Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry

Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser

Longtime friends Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser always exchanged poems in their letter-writing. After Kooser was diagnosed with cancer, Harrison found that his friend’s poetry became “overwhelmingly vivid,” and they began a correspondence composed entirely of brief poems, “because that was the essence of what we wanted to say to each other.” Braided Creek contains more than 300 of the poems exchanged in this extended correspondence. Wise, wry, and penetrating, these epigrammatic, aphoristic poems explore love and friendship, pausing to celebrate the natural world, aging, everyday things and scenes, and poetry itself. When asked about attributions for the individual poems, one of them replied, “This book is an assertion in favor of poetry and against credentials.”

ISBN: 9781556591877

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Jim Harrison (1937–2016) was the author of over three dozen books, including Legends of the Fall and Dalva, and served as the food columnist for the magazines Brick and Esquire. He published fourteen volumes of poetry, the final being Dead Man’s Float (2016). His work has been translated into two dozen languages and produced as four feature-length films. As a young poet he co-edited Sumac magazine with fellow poet Dan Gerber, and earned fellowships from the National Endowment for the …

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About the Author

Thirteenth United States Poet Laureate (2004–2006) Ted Kooser is a retired life insurance executive who lives on acreage near the village of Garland, Nebraska, with his wife, Kathleen Rutledge. He is a visiting professor at the University of Nebraska, where he teaches poetry and nonfiction writing. His collection Delights & Shadows was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 2005. His poems have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Hudson Review, The Antioch Review, The Kenyon Review, and dozens of …

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“They sound betimes like up-to-date imagists or haiku poets, pungent rural epigrammatists out of Jonathan Williams’s Blues & Roots/Rue & Bluets (1971) and Wendell Berry’s Sayings & Doings (1975), or just two crusty old codgers. Their conversation always repays eavesdropping.” —Booklist

“These little gems prove that less is often more.” —Library Journal

“There are poems on the natural world, aging, dying, friendship, love, and eros. There is abundant humor… There also is distilled wisdom.” —Houston Chronicle

“So what we have here is a small book of finely etched verse by two experienced poets. It is something that many readers will want to carry around with them and dip into on occasion. Braided Creek is a vademecum or field guide for the soul.” —Bloomsbury Review

“[Braided Creek] unfolds like a Japanese kaiseki feast, a procession of delectable morsels. It is tempting to gobble them all at once, but a slow savoring leaves one with a sense of satiety and celebration.” —Foreword

“Both Harrison and Kooser show a ‘coming of wisdom with time.’ Kooser has been diagnosed with cancer, which may in part account for the intensity of the language and the sweeping philosophical stance of these quiet poems by two gifted men.” —Rocky Mountain News

“Here’s a book of glorious, intimate tidbits… filled with such small yet expansive moments, perfectly defined.” —Commercial Appeal

“For those who have ears to hear, infinity hums in the taut lines and compact images of this conversation in poetry. Seamless, poignant, and profound, Braided Creek is a book worth listening to time and again.” —Wichita Eagle

“This book is superb… Simple in its language, spare in its style, Braided Creek presents dozens of short poems that resonate with truth, pain and radiance. Grudgingly acknowledging aging and illness, the verses here also clutch tightly to moments of good cheer, of life lived with spirit and grit and determination.” —Kansas City Star

Braided Creek smooths together two delicate and taut voices, both singing in tune to a common good, a loftier goal, to be picked up like the poetry gauntlet thrown.” —onthetown

“It’s a wonderful, rewarding book.” —Philadelphia Inquirer