Jennifer L. Knox

What’s your genre?

Are you published?
Traditional publisher
Indie press published

What inspired you to become a writer?
Growing up, I loved drawing, painting, making sculptures, taking pictures, cooking, singing, and playing clarinet in the marching band. My first major in college was theater; after one year, I switched to fine arts. Eventually, poetry had its turn, and I was hooked. The immediacy of it was like visual art or food. You could perform it like music, or a theatrical monologue, or both! And best of all, a poem didn’t have to be true.

What author do you admire and how have they inspired your writing?
There are so many. Kimiko Hahn’s book TOXIC FLORA shaped several poems in my most recent book. Hahn explores the most subjective subjects using the seemingly objective language and tone of science communication. Her poem, “Butterflies,” begins with a seemingly impersonal description of butterflies that one might find in the Encyclopedia Britannica, but by the end, she has landed somewhere deeply personal—and shocking because it’s so personal. The amount of ground Hahn covers as she moves through the poem astounds me. Every step feels so solid, yet where she lands is a complete surprise.

Name three of your favorite books and their authors
Anything by Alice Munro
Popular Longing by Natalie Shapero
The Worshipful Company of the Fletchers by James Tate

What one piece of advice would you give to a budding writer?
There are two steps in the process: writing and editing. Writing is when you talk to yourself. Editing is when your writing talks to others. Don’t be afraid to plant yourself in the first part of the process and write things that aren’t for other people. Write with a pencil on paper. Studies show that, much like REM sleep, writing with a pencil connects the hemispheres of your brain and exercises areas that are affected by trauma.

Author Bio
Jennifer L. Knox is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently, Crushing It. Knox received her bachelor’s from the University of Iowa, and her master’s of fine arts in poetry writing from New York University. Her poems have appeared five times in the “Best American Poetry” series, and in publications such as the New York Times, The New Yorker and American Poetry Review.

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