June 10, 2007|By Ted Kooser | Ted Kooser,Special to the Sun

Poetry can be thought of as an act of persuasion: A poem attempts to bring about some kind of change in its reader, perhaps no more than a moment of clarity amidst the disorder of everyday life. And successful poems not only make use of the meanings and sounds of words, as well as the images those words conjure up. Notice how this little poem by Mississippi poet Robert West makes the very best use of the empty space around it to help convey the nature of its subject.

- Ted Kooser


A lone


in the


empty space


its own



Ted Kooser was U.S. poet laureate, 2004-2006. Poem copyright 2005 by Robert West. Reprinted from ?Best Company? with permission of the author. This column does not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

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