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  John Koethe
John Koethe is one of our most honored poets, counting the Kingsley Tufts award, the Frank O'Hara Award for Poetry and The Bernard F. Connors Award from the Paris Review among his many laurels. Koethe is also author of the well-received scholarly study, The Continuity of Wittgenstein's Thought (1996).
John Koethe
His award-winning poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Brooklyn Review, Cream City Review, Epoch, The New Republic, Paris Review, and Southwest Review.

He has written six books of poetry, a book of essays, as well as his scholarly work. He has just completed a two-year term as Milwaukee's first Poet Laureate. "John Koethe's remarkable gift, the gift he gives us over and over again," writes David Ferry, "is elegiac—not because of the finalities of life and death, but because of the transitoriness of our ordinary experience."


for Susan Stewart

John Koethe
They lie together in the hidden place
Between the bookends, hidden in the heart,
Where time makes of its subjects reruns of art:
The hazy children wandering through the forest:
Or the "little phrase," wrung from the purest
Music indistinguishable from space.
The bird that perched and sat above the door.
The cool sunlight on the granary floor.

These things and their negations are all true.
All these things I know. And what I knew
Is sand, and the hours answer with a chime.
The sin is will: the madness to restore,
The will to what was so indefinite before
It seems a story, painful as a knife
Twisted in the wound, that returned to life
Just once, the once of once upon a time.

North Point North, Harper Collins, 2002

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