Friday, January 8, 2010

Ted Kooser and the Wessels Living History Farm

The Wessels Living History Farm of York, Nebraska offers visitors the best of both worlds: a hands-on chance to view an operating farm in the Central Plains as well as the opportunity to then go home and learn a great deal more through their online resources. The Farm's site presents a decade-by-decade overview of agriculture in the twentieth-century (with Quicktime interviews) and also focuses on many of the cultural events surrounding life on the farm. There's a great deal of audio and visual presentations here, and, to the Farm's credit, much of this is geared towards educating younger generations about rural culture. This is a fantastic site with enough to read and watch to keep one busy through a long winter's afternoon.

The site also features a selection of poems by former Poet Laureate Ted Kooser. A Nebraska native, Kooser has received many accolades for his clear eye and revealing use of detail to evoke a place and a people that is at once local and universal. Aside from his collections of poetry, Kooser also published a well-received memoir about life in Southeastern Nebraska: Local Wonders.

Ted Kooser reads his poem "Tillage Marks," along with others, from his home in Nebraska's Bohemian Alps region here. Mr. Kooser also writes The American Life in Poetry column, which is offered each week, free of charge, to newspapers and online publications across the country.