poet laureate 2004 - 2005
Born in Ames, Iowa, in 1939, Ted Kooser spent 35 years in the insurance industry, earning his master of arts degree from the University of Nebraska and writing poems every morning before he left for the office. Now one of the country's most highly regarded poets, he is widely admired for his simple, straightforward style and the discovery of beauty in ordinary things. To help bring poetry to a wider audience, Kooser has created the American Life in Poetry project. This free service provides newspapers and web sites with poetry by contemporary American poets, and includes descriptions of the poems by Kooser himself. Kooser served as United States Poet Laureate from 2004 through 2006 and his many honors include a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for his collection of poems, *Delights & Shadows* and two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. Having retired from insurance work in 1999, Kooser is currently a presidential professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.