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Susan Wheeler & John Koethe read new poems at Labyrinth Books
October 16, 2012 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Susan Wheeler & John Koethe
A Reading of New Poems
Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 at 6PM
We are pleased to invite you to a reading by two acclaimed poets in celebration of their new collections.
In Meme, Susan Wheeler, whose last individual collection predicted the spiritual losses of the economic collapse, turns her attention to the most intimate of subjects: the absence or loss of love. A meme is a unit of thought replicated by imitation; examples of memes, Richard Dawkins wrote, “are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches.” What could be more potent memes than those passed down by parents to their children? Wheeler reconstructs her mother’s voice-down to its cynicism and its mid twentieth-century midwestern vernacular-in “The Maud Poems,” a voice that takes a more aggressive, vituperative turn in “The Devil-or -The Introjects.” In the book’s third long sequence, “The Split,” a generational inheritance feeds cultural transmission. A set of variations on losses and break-ups-wildly, darkly funny throughout and, in places, devastatingly sad-“The Split” brings Wheeler’s lauded inventiveness, wit, and insight to the profound loss of love. Once read, and the meme “Should I stay or should I go?” will be altered in your head forever.
John Koethe’s ROTC Kills is a lyrical and arresting new collection. As typified by the provocative title piece-a wistful look back at the poet’s years at Harvard University in the late sixties-the poetry and prose within evoke the memories and dreams; the literature, popular culture, and philosophy of a generation through the lens of the poet’s personal history. In the grand tradition of Wordsworth, Wallace Stevens, and John Ashbery, ROTC Kills is an important work from a major American poet.
Susan Wheeler is the celebrated author of a novel, Record Palace, and of 5 books of poetry prior to Meme, including most recently Ledger and Assorted Poems. Wheeler teaches creative writing at the Lewis Center at Princeton. John Koethe is the author of several collections of poetry, including Ninety-fifth Street and North Point North: New and Selected Poems. The recipient of many awards, he also publishes and teaches philosophy, focusing on the philosophy of language.