At the Cancer Clinic Historical Context

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When Kooser's poetry is discussed, reference is usually made to the fact that he has spent his entire career in Nebraska. He is characterized as being a midwestern poet. Midwestern poetry is thought of as poetry that uses plain language and simple structure. To some extent, such a generalization is excessively broad, as most generalizations are. The Midwest is a wide range, encompassing the Great Plains, the areas around the Great Lakes, and the eastern fringes of the Rocky Mountains. It would be highly improbable that the same sensibilities exist in all writers in that geographic terrain, from Detroit, Michigan, to Bismarck, South Dakota, from the Germans who founded Milwaukee to the relatively new Vietnamese population of the Quad Cities at the Illinois-Iowa border. Even if there are differences within the region, though, the basic characteristics are still thought of when talking about midwestern writing.

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