Noted poets have very different outlooks on life

Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Michael Lythgoe, an Aiken poet, reads during a national poetry month event at the Aiken County Library.

In honor of national poetry month, Michael Lythgoe read the works of two very different poets at the Aiken County Library on April 13.


Mr. Lythgoe, who has served as president of the Academy for Lifelong Learning at the University of South Carolina Aiken and has published two books of poetry, Brass and Holy Week , read verses by current poet laureate Charles Simic and Ted Kooser, who was poet laureate from 2004 to 2006.

Mr. Simic "writes poetry from memory and history," Mr. Lythgoe said.

A native of Yugoslavia, Mr. Simic went through World War II there and moved to the United States at the age of 15. He's a retired professor from the University of New Hampshire.

"He's a skeptic, a doubter, an agnostic," Mr. Lythgoe said. "In his poems, the wolf will eat the grandma."

Mr. Kooser has a very different style.

"He's from the Great Plains, a down-home good guy. He's not an academic," Mr. Lythgoe said.

In fact, Mr. Kooser sold insurance for a living.

Mr. Lythgoe read some of Mr. Kooser's Valentine poems, including Pocket Poem and Tracks .

Before reading Pocket Poem , Mr. Lythgoe passed on a suggestion from the organizers of the month. "They are encouraging people to keep a poem in their pocket," he said.

Mr. Lythgoe's two books of poetry are available at The Book Stall in Aiken.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at