Celebrate Poetry


can be

the magic


which you say

you want,

but only

if you


stand willing

to pull

that rug out


from under

your own

feet, daily.   Bill Knott (1940-2014)


In this week’s Sunday NY Times Book Review, Kathleen Rooney critiqued “Selected Poems, 1960-2014” by Bill Knott. I wasn’t familiar with his poetry, but the  April 3 edition of the New Yorker also reviewed his work. From these two sources (and the excerpts printed in each review) I became curious. As April is poetry month, I thought learning more about Mr. Knott and his work would be an endeavor worth pursuing.

Knott was brilliant but morbid and an eccentric to boot. In 1968 he published (under the pseudonym Saint Geraud)  “the Naomi Poems: Corpse and Beans”.  Towards the end of his life, he self-published collections via Amazon. A friend and colleague of Knott’s has just released a collection through Farrar, Straus & Giroux:  “I Am Flying into Myself: Selected Poems, 1960-2014” which I have just ordered. From the reviews in both publications I am expecting a roller coaster ride through (as Rooney says: “free verse, strict rhyme and meter, with subject matter zany yet poignant, romance, terror, and hilarity.”)

I admire poets, and though I have written “poems” myself, I don’t consider myself to be a poet. Love of language notwithstanding, I lack the ability to communicate that “shock of recognition” that true poets exhibit. Yet, I persist. Why? I guess I want what Bill Knott suggests is possible—that stamina “to pull /that rug out/ from under/ [my] own/ feet daily.” Instead, I’m more like the speaker in another of Knott’s short poems “Security.”

If I had a magic carpet

I’d keep it

Floating always

Right in front of me

Perpendicular, like a door.

April just may be the month (the cruelest month?) to try again.




6 thoughts on “Celebrate Poetry

  1. A very appealing post you shared this morning, Diane. I am not familiar with Knott’s work either, but you have piqued my interest. I, too, am more of a security person and I do consider myself a poet, but I’ll take a risk and publish my thoughts in a format that works for me. I’m hoping you’ll share more about Knott once your book arrives!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I did not know this poet, Diane. I found everything so interesting and will have to read more. You are making me think I should at least order the weekend editions of the New York Times. We get the Inquirer every day and yet…. I love the idea of a magical carpet – like a door you can walk through. So tempting and so unique! I think your poem is wonderful! Keep writing!


  3. I have always marveled at how poets can say so much with just a few well chosen words…a talent I do not possess. I don’t know this poet, but your post has gotten me curious. I will need to check him out.


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