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Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry
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Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  253 ratings  ·  47 reviews
"Braided Creek "contains more than 300 poems exchanged in this longstanding correspondence. Wise, wry, and penetrating, the poems touch upon numerous subjects, from the natural world to the nature of time. Harrison and Kooser decided to remain silent over who wrote which poem, allowing their voices, ideas, and images to swirl and merge into this remarkable suite of lyrics. ...more
ebook, 90 pages
Published December 18th 2012 by Copper Canyon Press (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 427)
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Peycho Kanev
"Under the storyteller’s hat
are many heads, all troubled.

Rowing across the lake
all the dragonflies are screwing.
Stop it. It’s Sunday.

Only today
I heard
the river
within the river.

I want to describe my life in hushed tones
like a TV nature program. Dawn in the north.
His nose stalks the air for newborn coffee.

Nothing to do.
Nowhere to go.
The moth just drowned
in the whiskey glass.
This is heaven.

Let go of the mind, the thousand blue
story fragments we tell ourselves
each day to keep the world underfoot.

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Luis Alberto
Along with Winter Morning Walks, these are two books I read every year around this time of year. I couldn't do without them.
Comment after first 45 pages.

This is wonderful. I find myself with a huge grin or pausing for introspection on nearly every page. Brilliant idea and lovely in its execution.
Definitely 4+.

Two dear friends corresponding via poems, "American Haiku," and aphorisms. I love that there is no ownership of the poems. From the back cover, "When asked about attributions for the individual poems, one of them replied, 'Everyone gets tired of this continuing cult of the personality . . . This book is an a
Eric M. R.
There is a playfulness in the dialogue between these two poets that is very enjoyable. This is not a diabolically philosophical book, nor is it post-modern nonsensical. These are snippets of poetry set in indirect communication with each other.

The result, I think, is a field--in the way physicists think of the term--which conveys a sort of philosophy overall. Emotion is transmitted without being discussed. The atmosphere is both forlorn and satisfied, quietly comic and wistful.

This can be a one-
Pas simple de se dire, "ah ben là, je vais me faire un recueil de poésie!" Qui n'a pas de souvenirs atroces de mois entiers à étudier des classiques de la poésie française au lycée... Même les littéraires devraient admettre que pour la majorité d'entre nous, "Le Lac" de Lamartine ou "Nuit du Walpurgis Classique" de Verlaine (ne me demandez pas comment je peux me souvenir de titres de poèmes étudiés il y a une vingtaine d'années et don le contenu a complètement disparu de mon petit cerveau) reste ...more
Tom Romig
Ted Kooser and Jim Harrison, two of my favorites, though Jim Harrison more for his novels and novellas than his poetry. These short poems were included in letters written to each other over their long friendship. Interestingly, they don't identify who wrote what. "Everyone gets tired of this continuing cult of the personality....The book is an assertion in favor of poetry and against credentials," explained one of them, thought it's not clear which one!

Words to read and reread, letting the image
An easy 5 stars. This is a book I could carry around for a few months. It's certainly not going on my actual shelves any time soon. Two old poets hold forth in short spurts. If you like like haiku, or asian verse, and if you'd like to know how the American idiom can comfortably extend the forms this is the book for you. If you'd like a master class in writing but hate the how-to books, this is for you.

Here's what: this book can teach you how to see, and it can teach you how to think about what
Jan 23, 2008 Deb rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people in the mood for short beautiful snippets
Recommended to Deb by: the front desk secretary, Barbara
Shelves: poetry, favorites
I'm reluctant to say I'm done with this book and I'll probably end up purchasing it. Most of the poems are three lines written back and forth on postcards, semi-haikus of wisdom, wit and the bittersweetness of life.

Some favorites:

When she left me
I stood out in the thunderstorm,
hoping to be destroyed by lightning.
It missed, first left, then right.

I grow older.
I still like women, but mostly
I like Mexican food.

The face you look out of
is never the face
your lover looks into.

Straining on the toilet
A powerfully poignant collection of thoughts between two great friends and poets. Filled with insight, hope, truth, silliness, and honesty, this reader had to stop repeatedly to think about the words shared upon the pages. If only we could all think like this...
Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser wrote poems back and forth to each other as part of their letter writing. This book gathers some of these little aphoristic poems, none more than 4 lines long. It leaves them unattributed, so you do not know who wrote which (though with some, if you're familiar with the poets at all, it's obvious). According to the back cover, they did this because "Everyone gets tired of this continuing cult of the personality . . . This book is an assertion in favor of poetry and ag ...more
Delia Turner
A correspondence in short poems between the authors. Lovely and very discouraging, because it makes me feel old and terribly mortal.
When I read the children's poetry book "Firefly July and Other Very Short Poems" recently, I found that short poems I enjoyed came from "Braided Rug." So I had to track it down and check it out. The book contains poems that were exchanged as correspondence between Ted Kooser and Jim Harrison. It's a wonderful book with so many different images.
Lovely selection of short poems written between two close friends. Topics cover a wide range of feelings, events and experiences.
Elly Sands
A friend gave me this book as a gift and I can't thank him enough. It has moved to the top of the list as my all time favorite book of Haiku. Two long time friends (both writers) correspond over the years and eventually their letters become just brief poems to one another. The poems cover a gamut of life experiences and wonderful descriptions of the natural world. The individual poems do not list which writer did them as they state on the back of the book "Everyone gets tired of this continuing ...more
Benjamin Vineyard
Some authors write in such a way that even with four lines of a poem, I'm taken to vividly see and experience some place I had not planned on going. This small book is one four-liner after another and for me, a constant passport punching from farm life to listening to an aging man express a somber freedom he's starting to realize as he's finally let go of the allures of notoriety.

I want to write like these guys do. I want to learn to tell stories like they do, that with four short lines, the pe
Brief haiku like snippets of verse written by Kooser and Harrison and mailed to one another. Only the two of them knows who wrote who.

Poems touch upon aging, nature, and love, with a few other themes touched upon here and there. A great example of the progression of poetry over time, and the friendship that can blossom.
"There are mornings when everything brims with promise even my empty cup." Enjoyed this conversation immensely. I think communicating is like playing catch. Clearly these two know how to write poetry and how to play catch. The fact that you don't know through out the book who wrote which poem is also wonderful. In true conversation it is not who said what, but what is said together. It's a quick read, enjoyable, with many wonderful short lines. I highly recommend this poetry conversation.
A short, simple book of aphorisms and small poems that Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser wrote to one another when Kooser was ill. They don't attribute specific lines to one another.

Some lines made me laugh out loud, some were sentimental, some reminded you of the joys and burdens of the mundane, and a handful were on aging. Very little was inspiring or awed me with beauty, but I don't think those were the purpose of this book.

A quick, easy, enjoyable read.
Tim Lepczyk
I'm a little on the fence with this book. It's not great by any stretch of the imagination, but it's an enjoyable quick read. Looked at in terms of something that will make you want to write, it does a fine job. It reminds you that poetry is everywhere and is not all that hard or difficult but can be a few lines scribbled between friends. My favorite mini poem in here was about topographic maps being fingerprints of God.
Alyson Hagy
Just finished this for the second time after giving it as a gift to my father, a burgeoning poet. Not all of the poems are great, but many of them are -- as poised and evocative as the classic Asian poems revered by both men. I truly love this book for what it is: A conversation between artists -- elegant, fluent, honest, surprising.
From the back of the book: "Longtime friends, Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser always exchanged poems in their letter writing. After Kooser was diagnosed with cancer several years ago, Harrison found that his friend's poetry became "overwhelmingly vivid," and they began a correspondence comprised entirely of breif poems, "because that was the essence of what we wanted to say to each other."
I really like the concept of this book...two male friends who wrote poems instead of letters to each other to describe things in their lives. Each poem is only 3 lines and, while some of them seem simple, others are really powerful. I read this in one night and it made me stop to about the poems I could write daily in my life.
Ann Klefstad
this is a collaboration between Harrison and Ted Kooser, and whether or not you like the works of either of these authors, "Creek" is a kind of miracle. None of the brief poems are attributed to either man; they say that the poems were truly jointly constructed. A casual vivid elegance graces the book, and in the poems time is real.
A look at a correspondence between two great poets. The book is snippets of their poetry that captures their daily lives and concerns. Beautiful reading and great for people who want to read poetry but are daunted by long and "complicated" poems. It works as a conversation and reads like a collection of haiku.
For some reason, I really like old men talking about what it's like to be old men. Maybe because it's a totally alien experience I will never have. And poetry, particularly short poetry, is an excellent way to talk about time. I love moments. These guys are good at them.
A sampling:

"Under the storyteller's hat
are many heads, all troubled.

Republicans think that all over the world
darker-skinned people are having more fun
than they are. It's largely true.

Old friend,
perhaps we work too hard
at being remembered."
Brian Beatty
Kooser and Harrison trade off insightful and, in some cases, delightful short poems in this shared collection. Not as prosaic as Harrison's poems can be, or as reserved as Kooser can be on his own. This is a great contemporary collection for fans of haiku.
This isn't so much a conversation between Kooser and Harrison as it is a collection of two friends' observations about the little details of life. Perfect for when you only have a few minutes at a time to read--a great book to keep in your purse or backpack.
My husband gave me this book, he loves Jim Harrison and I love Ted Kooser. For the most part I can readily tell one voice from the other in this series of poetic conversations, though who wrote which piece is never stated.
Lovely work.
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  • Winter Morning Walks: 100 Postcards to Jim Harrison
  • Leavings
  • No Nature: New and Selected Poems
  • West Wind
  • The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing
  • Real Sofistikashun: Essays on Poetry and Craft
  • Refusing Heaven
  • Field Guide
  • Haiku
Jim Harrison was born in Grayling, Michigan, to Winfield Sprague Harrison, a county agricultural agent, and Norma Olivia (Wahlgren) Harrison, both avid readers. He married Linda King in 1959 with whom he has two daughters.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

His awards include National Academy of Arts grants
More about Jim Harrison...
Legends of the Fall Dalva The English Major Returning to Earth The Woman Lit By Fireflies

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“When she left me
I stood out in the thunderstorm,
hoping to be destroyed by lightning.
It missed, first left, then right.”
More quotes…