Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Rich poets like Louse Glukk and Friedrich Seedle and Russle Edsin

don't give their poetry away free, you have to pay cash buy their books,

but me,

me living month to month on Social Security checks,

I'm supposed to give mine away free?


Of course I HAVE to give mine away free, because nobody will buy the damn things.

licensed to kill

a footnote to my post from a couple weeks ago: http://knottprosepo.blogspot.com/2011/07/uh-this-first-poem.html

I imagine the hierarchs at Poetry Magazine were disappointed that their attempt to assassinate me in 1972 failed,

which is why thirtythree years later they hired the lit-rump Meghan O'Rourke to give it another try—

And this time they succeeded.

Their second murder plot did me in:

after this latter "review" appeared in 2005,

I had to retire from my teaching position,

I lost what little professional standing and esteem I had in the poetry world, all of its venues have blacklisted me,

and since then I have been forced to self-publish my books thanks to the poisoning of my reputation with everyone in the legitimate poetry-publishing field—

No doubt the despots at Poetry Magazine have rejoiced these past 6 years over my decline;

how they must relish my downfall and the final ruination of my career:

to know that their vendetta against me has triumphed in the end,

to know that their vicious attacks have finally finished me off.

And their hired assassin, Agent Double O'Rourke? Well, following this


The Paris Review appointed her as an editor.

If anyone reading this is looking for a scheme to boost their career in PoBiz,

I recommend kicking my corpse around: look at what it did for her.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

thoughts on a poem by Traci Brimhall

this is a very good poem in terms of its content, but the form, specifically the linebreaks,
detracts from its effectiveness, i think:—


look at the beginning of it:

Via Dolorosa

We have been telling the story wrong all along,
how a king took Philomela's tongue after he had taken
her body, and how the gods turned her into a nightingale

so she could tell the night of her grief. Even now the streets
wait for her lamentation—strays minister to bones abandoned
on a stoop, a man sleeps on the ghosts of yesterday's heat,

pigeons rest on top of the church and will not stir until
they hear music below them. Inside, a woman warms up
the organ and sings Via Dolorosa about a Messiah

who wanted to save everyone from the wages of pleasure.
But how can I keep a man's fingers from my mouth?
How can I resist bare trees dervishing on the sidewalk?

why not:

We have been telling the story wrong all along,
how a king took Philomela's tongue after
he had taken her body, and how the gods
turned her into a nightingale so she could tell

the night of her grief.  Even now the streets
wait for her lamentation—strays minister
to bones abandoned on a stoop, a man sleeps
on the ghosts of yesterday's heat, pigeons rest

on top of the church and will not stir until
they hear music below them.  / etc.

the poet begins with 12-syllable line, then a 15- , another 15- ,
then a 14- , a 16- , a 14- , a 14- , another 14- , then a 17- , a 14- ,

and then, suddenly, abruptly, back to 12:
 But how can I keep a man's fingers from my mouth? 

—but why?  having established a strong first line, why not stay with it in terms of flow, of feet?

—the soundlinks and pairings are well-done:  the ng-rhymes of telling/wrong/along/king/tongue/nighting,

and the l's: tell/all/along/Phil/mel/gale/tell . . .  and: had/body/gods . .

but if you're doing a brief burst of internal rhymes like had/body/gods, isn't it usually (if not always) better to place them in the same line:

he had taken her body, and how the gods

—but it seems as if the poet's ear hasn't even attended to sounds like those, and can hear instead only the hard t's: tell/story/took/tongue/taken/turned/night/tell/night— 

hitting your reader on the head repeatedly can be effective at times, i guess, but the crudeness of the measure is counterproductive in assisting the subtle plot-thrusts and turns in this poem—


(the dash between 'lamentation' and 'strays' should be a colon, by the way)— 

i think the clunkiness of "he had taken" in Brimhall's second line is just terrible—and the following lines also feel forced and awkward in their extrusive lengthiness—

ah, well.  the content, as i say, is very good, awfully good, extremely good,

and perhaps that compensates for the ineptitude of the form—


Sunday, August 7, 2011

you gotta be kidding

"I think Bill Knott is a great poet, one of my favorite American poets of the second half of the 20th century. I also think he’s incredibly important: important in the sense of very influential. I see his influences on heaps of poets. Yet, Bill Knott is also a poet who’s almost never mentioned as an “important poet.” When people mention their “influences,” he’s very seldom on the list, even when he’s an apparent influence. I don’t think that’s an unimportant point to make about Knott: it’s part of his authorship." —Johannes Goranski, Montevidayo blog, May 16, 2011

"[T]he remarkable poet Bill Knott is not the type to win prizes, become the pet of academic critics or cultivate acolytes. But this thorny genius has added to the art of poetry." —Robert Pinsky, Washington Post, 2005

"Bill Knott is our contemporary e.e. cummings . . . . Like cummings, he is brilliant at both micro and macro." —Cindra Halm, Rain Taxi, Fall 2004

"For the past thirty-five years Bill Knott has shown himself to be one of our very best poets and perhaps the most original. . . . I think he is one of the few poets of my generation who will remain with us." —Stephen Dobyns, Harvard Review (Spring 2002)

"Bill Knott is a meld between Gerard Manley Hopkins and MTV, producing poems with the former's violent beauty and the latter's largely ironic postmodern presence." —Mary Jo Bang, Lingua Franca (May 2000)

"Knott was an incredibly important poet to me and still is; I think Bill Knott is a genius and probably the least known great poet in America. It's really kind of pathetic that he's not as well known as he was even thirty years ago because he's even better now." —Thomas Lux, The Cortland Review (August 1999)

"Bill Knott is one of the best poets writing in America. Without question, he is the most original." —Kurt Brown, Harvard Review (Spring 1999)

"Bill Knott is a genius." —Tom Andrews, Ohio Review (1997)

"It is no accident that the major British and American poets of the 19th and 20th century were outsiders. . . . The most original poet of my generation, Bill Knott, is also the greatest outsider."
—Stephen Dobyns, AWP Chronicle (1995)

"Bill Knott is the secret hero of a lot of poets. . . . [P]oets who differ radically from Knott look to his work for the shock of recognizing themselves." —David Kirby, American Book Review (1991)

"Bill Knott's poems . . . are the poems Beckett's Gogo would write if he were among us." —Sharon Dunn, Massachusetts Review (1990)

"[Knott's 'Poems 1963-1988' is] a powerful and original book, a record of one of the most disturbing imaginations of our times. Few people can create a world so completely and concisely as Knott does time and time again." —Kevin Hart, Overland (1990)

"Knott is no parlor poet. His work is the most sharply original of any poet in his generation." —Jim Elledge, Booklist (1989)

"Among people who know his work, Bill Knott is regarded as one of the most original voices in American poetry." —Charles Simic, blurb for Poems 1963-1988 (1989)

"Knott sets up principles far outside most of those we know, and he always writes up to and beyond those standards." —Sandra McPherson, blurb for Outremer (1989)

"Bill Knott is an American original. No one else could have imagined what James Wright once referred to as Bill Knott's 'indispensable poems.'" —Stuart Dischell, Harvard Book Review (1989)

"I think Bill Knott is the best poet in America right now." —Thomas Lux, Emerson Review (1983)

"Bill Knott's first book, 'The Naomi Poems,' published in 1968, established him instantaneously as one of the finest poets in America. Subsequent publications deepened and reinforced that reputation." —Andrei Codrescu, The Baltimore Sun (1983)

"[Knott's poems are] shrouded almost always in the glaring and polluted light William Burroughs foresaw with such brilliance in 'Naked Lunch.' In fact, Knott, Poet of Interzone, is the poet Burroughs seemed to call for in his seminal novel. . . . Knott is one of a handful of original poets working today. His genius suits the times better than any poet I've read . . ." —Robert Peters, Los Angeles Times (1983)

"With the death of Berryman, Knott seems to me to be the chief embodiment in language today of Mallarm√©'s spirit. . . " —John Vernon, Western Humanities Review (1976)

". . . Knott's originality as a poet: he is absurd and classical and surrealist all at once. A marvelously impossible animal." —Paul Zweig, Contemporary Poetry in America (1974)

"At his best, Knott is a kind of surreal classicist. . . . He is already a formidable poet." —Karl Malkoff, Crowell's Handbook of Contemporary American Poetry (1974)

"[Knott's] images are astonishing. Whatever you may think of Knott's poems, they have not been written before by anyone else. . . . Poetry such as this strikes me as extending our awareness." —Louis Simpson, New York Times Book Review (1969)

"Bill Knott is one of the most remarkable poets to appear since James Wright and James Dickey."—Ralph J. Mills, Jr., Poetry (1969)

"I think [Bill Knott] is one of the best poets I know." —James Wright, blurb for The Naomi Poems (1968)

"I think the most significant group of young poets are those published in Choice and The Sixties, and the most impressive of these is certainly William Knott." —Kenneth Rexroth, Harper's Magazine (June 1965)


Friday, August 5, 2011


Seems like there would be a facebook page or an online petition sign-up drive for


but if there is, I couldn't find it.

Add my name to the list demanding that this injustice be rectified.


Edward Hirsch, PoBizPro

MacArthur Genius Fellow Edward Hirsch is a PoBizPro

and one of the worst poets alive.

His poetry is total worthless garbage,

which makes it about average for a MacArthur poet,

since most of the poets who have received the MacArthur

are mediocre at best. With a few exceptions.

But each of them of course is a consummate PoBizPro.