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)