Thursday, January 29, 2015

Celebrating Jennifer L. Knox: Happy birthday to the poet laureate of Bloof!

Jennifer L. Knox is the first poet Bloof published. She's one of reasons we exist. We've done three books with her so far, and have another one on the way. She's a brilliant poet (duh), performer (OMG), and a ton of fun on a road trip. Wildly swerving and unflaggingly absurd, Jen's poems are just as likely as she is to get pulled over for "erratic operation of a vehicle" in North Dakota.

Today is her birthday. We love her, and so do you. We stealthily passed this card around the office yesterday.

Happy birthday, Knoxie! 



There are few things she loves more than watching the ASL person interpret her poems on the fly at a reading. If only there was video of that interpeter signing "Everything Melted in a Really Weird Way." —Adam Detusch

Two words. Chicken Bucket. —Laura Cherry

Chicken Bucket 4ever —Michael Nicoloff

I first fell in love with her when I read "Hot Ass Poem." —Jaimie Nagle

"Hot *^^ Poem". I te*ch it Every. ^ingle. ^eme^ter. —Metta S├íma (whose keyboard is broken)

She signed my book, "Good luck in prison." —Laura Carter

THIS. —Stephen Caratzas

Long car poemSandra Simonds

"I'm not used to doing readings in libraries.
I've never been in a library.
That's why my poems are like this." 
—that time we read in a library, as recalled by Shanna Compton

Jennifer Knox has hung out in Benton, Kentucky. That's right. Benton. Benton is near Possum Trot. She has probably been there too. —Nancy McGuire Roche

"I'm gonna stop and get sausage biscuits. Then, in a little while, we can stop so I can regret my sausage biscuits." 
—in the car one morning as we embarked on a 7-hour drive, somewhere in the South, as recalled by Shanna Compton

"Anomalies of the Female Reproductive System" –Jenn McCreary

I was at the zoo with Jen when she started talking to one of the parrots for an unusually long time. She kept trying to get it to flutter its wings and 'show us your pretty feathers.' I thought she was insane (she was, in fact, flapping her arms up and down) until the bird started to mimick her not only spreading its wings but hopping a little dance on its perch. The two were clearly having a conversation that was perfectly intelligible to both of them. Since that afternoon, I have never ceased being envious of Jen's connection to another, better world. —John Cotter

The time she sed bondo-clogged... uh... what was bondo-clogged? I stole it... BONDO-CLOGGED something hole? So good. —Danielle Pafunda             
[That phrase appears in "Pimp My Ride," another front runner for most-famous Knox poem, published in the New Yorker. Danielle stole (and pimped) the line for one of her own poems in Natural History Rape Museum: "The undead shirk, circle shirk in their Bondo-clogged antennae hole. "]

I wrote "you're really a drag queen" on her poem, and at the bar, as I sat down to a giant plate of fries, she said, "Your metabolism is going to change and I want to be there to watch." We've been besties ever since. —Jason Schneiderman

i've got a lot of great memories of jen and i'd share some but i can't think of which to pick. i just love her. she's just terrific (in every way). —Peter Davis

I don't know Jennifer, but I taught "Chicken Bucket" last semester and had a student who said something to the effect of "that poem just SHOCKED me. I've never read anything *like* that before...(at which point I thought, here we go...super conservative land) and then she said. "Now I feel like I can try anything in a poem! It's given me so much permission." ahhhhhh..... —Marci Nelligan

I really couldn't say which of her poems is my favorite because there's something to love, admire and TOTALLY HATE 'CAUSE IT'S SO GOOD in every one. But I have two briefs tales about Jennifer Knox: when I first moved to Kensington -- a move I didn't want to make, and plus I was having a nervous breakdown and had recently had breast cancer surgery -- she took me on a tour of the Prospect Park South Historic District, which is nearby. We spent a lovely couple of relatively anxiety-free hours looking at the disgustingly beautiful houses and shaking our heads and saying "Crazy … " Then we had lunch and she walked me home. At one point, we stood on a corner and she pointed to her apartment building -- "See that window? That's my window." We exchanged apartment keys, in case of an emergency. I still have her keys. I still remember what she said whenever I'm standing on that corner, and I look at her window. I cried when she moved. Second brief tale: I went to see her read with Jason Schneiderman at the Half King in November 2010, and something from one of her poems gave me an idea for a piece about my sister who had died the year before. Four months later, on March 16, 2011, I read an excerpt of the piece at the Poetry Project. Exactly week later I had the nervous breakdown. I totally blame Jennifer Knox for that. —Sharon Mesmer

You guys both came to my creative writing class taught by Peter Davis. It was one of the most memorable class experiences I had in college, which isn't really saying much, but it's something, right? —Lauren Orto

Which reminds us of this moment: 
"Yeah, uhhh, don't tell your parents we're what made you decide to switch majors." —Jen to Nate Logan 

I don't think Knox suffers as much from the same kind of knee jerk categorizations from the poetry world. Poetry has always been more forgiving of its experimenters than rock will ever be—and Knox is just so good with language and timing that even if the humor might shock the reader, the pitch perfect quality of the writing always shines through. 
—from Charlie Orr's tribute to Jen at Hypothetical Library (read the rest!) 

And to end the festivities on a corgi-related* note: 
Jen was so encouraging when I was a baby poet and taught me to interact with birds and survive a hangover as a medium poet and she is like a balloon made of corgis that plays "The Rainbow Connection" in twinkly midi piano while bored girls chewing bubblegum roller skate in elaborate patterns beneath the balloon's portentous yet oddly comforting and furry shadow. —Maureen Thorson

*Corgis! by Jennifer L. Knox: 


Jeff E. said...

Never forget my advice for the Trampoline Hall lecture: have ten corgis hanging off your legs, but not running down the outside of each leg like the embroidery of a Mariachi costume, but rather encircling both ankles like furry Scandinavian snowboots.

elisabeth workman said...

I am late to the party but can I just say that JK was my gateway drug to Bloof? And that the most animated, passionate conversation I have ever witnessed between students in a poetry class was about A GRINGO LIKE ME. Jen's poetry makes people FEEL THINGS then it makes them FEEL MORE THINGS ABOUT THE THINGS THEY JUST FELT and THE FEELINGS ARE COMPLICATED, like the paroxysmal equivalent of laughing, crying, and peeing yourself at once. Happy bday, lady! Here is a video of Burt Reynolds trying to be you with a 'stache. xo, Elisabeth

elisabeth workman said...

Jaime Corbacho said...

She once told me her spirit animal was a zamboni. She has been my spirit animal since I met her. Love you, Jenny! Jaime

Jaime Corbacho said...

She once told me her spirit animal was a zamboni. She has been my spirit animal since I met her. Love you, Jenny!

Jennifer L Knox said...

My medication has completely wiped out my memory of everything that's happened to me after 2004, so this is especially wonderful to me. Thank you so much, dear friends.