Jennifer Knox publishes fifth book, ‘Days of Shame & Failure’

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Jennifer Knox, lecturer in advanced communication in the Department of English, has published her fourth book of poems, Days of Shame & Failure, a collection of "darkly hilarious poetry."

She’ll be touring in support of her book at the Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City, IA on October 6. In addition, she’ll make stops at the Twin Cities Festival in Minneapolis, MN; the Lit Crawl in Portland, OR; the Bryan Park Series in New York, NY; and more (scheduling is in progress).

Knox’s work has appeared four times in the Best American Poetry series as well as The New Yorker, The New York Times, American Poetry Review, The Los Angeles Time Book Review and McSweeney’s.

The following review was provided by Bloof Books, Knox’s publisher:

From the comedic genius behind "Chicken Bucket" and "Pimp My Ride" comes a new book of poems to palpate the innumerable tender indignities of existence — humiliation, remorse, chagrin, grief, and between-state emotions so complex they’d require long hyphenated compound modifiers to describe them.

Bloof Books considers Jennifer L. Knox our very own poet laureate and our primary reason for being. (No lie: we started the press just to keep her first book, A Gringo Like Me, in print forever.) Which means we couldn’t be more delighted to announce the publication of Days of Shame & Failure, Knox’s fourth book of poems. In Days of Shame & Failure, she offers up another volume darkly hilarious poetry—ranging stylistically through dramatic monologues (her specialty), elegies for the departed, cheek-redding confessions of failure, goofy theme songs, televised antiques appraisals, romantic-revenge dreams, and more—wildly careening between the temporary highs and enduring lows of the Average American Human Condition.

Praise for Days of Shame and Failure

"It’s hard to resist using a game show announcer’s voice when discussing Jennifer Knox’s latest collection, Days of Shame and Failure. Knox knows how to draw human complexity out of absurdity and kitsch (and vice versa) without positioning herself above it. She is one of us, sharing our fear and wonder, and we feel this sense of community as if there were five million other viewers—a spin on Whitman’s ‘multitudes’—watching along with us to see how she makes it out of each lyrically harrowing poem. Is that camp? Is it satire? Who cares! ‘Whatever it is,’ as one poem reports, it gives me ‘a real, really felt feeling,’ and that’s what I’m a sucker for every time." — Gregory Pardlo

"Jennifer L. Knox is one of our funniest writers, but what places her work in a realm of its own is the empathy that surrounds, contradicts, and occasionally undermines the joke, sending us far beyond the punch line. Written from the far edge of vast experience, these poems lyricize the post-beatdown quality of middle age. The marvelously capacious Days of Shame and Failure is the work of a genius at her peak, the best book yet from one of our most brilliant and sui generis American writers." —Sarah Manguso

"I can’t with Ms. Knox. I simply cannot. I can’t fight the way she twists a world I thought I knew into rambunctious and revelatory word disco. I cannot resist the dizzying amount of real that comes blazing in every time one of these sizzling stanzas rips off my blinders. I cannot imagine what the inside of her head must be like, all tango and blaring and pinball, locked in its relentless churn. I can’t believe that mere covers were able to contain this tender, this snorting laughter, these rampant truths. I cannot with Ms. Jennifer. But I did. I will. And you should." —Patricia Smith