Delights and Shadows Historical Context

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Nebraska

Kooser finds much of the inspiration for his writing in the state of Nebraska, where he has made his home for most of his adult life. He has lived for many years on a farm near the village of Garland. In many of the poems in Delights & Shadows, Kooser reflects on places or situations he has experienced in Nebraska. The state is not mentioned by name in any of the poems, but the culture, society, and values of Nebraska and the Great Plains have influenced his perception of the world and his writing.

Known as the "Cornhusker State," Nebraska has had primarily an agricultural and ranch-based economy since it became a part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. In its early days as a state, Nebraska was populated by Americans who were lured by the promises of the Homestead Act. In the Homestead Act...

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