April 29, 2007|By Ted Kooser | Ted Kooser,Special to the Sun

Harry Houdini never gets far from the news. There's always a movie coming out, or a book, and every other magician has to face comparison to the legendary master. Here, the California poet Kay Ryan encapsulates the man and says something wise about celebrity.

- Ted Kooser


Each escape

involved some art,

some hokum, and

at least a brief


exchange between

the man and metal

during which the

chains were not

so much broken

as he and they

blended. At the

end of each such

mix he had to

extract himself. It

was the hardest

part to get right

routinely: breaking

back into the

same Houdini.

Ted Kooser was U.S. poet laureate, 2004-06. Copyright 2004 by Kay Ryan. Reprinted from "Poetry," November 2004, with permission of the author. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

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