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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Swimmer

The Swimmer


John Koethe

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


A searching new collection from America’s philosopher-poet

John Koethe, in his tenth volume of poetry, investigates the capricious nature of everyday life, “the late-night jazz, great sex and all / The human shit defining what we are.” His 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. The Swimmer argues that this “energizes everything”: life’s trivialities, surprises, and disappointments, and the “terrible feeling of being just about to fall.”

Praise for The Swimmer

"Koethe is a beautiful writer, one whose subtle inventiveness can give new life to persistent images, nail a complex feeling in just a few words, or make the basic tools of the poetic trade into sources of pleasure and persuasion." —Jonathan Farmer, Slate

"These poems won't shatter the universe, but that's precisely their point, the tragedy they lament: that as individuals we are small and the universe pays our seemingly vast inner lives no mind. Koethe seeks to ease his mounting fear by talking—by writing—himself through it, and listening in is a perverse pleasure, and a palpable comfort." —Craig Morgan Teicher, NPR

“Koethe’s poems are able to offer the kind of idiosyncratic musings that will keep the reader thinking beyond the confines of the page.” —Publishers Weekly

“A welcome new book from an important voice.” —Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads

John Koethe

John Koethe has published several books of poetry, and has received the Lenore Marshall Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Award, and the Frank O’Hara Award. He has also published books on Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosophical skepticism, and poetry, and is the Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

image of John Koetheo
Tom Bamberger

John Koethe

Author Bio At Poetry Foundation

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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