. . . There’s something
Comforting about rituals renewed, even adolescents’ pipe dreams:
They’ll find out soon enough, and meanwhile find their places
In the eternal scenery, less auguries or cautionary tales
Than parts of an unchanging whole, as ripe for contemplation
As a planisphere or the clouds: the vexed destinies, the shared life,
The sempiternal spectacle of someone preaching to the choir
While 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.
"Koethe has published more than a dozen books of original poetry during his illustrious career, and many of his best pieces have been collected in the new anthology Walking Backwards: Poems 1966-2016. Koethe embraced life in Wisconsin and adopted a humble Midwestern charm in his writing that illuminates his poems with universal tenderness and broad appeal. In this collection, readers travel through space and time with John as he explores his own experiences and questions the relevance of our universal existence."—Jenni Herrick, Shepherd Express