Sally's Hair: Poems

John Koethe, Author
John Koethe, Author HarperCollins Publishers $24.95 (82p) ISBN 978-0-06-078943-5
Reviewed on: 04/03/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Ebook - 96 pages - 978-0-06-197991-0
Paperback - 82 pages - 978-0-06-117627-2
Ebook - 96 pages - 978-0-06-179256-4
Open Ebook - 96 pages - 978-0-06-179251-9
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 96 pages - 978-0-06-179254-0
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Koethe's first collection since North Point North: New and Selected Poems finds the meditative poet in familiar territory, fashioning considerations of time's passage in a discursive, accessible and disarming style. ""I came here for the view,"" he says, ""and what is there to see?...The days have the feeling of fiction..."" Middle age, nostalgia for adolescence (as in the title poem), friendliness, loneliness and subdued regret describe ""A solitary life, bounded by hope""; Koethe's ""earnestness embodied in a style"" pays homage to such surprising (in his work) figures as Philip Larkin and Robert Lowell, but returns, as devotees might expect, to the sinuous abstractions the poet has learned from Wallace Stevens and John Ashbery. A professor of philosophy, Koethe moves easily from big ideas to his own shaving mirror, to a film he saw last week or 30 years ago, and then back to ""that sense of something now as/ Indeterminate and fugitive, alas, as the years."" Koethe also explores the 1960s, when he entered college, contemplating ""Guitar heroes and singer-songwriters/ And death,"" and discovered the ambition which drives him still, whether or not, as he fears, ""the theories were all formulated,/ The songs all written and sung.""
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