A GRINGO LIKE ME (Bloof Books, 2005)

Borrowing its title from an Ennio Morricone ditty in the spaghetti western Gunfight at Red Sands, Knox’s A Gringo Like Me contains poems at once raucous and sexy, tender and high. In favorites such as “Hot Ass Poem,” “Cruising for Prostitutes,” and “Chicken Bucket,” Knox’s speakers appear ornery, hickish, undereducated, misogynist, or worse, but each quirky character manages to elucidate a truth we’re better off knowing, even if we’d rather forget it. At other times, Knox’s lyrical “I” is downright pretty; in poems like “A Common American Name” and “Freckles” she charms.

Knox has collected dramatic monologues, personal lyrics, and even plays together in a single energetic volume for a genuinely surprising debut. Between the poles of her unique range, Knox straddles and tames what she may yet prove to be an artificial divide in American poetry: she’s a former slam champion, but also a three-time contributor to The Best American Poetry; she’s hilarious and performative on stage, but also deeply intellectual and formally in control.  

Reviews: Columbia Journal of American Studies | Southeast Review