Off the Shelf: Valentines by Ted Kooser

Kooser

Read "A Perfect Heart", a poem from Valentines by Ted Kooser:

To make a perfect heart you take a sheet
of red construction paper of the type
that’s rough as a cat’s tongue, fold it once,
and crease it really hard, so it feels
as if your thumb might light up like a match,

then choose your scissors from the box. I like
those safety scissors with the sticky blades
and the rubber grips that pinch a little skin
as you snip along. They make you careful,
just as you should be, cutting out a heart

for someone you love. Don’t worry that your curve
won’t make a valentine; it will. Rely
on chewing on your lip and symmetry
to guide your hand along with special art.
And there it is at last: a heart, a heart!

Ted Kooser, Presidential Professor of the University of Nebraska, is former U.S. poet laureate and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. In addition to his many volumes of poetry, he is the author of The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets and coauthor (with Steve Cox) of Writing Brave and Free: Encouraging Words for People Who Want to Start Writing, both available in Bison Books editions.

To read a longer excerpt or to purchase Valentines, visit http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/product/Valentines,673421.aspx.

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