In the past couple of weeks Bill Knott has posted a new book of his poems, which is available for cheap at Lulu.com, as well as even cheaper in the form of free PDF downloads. It’s called A Salt of Seasons: Winter Spring Summer Fall Poems (with an Appendix of “Nature” Poems). Here’s a sample:
The snow on my ladder’s rungs
seems to be stepping upward,
returning to that cloud which hangs
framed in the faded cardboard
of an old calendar landscape
whose dust holds the days I desire
to live in, fixing to climb up
past that summer sun and hammer
the scene in whole. I didn’t haul
my ladder in and now it’s too late—
I turn from the window and stare
lost at a vista of August air
tacked, half-peeled from the kitchen wall.
All the undone chores must wait.
Knott also recently posted a collection in progress, which for now has one of the best titles of all time, Dropping Sylvia Plath on Hiroshima. When he stops noodling around with it I’m sure he’ll put it on Lulu too, but in the meantime it’s well worth reading, even on the eye-stinging screen, even in its unfinished state. Here’s one from the book to ponder:
My bio is buttered by mother, my auto
by father. First, father autobio’d mother,
who then bio’d his auto in her ms. son,
the misery one. Non-bio exploits I abhor
as does every contemporary litterateur
adhered to being, that sole mode: we know
that those who imagine their works not
as me or I should be forced into therapy
made to take psychotropic drugs. No
exceptions are allowed: I too must join
the rest of you in this rendered real, this
overratio of truth to fable, I too must tell
lifelike anecdotal excerpts from my actual
personal past spiced with empirical detail.
Now be honest. Is there anyone in American poetry who sounds even remotely like Knott? And if there is, why aren’t they conspicuously acknowledging their debt to him?