Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Ted Kooser, poet

A short interview with Ted Kooser of Nebraska, the new poet laureate. I like him. After making clear that he doesn’t read much European poetry, he is asked this question: "As poet laureate, don’t you think you should be better acquainted with European poetry?" Kooser: "Think of all the European poetry I could have read if we hadn’t spent all this time on this interview." Here is one his poems, "Flying at Night."

Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations.

Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies

like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,

some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,

snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn

back into the little system of his care.

All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,

tug with bright streets at lonely lights like his.

Discussions - 2 Comments

Peter,
I realize poets have some latitude in writing their "insights", however I wouldn’t think basic scientific ignorance could/should be considered "artistic".
The line "Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies" is so ignorant that I will forever have no thought for this writers’ self indulgent drivel.
All he had to do was figure a metier for using a proper fact, "five billion LIGHT years away".
For God’s sake, Pluto is almost 4 billion miles from the Earth, another galaxys’ distance could only be stated in light years as the distances are so huge.
Maybe he should become the poet laueriate for CBS News, where accuracy is sacrificed for the story line.
Mike

Mike, Come now. There are better reasons to dislike poets. So Caesar says to Cassius, "I am constant as the northern star,/ Of whose true-fixed and resting quality/There is no fellow in the firmament. (etc) I am pretty sure this is scientifically absurd, yet it works.

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