John Koethe

(1945 / San Diego)

John Koethe
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John Koethe was born on December 25, 1945 in San Diego, and received an A.B. from Princeton and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Harvard.

He has published six books of poetry: “Blue Vents” (1968), “Domes” (1973), which received the Frank O'Hara Award, “The Late Wisconsin Spring” (1984), “Falling Water” (1997), which received the Kingsley Tufts Award, “The Constructor” (1999), which was a finalist for The New Yorker Book Award and the Lenore Marshall Award, and “North Point North: New and Selected Poems” (2002), which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He is also the author of “Poetry at One Remove: Essays” (2001) and “The Continuity of Wittgenstein's Thought” (1996). more »

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Best Poem of John Koethe


I love the insulation of strange cities:
Living in your head, the routines of home
Becoming more and more remote,
Alone and floating through the streets
As through the sky, anonymous and languageless
Here at the epicenter of three wars. Yesterday
I took the S-Bahn into town again
To see the Kiefer in the Neue Nationalgalerie,
A burned out field with smoke still rising from the furrows
In a landscape scarred with traces of humanity
At its most brutal, and yet for all that, traces of humanity.
What makes this world so frightening? In the end
What terrifies me...

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