Sunday, May 29, 2011


Bill Kloefkorn was one of the great storytellers of the poets from my home state. He attended Emporia State University for both his BA and MA in English; Emporia is my hometown, and I saw him at several events. I listened spellbound as he told stories and kept the audience of English teachers and librarians laughing. He was a great entertainer. Most of his career was in Nebraska, but the humor is about the same north of the border.He was a solid guy, generous, and fun. Born in 1932, he had one foot in the 19th century and another in the 21st. His writing memorializes the rural life, which is changing as city folk buy country houses for retreats and as family farms are sold to corporations. He references values connected to natural laws, and he critiques the pettiness of human frailties in the face of the larger truths, as in this 2004 poem, where he still remembers the awe of his father’s authority: 

I Stand Alone at the Foot 

I Stand alone at the foot
Of my father’s grave
Trembling to tell:
The door to the granary is open,
And someone lost the bucket
To the well.
Here are some links:
An April 9, 2011 feature in the Lincoln paper
A school was just named for him:  
Some poems: