Monday, September 1, 2008

Ted Kooser Comments on Kloefkorn's Alvin Turner Book

I first knew of Ted Kooser, former U.S. poet laureate, as an editor of Midwestern poetry books in the 1970s. He labored at this task for years with his Windflower Press, and in the process, he energized many poets, including Nebraska's state poet Bill Kloefkorn (born and raised in Kansas). I came to know Kooser's fine, mysterious poetry soon after he visited the University of Kansas for a reading in about 1978. This first book by Kloefkorn went into numerous printings, and it was a legendary small press bestseller of the day.

Below, we have been discussing the publication history of Kloefkorn's breakthrough book, and here is some clarification from Kooser in a recent email, reprinted with permission:

"If the date on the Windflower edition of Alvin Turner is 1974, that's when I did the first printing. I wouldn't have changed the original year when I did subsequent printings. Unfortunately, all my papers about Windflower have been sent to the university library, which will eventually have all my things on deposit. I think that the Roadapple edition had been out of print and unavailable for quite a while when Bill asked me, or I proposed, to take it on. But this is a long time ago and my memory is fuzzy.
"Best, Ted"