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June 12, 2009

Poetry Friday--Braided Creek

The origins of Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser (Copper Canyon Press, 2003) is explained on the back cover of this slim paperback book:
Longtime friends, Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser always exchanged poems in their letter writing. After Kooser was diagnosed with cancer several years ago, Harrison found that his friend's poetry became "overwhelmingly vivid," and they began a correspondence comprised entirely of brief poems, "because that was the essence of what we wanted to say to each other."
Although not labeled as such, this could almost be considered a book of haiku and senryu. Each little poem--most are three lines long--is an observation of nature and life's simple moments. Here are a few samples:

Between the four pads
of a dog's foot,
the fragrance of grass.

I grow older.
I still like women, but mostly
I like Mexican food.

The moon put her hand
over my mouth and told me
to shut up and watch.

There is no assignment of authorship, so we don't know who wrote what poem, but it doesn't matter.

Find a copy of Braided Creek, then look for a friend to exchange poems with. I have a haiku friend in North Carolina and I look forward to our weekly email exchange, just, as I'm sure, Ted Kooser and Jim Harrison looked forward to each other's. (To listen to an audio conversation with the poets, click here.)

Check out this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up at Critique de Mr. Chompchomp. Have a great weekend!


  1. How wonderful to hear about this. I listened to Kooser read his poems on a recording (somewhere on the internet) and he mentions this friend and their correspondence. I didn't know they'd made a book of their exchanges. Good to know.

  2. Kooser also published a book called, Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison in 2000.

    I haven't seen that one, though.