First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it. She should be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having money enough for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses, and there
in the bookstore, she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back
up on its shelf. She will say to herself,
“For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned.” And she will.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Ted Kooser's poem Selecting A Reader


  1. ea says:

    Who would want a woman like that reading their poems? lol. Sounds like a bimbo – that they would think of cleaning their raincoat over poems, but then I realize that we are talking about Ted Kooser’s poems here.

  2. Benjamin says:

    Ted Kooser always expressed simplicity in his work, so I’m supposing that it’s not too metaphoric in what he’s trying to say. Maybe he really is saying that a person with not enough money to even wash their raincoat should focus on that neccessity over purchasing his poem. It could be more but I don’t see anything that lends itself into metaphor.

  3. Joshua says:

    It was interesting for me to note that Ted Kooser’s “ideal” reader is one who chooses to not even purchase his poetry, but rather spend her money on more practical things.

    I’m having a hard time deciding for myself if Kooser is speaking in metaphor or symbolism, or if he is being literal in his remarks that his perfect reader wouldn’t even bother to read his work.

    Does anyone have any additional comments on this?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Ted Kooser better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.