The Blizzard Voices / Ted Kooser / Tom Pohrt


Ted Kooser has recently served two consecutive terms as U.S. Poet Laureate and was winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

The Blizzard Voices was produced in 1986 and is a collection of Kooser’s poems that provide a haunting dramatized narrative of the devastation unleashed on Nebraska Territory by the Great Blizzard of January 12, 1888 (which is often referred to as “The Children's Blizzard”). His text was drawn from the reminiscences of the survivors: the men and women who were teaching school, working the land, tending the house – when the storm arrived and changed their lives forever. Tom Pohrt illustrated the book with twelve period-like line drawings.

Kooser experimented with a completely new style in The Blizzard Voices. . . a poetic conversation, according to the author, “based on the reminiscences of those men and women who witnessed the great blizzard of January 12, 1888.” Originally written for the theater, the book comprised a series of surrealistic monologues recounting individual perceptions of the blizzard, alternately titled “A Man’s Voice” and “A Woman’s Voice.” With their unique style, these narrative poems demonstrated an expanded linguistic scope, proving that Kooser was capable of writing more than just his trademark poem. —Copper Canyon Press

Fine presses often publish poetry, but this to my mind is one of the most elegant, striking examples of poems on the page, greatly enhanced by Tom Pohrt's illustrations. —Richard Goodman, Fine Books & Collections: 2009 Compendium

The Blizzard Voices is available from The Bieler Press in a letterpress printed limited edition produced in 200 numbered copies signed by Kooser and Pohrt.


Designed by Gerald Lange and printed with assistance from Philip Gallo. The book was handset in Monotype Garamont and 16th Century Roman (display - cast by Paul Hayden Duensing) and printed on moldmade Frankfurt White paper. Kathryn Clark at Twinrocker Handmade Paper created the handmade paper covers and endsheets for the edition (the cover sheet is a blizzard-white on stormy-blue pulp design). The book was bound in boards at The Campbell-Logan Bindery. 55 pages in 5-3/4 by 9-1/2 inch format. $425.

The University of Nebraska Press acquired the reprint rights for the out-of-print trade edition of this title (originally reproduced from the limited edition) and released a paperback edition under its Bison Books imprint.

In addition, Opera Omaha produced an oratorio drawn from the work and Omaha Children's Museum featured selections from the book in an exhibition relating to the Great Blizzard.