...In-between sets from poet Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

May 24, 2014

Ted Kooser, and Me in Heaven

Be still, my heart. Yes, Ted Kooser, two-time United States poet laureate, of the blue overalls, and brown suede elbow patches on his beige jacket, is holding my poetry collection in his perfect hands, and smiling at me with those mystical blue eyes of his. No, it could not get any better than this. One of the greatest moments of my poetic life. Yes siree, Bob!
AND!, he waited for me, until I was finished with the NPR interview. AND, instead of giving me 15 minutes or so, we sat together and chatted a few hours plus some! AND, I kept saying "Mr. Kooser," and then he said, "Please, I want you to call me 'Ted'." **Swoon** AND, he showed me the green ear plugs in his left front pocket, which he said were dirty. I agreed; then I told him the way to clean them was with a lingerie bag in the washing machine. Rather a blunder. Men like this, hearing the term "lingerie," hesitate to participate in any sort of anything, much less "cleaning," no matter if it involves work ear plugs. However, he'll still get his bag, and if he tries it, he'll see how well the plugs actually do get cleaned. Oh joy. We talked about soldering water heaters, and his home in country land, and what kind of work he performed in the insurance biz, and how much he loves to teach, and he confided a secret about what he'd do if he had to give an interview, which proved to be awfully telling about him. Which I hold close and cannot disclose. But I can tell you he's a giant of a poet, a gentleman in the truest sense, a man of honor and of his word. They do not make men like this very much anymore. I know a blessing when it's bestowed upon me.

Cynthia with Ted Kooser

Signing a specially-made copy of "Old School Superhero Loves a Good Wristwatch" for Ted Kooser
Ted jotting down notes about our conversation with his handsome and utilitarian fountain pen

In Heaven, with a man for all seasons, Ted Kooser 

My First NPR/PBS Interview!

So I skedaddled right after the art and poetry event in downtown Phoenix back home to pack and prep for my trip to Lincoln, NE. Okay, I'll only use this word once, but believe me, between every word you see written in this post and the other Nebraska posts to come, just insert this hypnotic term ~magic~, for that is what it felt like. My host, Mike Edholm (master cartoonist and illustrator), was the best host in all the land. Here's Mike, who you will be hearing more about in the near future, as he created the magnificent cover for my forthcoming chapbook from Dancing Girl Press, OLD SCHOOL SUPERHERO LOVES A GOOD WRISTWATCH.
Mike Edholm, Master Cartoonist, at The Oven Restaurant
Yes, he's wearing a Mickey Mouse-on-a-surfboard shirt. 

HomeThe next day, we trekked over to The Mill in coolsville, red-bricked, welcoming, downtown Lincoln, where the Nebraska NPR/PBS FRIDAY LIVE show is taped. I interviewed with Genevieve Randall, host of FRIDAY LIVE. During the interview I read one of the poems which will be in OLD SCHOOL SUPERHERO..., and which recently won the Red Hen Poetry Prize, "Super Dan Comics Question Box Series #18." Oftentimes, people say I have a lovely speaking voice. I tell you, to me, my voice sounded like gravel and cat litter were in my mouth, compared to Genevieve's absolutely angelic tone. You can hear the entire interview and poem reading here. My reading starts at 52min, 40sec. I hope you like it! I felt sincerely fortunate for the opportunity to be on-the-air with NPR. 

with Genevieve Randall
This downtown Lincoln intersection stole a portion of my heart, and I promise I'll skip back there in a heartbeat, when so called:
The Oven Restaurant, The Mill and Crescent Moon across the street

Thank you,Tusculum Review, for your Poetry Prize ~ and ~ Poetry, Say Hello to the Visual Arts

So April, Nat'l Poetry Month, has come and gone. May is almost over. Hello, sweet blog. Yes, I have been somewhat busy. Grand news to report on the prizewinning scale: I won the 2014 Tusculum Review Poetry Prize for my poem, "The Timekeeper." Much gratitude goes out to editor Wayne Thomas, poetry editor Clay Matthews, and final judge of the competition, Jericho Brown. The prizewinning poem, along with the prizewinning fiction by John Blair, appears in TTR 2014/vol. 10. 
The Tusculum Review, vol. 10
In May, Sandra and Larry Ortega, owners of Obliq Art Gallery, created a really special art/poetry event I was lucky enough to be part of. 15 poets from the West and Hawaii were paired up with 16 visual artists, all coming together under the banner, "Ekphrasis: Sacred Stories of the Southwest." 

Each poet created a new poem responding to an artist's piece. I had chosen Seamus Berkeley's portrait, "Prayer." My poem is titled, "Patience, with Blue Shawl and Unrevealed Loom." Here's a photo of his exquisite portrait, with me in dramatic half-shadow beside. To the right of the portrait is my poem. What a joyful, special event that was to participate in. I'll surely be happy to participate again next year. The portrait and poem will hang in the gallery together through much of the summer:
Seamus Berkeley's "Prayer"
After this, I packed my bags and got on the big jet plane to Lincoln, NE. It was time for me to give my very first NPR/PBS interview and poetry reading. In addition, I would meet a man of royalty to me, a man for all seasons, Ted Kooser.