Monthly Archives: November 2023

Firmly within belief

Cover of Beyond Belief with title written vertically in blue and John Koethe horizontally in black.

Beyond Belief: Poems by John Koethe

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

John Koethe is a retired professor philosopher as well as an established poet. Beyond Belief: Poems, his 2022 collection, is a set of philosophical poetic musings. These abstract and slippery poems are mostly about time, aging, and the sum of a life. While many were thought-provoking at times, there was little that was vivid or particularly moving in them. As much as I enjoyed some of his thoughts, they are told from something of a detached remove, and the feelings evoked were rarely sustained throughout the long, meandering poems. They came across almost like brief but rambling essays.

That said, there was a warmth and introspection that I did enjoy in this collection. Reading it felt like sitting before a fire with a wise older friend and listening to him impart some of what he’s learned as he reflects on his years on earth.