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The Blizzard Voices

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  132 ratings  ·  29 reviews
This book is a collection of poems recording the devastation unleashed on the Great Plains by the blizzard of January 12, 1888. The Blizzard Voices is based on the actual reminiscences of the survivors as recorded in documents from the time and written reminiscences from years later. Here are the haunting voices of the men and women who were teaching school, working the la ...more
Paperback, 64 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Bison Books (first published January 1st 1986)
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"A collection of poems recording the devastation unleashed on the Great Plains by the blizzard of January 12, 1888." says the copy on the back of the book. That doesn't begin to do justice to the narratives captured within this slim volume, accompanied by poignant line drawings by Tom Pohrt. Normally, I shy away from any poetry that comes with illustration, feeling that often, unless it's a children's book, the illustration is a signal that the poetry within is not up to snuff and needs distract ...more
A slim volume of "poems" by Kooser, narrative monologues based on the experience of individuals during the 1888 Blizzard. AKA The Children's Blizzard, since many children were stuck in their schoolhouses for a couple of days, and a number perished from the sub zero temperatures that followed the snow.

Each poem is short, for me too short to be totally effective. And the narrators are only identifies as "A Man's Voice" or "A Woman's Voice", even though he knew who the individuals were (the poems a
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Beautifully done. These poems are based on the experiences of men and women who lived through the "Schoolhouse Blizzard" of 1888 on the Great Plains. Each poem comes from a different anonymous speaker, and the collection is best read aloud. Kooser's individual voices capture the disorientation that must have come from such a storm. Here are characters in different towns and states, trapped in one blinding torrent of snow. Some are separated from each other by hundreds of miles, but they share on ...more
These monologue poems about the terrible 1888 blizzard that swept across the Great Plains end too soon. The book opens with a poem titled "A Woman's Voice" in size 14 or 16 font, then alternates to "A Man's Voice." All the poems in the book have those two titles, although it is clear the monologues are being delivered from different people. There are 18 Woman poems and 18 Man poems, so Kooser is careful to give a balanced perspective, or was he having some fun, calling attention to the year in w ...more
At first, I was not interested in Kooser's poems; but I re-read them and liked them. While they at first did not seem "poetic", I began to see the poems like I did when I discovered Leaves of Grass by Whitman for the first time.
Valerie Doherty
The Blizzard Voices is a very quick read by poet laureate, Ted Kooser. Part of Book Riot's 2015 reading challenge- poetry collection.
This makes me want to read more books about the Children's Blizzard/Great Blizzard of 1888. The voices in Kooser's little volume here speak loudly across the decades. Terrifying but beautiful.
An interesting subject, but merely adequately handled (which pretty much sums up my opinion of any of Kooser's work). Kooser's style shoots for plainspoken but veers into unmemorable. There are a few striking moments in here, but the presentation of the book (which has no page numbers and features a few dozen poems all titled either "A Man's Voice:" or "A Woman's Voice") makes it difficult to identify or describe them without giving them away. (Spoiler: the best moment occurs the first time we a ...more
This book is part narrative, part poetry. The voices are memories from the great blizzard of 1888. Kooser says he grew up hearing his elderly relatives recount their memories of this blizzard, and he drew from those and accounts published at the time to distill down some of the essential images. One of the most vivid images for me was how a cow's tail froze sideways. And towards the end of the book there is brief vignette about a turkey who had been buried for weeks in the ice, yet survived by e ...more
I found this one to be very interesting. Am intrigued to see how this was adapted for the stage. (I am imagining a somewhat disconnected series of monologues...)

I know that it is a financial gamble to publish a collection of poetry in the U.S., so it is almost a taboo subject to speak of the financial "worth" of a poetry collection, but this collection is very, very short...

I liked many of the poems. I did not find myself to be a fan of the small illustrations, however.
One of my favorite moments from teaching at Silver Lake College happened while reading this book. My advanced poetry class gathered in the balcony of Generose Center and on a stage strewn with dead flies (it hadn't been cleaned in a while) we did a choral reading from this work. Individually the poems don't stand up well, but as a collective work The Blizzard Voices evokes an epic storm and a time out of memory.
Genevieve Woods
This book made me re-think poetry, and what the art form can do. Kooser's poems about a blizzard over a century ago brought the time and the people to life in a way that no novel or history tome could do. I had thought I wasn't really a poetry person, but now I realize I just wasn't reading the right poems.
Kaisha Khalifeh
These poems, harvested from archival records of the great Nebraska blizzard of 1888 known as the Schoolchildren's Blizzard, are masterfully told in alternating narratives only identified as "A Woman's Voice" and "A Man's Voice". Ted Kooser brings these memories to life in all their tragedy and mundanity.
Marilyn Knox
Jan 29, 2013 Marilyn Knox rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Marilyn by: research
Shelves: poetry
Mr. Kooser takes the information from In All Its Fury and writes a beautiful book telling of the Schoolchrildren's Blizzard of 1888. The blizzard took place on January 12, 1888 and is an important part of Nebraska history.

This is a book well worth reading. It makes me a poetry fan.
Anna Beth
The book is made up of reminiscences in poetry form of individuals who experienced the "Blizzard of 1886," sometimes known as the Schoolchildren's Blizzard. The winter storm was given this name because so many students and teachers were stranded in rural schoolhouses.
Not as great as Kooser's other works, probably because he is telling someone else's story rather than his own. I still enjoyed this though because that blizzard is a fascinating story from ANYONE's perspective!
Kooser's poetry is simple, direct and compelling. These voices from 1888 are wholly believable. This is not academic. It is real life. I read it straight through.
Mar 21, 2012 Molly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: poems
Fairly matter-of-fact narratives of The Children's Blizzard. I enjoyed the details, though I perhaps would have liked more adornments, a bit more linguistic flair.
I had read the Children's Blizzard so knew about this famous blizzard.
Enjoyed these poems very much. I'll be seeing the author at Chautauqua in August.
A slim volume of poetry inspired by the voices of folks who survived the Children's Blizzard of 1886. A haunting story, parced out in verse.
I really like Kooser's work. Since I am a born and bred Nebraskan too, I can relate to the images he writes about in his poetry and prose.
What a powerful little volume. These poems made the voices from the Children's Blizzard of 1888 on the Great Plains very real and vivid.
Wonderful book of poems based on collected memories of 'the great blizzard' in 1888 (on the Great Plains).
One of my favorite poets, this is a historical work based on the 1888 blizzard and the lives it touched.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This would make a great reader's theatre script!
Sep 12, 2013 Alisha rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
Powerful. Chilling. Amazing poetry.
Beautiful, as all Kooser writing is.
Very neat.
Steven Chang
Steven Chang marked it as to-read
May 01, 2015
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Ted Kooser lives in rural Nebraska with his wife, Kathleen, and three dogs. He is one of America's most noted poets, having served two terms as U. S. Poet Laureate and, during the second term, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his collection, DELIGHTS & SHADOWS. He is a retired life insurance executive who now teaches part-time at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. The school board ...more
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