“larklike over the wheat”: Ted Kooser’s “So This Is Nebraska”

Photo courtesy of Jordan McQueen via Unsplash.

Photo courtesy of Jordan McQueen via Unsplash.

It’s been hot in Boston this week, certainly more hot than I like (which, to be fair, is not very hot at all), but not as hot as it could be. One of the hottest days I remember involved driving through Nebraska in summertime, years ago, when the temperature outside was 106 degrees. I don’t think I’ve seen a thermometer hit that temperature in all the years since.

“So This is Nebraska,” by former poet laureate Ted Kooser, describes that kind of hot day, though with far more attention to detail than I can conjure from memory. And oddly enough, it made me feel a little cooler.

By the way, there’s a bar before the poem that has a recording of Ted Kooser reading the poem. It’s great.

“I prove a theorem and the house expands:”

Rita Dove’s poem “Geometry” is one I’ve been saving for fall, because the title reminds me of school (sorry, Mrs. A, but your ninth-grade classroom is still the only place I’ve ever tried to prove a theorem).  As you might guess from its first line (reproduced in this post’s title), it’s about the feeling of expansion that comes when you stretch your mind over unfamiliar pathways.

Image Courtesy Grant Cochrane / Freedigitalphotos.net

Image Courtesy Grant Cochrane / Freedigitalphotos.net

You can find “Geometry” in Ms. Dove’s Selected Poems, and you can read more about the poet and her work at the Poetry Foundation.

By the by: A couple weeks ago I highlighted Tami Haaland’s poem “A Colander of Barley,” and Ted Kooser (Poet Laureate, 2004-2006) selected it this week for his “American Life in Poetry” series. I love getting a poem in my inbox every week; you can sign up here.