Overview

Let me stay there for a while, while evening

Gathers in the sky and daylight lingers on the hills.

There's something in the air, something I can't quite see,

Hiding behind this stock of images, this language

Culled from all the poems I've ever loved.

John Koethe's remarkable gift to readers is an elegiac poetry that explores the transitory ...

See more details below
Sally's Hair

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Overview

Let me stay there for a while, while evening

Gathers in the sky and daylight lingers on the hills.

There's something in the air, something I can't quite see,

Hiding behind this stock of images, this language

Culled from all the poems I've ever loved.

John Koethe's remarkable gift to readers is an elegiac poetry that explores the transitory nature of ordinary human experience. The beautiful poems in this new collection celebrate the creative power of human beings, the only weapon we possess against time's relentless "slow approach to anonymity and death."

Of all Koethe's books, SALLY'S HAIR is probably his most human and various. He is well known for his meditative lyrics and this volume begins with a brilliant series of such poems, among them "Eros and the Everyday." This is followed by "The Unlasting," a long poem devoted to time and experience, and a third section comprised of more public poems, some of them political, such as "The Maquiladoras" and "Poetry and the War." This perceptive, luminescent collection concludes with a group of vivid and conversational poems, recollections, including the gems "Proust" and "HAMLET."

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Editorial Reviews

James Longenbach
“Koethe sounds like nobody else, and SALLY’S HAIR is his best book...his most intimate and his most worldly.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Brooding, philosophical ruminations . . . Passionate, lyrical poems of great energy and provocative ideas.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Powerful and intimate.”
Boston Review
“A highly readable book, appealing... and compelling in the rigor of its inquiry into the human condition .”
Booklist
“Koethe continues his reign as one of America’s most contemplative poets... The whole collection strikes a delicate and surprising balance.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061979910
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 96
  • File size: 429 KB

Meet the Author

John Koethe is distinguished professor of philosophy emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the first Poet Laureate of Milwaukee. His collections include Falling Water, which won the Kingsley-Tufts Award, North Point North, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Ninety-fifth Street, winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize. In 2011, he received a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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Read an Excerpt

Sally's Hair

The Perfect Life

I have a perfect life. It isn't much,
But it's enough for me. It keeps me alive
And happy in a vague way: no disappointments
On the near horizon, no pangs of doubt;
Looking forward in anticipation, looking back
In satisfaction at the conclusion of each day.
I heed the promptings of my inner voice,
And what I hear is comforting, full of reassurance
For my own powers and innate superiority -- the fake
Security of someone in the grip of a delusion,
In denial, climbing ever taller towers
Like a tiny tyrant looking on his little kingdom
With a secret smile, while all the while

Time lies in wait. And what feels ample now
Turns colorless and cold, and what seems beautiful
And strong becomes an object of indifference
Reaching out to no one, as later middle age
Turns old, and the strength is gone.
Right now the moments yield to me sweet
Feelings of contentment, but the human
Dies, and what I take for granted bears a name
To be forgotten soon, as the things I know
Turn into unfamiliar faces
In a strange room, leaving merely
A blank space, like a hole left in the wake
Of a perfect life, which closes over.

Sally's Hair. Copyright ? by John Koethe. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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