Hey, I think we can even avoid the de rigeur Robert Mezey "This Poet Isn't Good" post given his positive mention of Kooser on the Bogan thread. Kooser is among my 10 or so favorite poets working today.
A nice little bio of him appears here: http://mockingbird.creighton.edu/NCW/kooser.htm
And some poems:
(Dana Gioia had high praise for this poem in his essay on Kooser in Can Poetry Matter)
West of Omaha the freshly plowed fields
steam in the night like lakes.
The smell of the earth floods over the roads.
The field mice are moving their nests
to the higher ground of fence rows,
the old among them crying out to the owls
to take them all. The paths in the grass
are loud with the squeak of their carts.
They keep their lanterns covered.
When I visited Fort Robinson,
where Dull Knife and his Northern Cheyenne
were held captive that terrible winter,
the grounds crew was killing magpies.
Two men were going from tree to tree
with sticks and ladders, poking the young birds
down from their nests and beating them to death
as they hopped about in the grass.
Under each tree where the men had worked
were twisted clots of matted feathers,
and above each tree a magpie circled,
crazily calling in all her voices.
We didn’t get out of the car.
My little boy hid in the back and cried
as we drove away, into those ragged buttes
the Cheyenne climbed that winter, fleeing.
A Letter in June
In the morning, early, I push open
the door and they drop like a hard rain
out of the top of the frame where they have
rested all night, a dozen or more
moth millers—or is it miller moths? —
fat as the tips of my fingers, tapping
the redwood deck with their dusty
stupor. For a moment they lie still,
some of them upside down, or tipped
on their sides against the dewy sill,
their tiny black eyes bright but baffled,
for they have forgotten how to fly.
They look a little like wood chips lying
next to a stump where a cold man
might have split kindling for his stove
for morning coffee, and then they
suddenly remember they have wings,
and fly this way and that, into my hair,
onto my nightshirt, into my face,
as if I were made of a steady light
and were irresistible, but I am just
an old man looking for a little warmth
at his open door, fussily brushing
the chips away, struck chop by chop
(This next one is from the spring Hudson Review)
In that muddy junkyard, wrecks were stacked
like manuscripts, each with some terrible story
the roads had rejected. We opened them slowly
and read by the light of our cutting torches,
breathing the fleshy odor of acetylene,
peeling the deckled pages back, so many alike:
a woman’s shoe with a snapped-off heel
crushed up against the firewall, dried blood
on the cheap seat covers, spatters of brains
on the dashboard clocks, a few of which,
somehow still alive on a trickle of current,
kept somebody’s time, whining like flies
trapped under glass. In the summer air,
the too-sweet odor of spilled brake fluid,
the smell of burning paint and molten metal,
and under my boots, blue puddles of oil
with twisted rainbows. And from the shop
maybe fifty yards away, the scanner so loud
that all those passing on the road could hear it,
raspy with static, like the forced voice
of a man with his larynx cut out, desperate,
trying all day to get someone to listen.