Bill Knott is probably the closest thing the American poetry establishment has to a rebel. Over the course of his career he has published with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, BOA Editions, and Random House, but his most recent books are all self-published. Among them, Collected Poems 1960–2013 is a coffee-table-sized edition; its contents were simultaneously (and briefly) made available in their entirety on Knott’s website before it was taken down, along with poems from a smaller but still considerable collection, New Poems from the Last Six Years. Because they are as cheaply produced as possible, and promoted only by Knott himself, the new books (containing no index or table of contents) stand as a kind of rebuke to the gorgeously produced, deckle-edged volumes from major publishers, and also to the often fetishistically beautiful volumes by smaller presses. They are brutal packages for an often exquisite art.
Friday, January 24, 2014
Why isn't Bill Knott better known? John Cotter has part of the answer, at least, at the Poetry Foundation.