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Collected poems from America’s searching and thoughtful philosopher-poet. . . There’s somethingComforting about rituals renewed, even adolescents’ pipe dreams:They’ll find out soon enough, and meanwhile find their placesIn the eternal scenery, less auguries or cautionary talesThan parts of an unchanging whole, as ripe for contemplationAs a planisphere or the clouds: the vexed destinies, the shared life,The sempiternal spectacle of someone preaching to the choirWhile walking backwards in the moment on a warm spring afternoon.
John Koethe’s poems—always dynamic and in process, never static or complete—luxuriate in the questions that punctuate the most humdrum of routines, rendering a robust portrait of an individual: complicated, quotidian, and resounding with truth. Gathering for the first time his impressive and award-winning body of work, published between 1966 and 2016, Walking Backwards introduces this gifted poet to a new, wider readership.