Poetry Reading - John Koethe and David Trinidad

“Few poets write more accurately and painfully [than John Koethe] about that uncanny estranged place that never finds its way out of us; the present, or idea of the present, as mere projection, and yet a projection so poignantly, materially, tenderly touched it gleams with all its claustrophobic distances . . . This is a poetry of magnificent undertow.” —Jorie Graham

"'In Notes on a Past Life,' David Trinidad exorcises the ghosts of New York with a compulsively readable, wrenching memoir in verse. His “Goodbye to All That” offers a critique of ambition, an ode to community, and a sip of the poison that poetry is, in the end, the antidote to." —Eula Biss

About "The Swimmer": 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 and complete—luxuriate in the questions that punctuate the most humdrum of routines. In "The Swimmer," the “terrible feeling of being just about to fall” energizes everything: life’s trivialities, surprises, and disappointments, even “the indifference and infirmities of age.” Together, these remarkable new poems rescue the detritus of life from oblivion and render a robust portrait of an individual: complicated, quotidian, and resounding with truth.

About John Koethe: John Koethe has published nine books of poetry and has received the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and the 1973 Frank O’Hara Award for Poetry. He has also published books on Ludwig Wittgenstein and philosophical skepticism, and is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

About "Notes on a Past Life": "'Notes on a Past Life' catalogs in 'Trinidadian' detail an outsider’s relationship to the insider world of New York City poetry—cutthroat parties, fragile egos, heartbreaking losses, as many endings as beginnings. Trinidad refuses the safe distance of “the speaker” in these autobiographical, intimate (sometimes searing) poems. This is a book for outsiders and insiders, for romantics and cynics. Some will be pissed. Some will be thrilled. And everyone will be “dishing” (as poets do) about this astonishing book, afraid to admit how much they love it." —Aaron Smith

About David Trinidad: David Trinidad’s latest book is "Notes on a Past Life" (BlazeVOX [books], 2016). His other books include "Dear Prudence: New and Selected Poems" (2011) and "Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera" (2013), both published by Turtle Point Press. He is also the editor of "A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos" (Nightboat Books, 2011). He lives in Chicago, where he is a Professor of Creative Writing/Poetry at Columbia College.