TITLE: A Literary Evening with John Prine and Ted Kooser
SPEAKER: John Prine, Ted Kooser
EVENT DATE: 03/09/2005
RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes
The program was a lively discussion between the songwriter and the poet as they compared and contrasted the emotional appeal of the lyrics of popular songs with the appeal of contemporary poetry.
Speaker Biography: Born in 1946, the son of a tool and die maker, Prine enjoyed a childhood imbued with classic American values and traditions that would later be incorporated into his songs. Following military service in Germany and a job with the U.S. Postal Service, Prine made his public debut at an "open mic" session at a local bar, whose owner promptly hired him. After Kris Kristofferson heard Prine perform at the venerable Earl of Old Town music club in Chicago, he assisted in Prine's career move from local singer-songwriter to a national recording artist, who has won praise from critics around the country. After moving to Nashville in the early 1980s, Prine formed Oh Boy records with his longtime manager Al Bunetta and associate Dan Einstein. Since 1986, Prine has recorded several Grammy-nominated albums with Oh Boy, and he won a Grammy for his 1991 album, "The Missing Years," which featured appearances by Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty. Prine continues to tour and is slated to release his first original album in nine years, "Fair & Square," on April 26.
Speaker Biography: Poet Laureate Ted Kooser was born in Ames, Iowa in 1939. He received his bachelor's degree from Iowa State and his master's in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is the author of ten collections of poetry, including "Delights & Shadows" (Copper Canyon, 2004), which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize; "Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison" (2000), which won the 2001 Nebraska Book Award for poetry; "Weather Central" (1994); "One World at a Time" (1985); and "Sure Signs" (Pittsburgh, 1980). His fiction and non-fiction books include "Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry" (Copper Canyon, 2003) written with fellow poet and longtime friend, Jim Harrison; and "Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps" (2002), which won the Nebraska Book Award for Nonfiction in 2003. His honors include two NEA fellowships in poetry, a Pushcart Prize, the Stanley Kunitz Prize from Columbia and a Merit Award from the Nebraska Arts Council. In the fall of 2004, Kooser was appointed the Library of Congress's 13th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. He is a visiting professor in the English department of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He lives on an acreage near the village of Garland, Neb., with his wife Kathleen Rutledge, the editor of the Lincoln Journal Star.