful tradition; it's a shame he had to stop.