Sunday, May 20, 2012


repost from 01/01/07


Once they get to a certain age, poets should be put to sleep; I don't mean all poets, not real poets, successful poets: but poets like me, second-raters, third-raters, whether run of the mill SOQhack like me or superannuated avant, we should get it in the neck. Our poems are already dead; we might as well follow.

Because what's the point. We're not going to write anything important now: I'm not going to, that's for sure. I'm through, I know it. Why hang on and keep going through the motions, which is all I'm doing now as anyone can see who reads the work I've posted here on this blog  . . . 

But there should be an easy out for old poets who've failed. A graceful goodbye, a painless dispensation. We should be helped to put ourselves away quietly. A "terminal dosage" should appear on our doorsill from some anonymous generous patron of the arts, to honor not our accomplishment but our sustained devotion to the bright cause.  

We don't deserve a prize for our lifelong failed poetic attempts, but surely by those laborious efforts we have at least earned a charitable bottle of sleepingpills! The American Academy of Arts and Letters could spare an OD, don't you think?

Is it too much to ask the Poetry Society of America and the Academy of American Poets to help euthanize the exits of old failed poets like me? Can't they set up a discretionary fund, an in-house Hemlock Society, to assist and sponsor such acts of mercy? If they had hearts they would.

Seriously, with all the millions the Poetry Foundation has, Christian Wiman can't take a little of that money and establish an Euthanasia outreach program for extinctist poets like me?
Expunge us from the scene. Wipe us off the screen. We're (I'm) just taking up space and attention that would otherwise and should indeed be going to younger poets.

I'm just taking up space a younger poet should be filling. My job, my publisher(s), my readership (all 12 of them) should be going to that younger viable poet.
Can no one hear us old failed poets begging for surcease? "Put me out of my misery" we whimper. Have pity on us. Is there no kind Benefactor who will aid our quietus, who will press into our hand the nepenthean vial?
(The CIA issues suicide pills to its agents. . . the CIA used to fund under-the-table most USA artistic institutions. . . why can't someone from the myriad Academies of American Coldwar Culture call up their former or current conduits in the CIA and say, Hey we got all these old failed poets cluttering up the mis en scene, can't you lend us some "escape-capsules" to help us delete this mess. . . The Academy of American Poets could benefit AmerPo most by scoring cyanide cocktails for terminal poets like me. . . .)
The CEO of Home Depot just retired with a 210 million dollar payout. I wasn't the CEO of PoBiz Inc, I was only a minor clog in the company: I don't expect 210 million, but can't they at least give me a crummy bottle of barbituates, some goodbye-Bill pills to ease my demise?! 

If everybody reading this would scrounge their medicine cabinet and vouchsafe me a tab or two. Or if only some wealthy patron of the arts would find it in their hearts to mercifully anonymously endow me with the Terminal Sedation that would balm and dose me to a close.
All I'm asking is that the Academy of American Poets requisition a supply of suicide capsules from its bosses at the C.I.A., and issue one to me. And to other elderly poets who likewise seek a quick demise. The AAP should be ashamed and blamed that it does not offer this most humanitarian of services to the poetry community.

(In asserting my civil right to end my life when and as how I choose, I may be transgressing the social norms, which of course poets have never done!

It seems to me that poets especially should appreciate and support this right. I'm not excluding other vocations, sculptors for example could receive such benefits from the Sculptors League, and etcet for every field of endeavor, but I demand that the Poetic Institutions should aid poets particularly in this matter. 

I demand their patronage at this acme of climacteric: they owe me (and needless to say, all other poets like me, we who have overpaid our lives into that metaphorical fund devotionally and are now due our parting pension) that much, they owe me this assisted demise.
This bequeath of death.

I can of course do it via the usual violent methods, but I feel that as a poet I deserve a painless deliverance granted by the Academy of American Poets or the Poetry Society of America or the Poetry Foundation or the Ingram Merrill Foundation or the heiratic Bollingen or similar munificent endowers of poetic endeavor—

Or is it hopeless to expect succor from such evil and corrupt bodies? Must poets form their own self-help groups, auto-euthanistic societies. If those malevolent cabals listed above will not help poets in this quest, must I turn to poets themselves and beg for their individual or collective mercies . . .
I can attend poetry readings with a sign around my neck asking for contributions of the right prescription strength . . . I can write pleas to famous poets begging them to scrape their medicine cabinets for a bolus of panacea, a perk of peace ...

Yes it would be useless of me to protest picket the offices of the Academy of American Poets et al, though I will continue to proclaim that they are in arrears to me, that they are obligated to accord me this compensatory quittance in return for my lifetime of service.)


Thursday, May 17, 2012

through the motions

postscript to this post: 
I notice that Four Way Books has this submission window coming up at the end of this month—
maybe I should send the "Selected" to them as well as Field, though of course they won't take it either, will they, ha ha—

The June Reading Period

Submissions accepted June 1 - 30

Poetry and short fiction

For a book-length collection of poetry written in English, regardless of publication history. We will also read short story collections, and consider novellas of between 80 - 200 pages (or thereabouts).
Publication and a reading in NYC.
$28.00 reading fee.
Submit online or by mail between June 1 - June 30. Guidelines will be posted at the end of May.

For over a decade now I have given my books away free, 

either printing them myself at home and mailing them out to libraries and poetry "centers" and MFA programs and bookstores,

and or posting them onto as free downloadable ebooks,

and what have I gotten for my efforts?  You know: Nothing but contempt and disdain.  

I am a laughingstock to everybody in the world of poetry, an object of ridicule, a pariah

sneered at and spat on by all.  

I know that in the little time I have left to live I will never be able to attain any dignity or sense of self-worth, 

and that I will die in this ignominy and shame.

And sending my worthless "books" out to these contests and publishers is an utterly stupid and hopeless effort, as futile and foolish as my failed attempts in the field of poetry have always been . . .


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

way it goes

I paid the fee and submitted my "Selected Poems 1960-2012" to the book contest at Oberlin,
and just got this email back:

Dear Bill Knott,

Thank you for entering SELECTED POEMS 1960-2012 in the 2012 FIELD Poetry Prize contest. All entries will be read carefully by the editors of Oberlin College Press. The contest winner will be announced later this summer on our website.

Your subscription to FIELD will begin with the fall issue.

Best wishes,

The Editors 


Well, they won't take it, of course.   The fee pays for a year's subscription to FIELD magazine, so I guess it's not a complete loss of money.

But they won't choose me for the prize.  I never won any book contest I entered, and this won't be any different.

Everybody and their shit knows I've been blacklisted by the glucklords and seidelcrats and hasshitlers at AmeriPoBiz Inc, I'm persona non grata: no legitimate publisher like Oberlin will touch a pariah like me.

Way it goes.


postscript, 05/23/12: 
today I asked Oberlin to withdraw and delete my "Selected" manuscript from the contest, and they very kindly complied with my request.  I should never have submitted anything in the first place, because there could never be any chance of my success in such a venture.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Do you know this anthol:

  • Contemporary American Poetry, 8th Edition
  • A. Poulin, Jr. - Late of State University of New York, College at Brockport
  • Michael Waters - Salisbury University
  • ISBN-10: 0618527850  ISBN-13: 9780618527854 
  • 720 Pages  Paperback 

Contemporary American Poetry, the 8th Edition, published 2006 by Wadsworth Publishing Company. 

The paperback list price is $119.95, though you can get it on Amazon for less.

One hundred and nineteen dollars and ninety-five cents.

Its editors are listed as A. Poulin, Jr. and Michael Waters, though Poulin's been dead well over a decade now, the last edition he did was I think the 6th, published in 1996.  Waters has edited the last two editions by himself (though he may have retained some of Poulin's picks).

A new version of this anthology used to be published every five years, but no 9th edition has appeared, and this 8th from 2006 is still in print (I copied the image above from the Wadsworth online catalog just minutes ago—)

I wonder if this is still read in schools today—Are any higher-ed courses in poetry using this anthology?  

The 7th edition came out in 2001. 

And I was in the 7th edition!—

Yes, there I was, right after the Pulitzer Prize winning poets Kinnell and Kizer,

and right before the Pulitzer Prize winning poets Komunyakaa and Kumin,

there was the Knotthead with several pages of pokey little poems,

and everybody who looked at that suspicious insert surely said:

'Now how the fuck did that weako sneak in there between those REAL poets, those PULITZER poets?'

However it happened, I was in the 7th edition. For half a decade, I was part of "Contemporary American Poetry."

I was included! After so many years of excludedness, I was in. In the 7th edition.

But I ain't in the 8th. 

Anyway, there I was, for one bright shining hour (okay, five years), right in the midst of those authentic poets as if I was one of them somehow.

It was like a TV reality show (American Poetry Idol) where they pluck some schmuck out of nowhere

and suddenly he's sharing the screen with allstars whose plaque in the sidewalk he's not fit to lick.


Monday, May 7, 2012


appreciation of a Rutger Kopland poem

this and my other "appreciations" have been transferred 

to the 'good' prose blog (see top link sidebar)

appreciation of a Camille Martin sonnet—

this and the other "appreciations" have been transferred 

to the 'good' prose blog (see top link sidebar)

appreciation of a Carol Ann Duffy poem

this and the other "appreciations" have been transferred 

to the 'good' prose blog (see top link sidebar)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

some thoughts on "Another Elegy" by Jericho Brown:

this and the other "appreciations" have been transferred 

to the 'good' prose blog (see top link sidebar)

Friday, May 4, 2012

too many

Are you reading this as outraged and offended as I am by the weekly postings by Anis Shivani et al about how horrible it is that there are so many poets, 

oh there are too many poets these experts ubiquitously complain, Marjory Perloff this past week for a recent example—

Too many poets?  Too many poets!?— Are these people out of their fucking minds?—

I can think of lots of occupations there are too many of, every position in the military for a start: there are too many marines and too many bomber pilots and fighter pilots and drone-missile technicians, and too many infantry soldiers and too many of any kind of combat soldiers, and too many navy warship sailors, etc.,

but too many poets?  Really?   Compared to what?   How about the clergy, the priests of any every bloody religion polluting this planet: to me personally as an atheist, one of those assholes is too many.

Too many politicians, too many millionaires and billionaires (whose wealth in a just society would be returned, reparationed to the masses they robbed it from), 

but too many poets?  There can never be too many poets, there will never be too many poets in this world.   

But consider this:

Shivani Perloff and similar decrying criticrats are in essence advocating genocide against poets.  

That's their real message. 

To whom are these diatribes addressed?  They are subliminal petitions directed at the police-state officials, the FBI CIA National Guard et al,

urging those agencies to raise their yearly quotas for the murder of poets.

Shivani Perloff and their ilk in the Lit Establishment are imploring governmental authorities to institute pogroms to kill poets (or rather, kill more poets than usual),

to exterminate the vermin plague of poets, to eradicate this pestilent verse menace.

That's the hidden agenda behind their endless propaganda attacks against us.

That's their secret mission. 


Some future headlines for this Final Solution:

Tea Party designates May 1st as annual "Kill a Poet for Christ Day."

Romney campaign pledges "A Guantanamo in every state" if poet census does not subside.

Congress vows to stop poets "Before they reach MFA doors."