A Taquito

Me to a student: “Gimme an image.”

“An eagle on a cactus in the desert.”

“Now tell me: what food is that image?”

Thinks. “A taquito?”


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Thank You, Poets who KILL!

HUGE thanks to the students from last weekend's online class, "Writing Poems that KILL!!!" When it was over, I felt less afraid of the news, which I attribute it to our group's intrepid, generous, empathetic discussions of fear and the act of sharing our writing. Writing can help our brains process trauma, and our current political climate is a minefield. But afterwards I felt a greater understanding of compulsion in our culture. It felt like I'd cleaned my glasses.

Plus, we got to talk DNA with a retired homicide detective. The process of translating her unimaginable memories into poems is something I'll never forget.

Classes coming up: An Intro to Poetry Writing and Writing Funny ("Humorous"?) Poems.

Here’s one of my fave poems we read in class, by Kim Addonizio

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"Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa" Gets a Deep Reading

“Effigy Mounds,” commissioned by the Academy of American Poets for the "Meet Our Parks" series, appears in my new ms, “Crushing It.”

In his feedback on the book, my friend Alan Michael Parker said, "OK, this poem is WEIRD...even for THIS book." :)

Thank you so much for the close read, Frank Podmore! I’m honored!

Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa, by Jennifer L Knox

If you read last week's blog on Vahni Capildeo, you may be wondering whether a less-structured, less formalist, less obviously-rhyming poem can bear the same level of analytical whatd'y'call, scrutiny, as 'They (May Forget (Their Names (If Let Out)))' did. Okay, in all likelihood you're not wondering that, but I am, so enjoy the next few hundred words...

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Mushrooms....aaaaand meeeeeee!

“Massive chicken of the woods in the cupcake lady’s yard,” Collin texted me on his way to work.

 On the left, hen of the woods; on the right: cupcake lady’s chicken of the woods.

On the left, hen of the woods; on the right: cupcake lady’s chicken of the woods.

I slipped on flop flops, grabbed my adorable mushroom knife, and marched down to the corner where the cupcake lady lives. She sells these amazing cupcakes at the booth next to ours called the Sweet Shoppe at the Ames Main Street Farmers Market. The garage door was open, and she was in a flurry to get to work.

”Hi!” I called out.

”Hi!” she called back but never stopped moving.

“I heard you have a big mushroom in your yard,” I said.


“Do you want it?”

“No!” she declared without a moment’s thought.

I found it on the front lawn, big as a beach ball, blazing like an exploded atomic pumpkin.

“What is that?!?! Where did you find it?!?!” she asked when I held it up to show her.

”On your lawn. It’s a chicken of the woods mushroom. I’ll freeze you a pan of enchiladas. Thanks!”

On the way home, I cut through my favorite hen of the woods spot and found another mother load.

The rain moved in as soon as I walked in the door. Whatever happens next, it’s a good day.

This is a chapter about mushrooms and mycophiles from the culinary biography I’m working on.

This is a story in the Des Moines Register about the Prairie State Mushroom Banquet I co-hosted with my friend and mushroom sensei, Barbara Ching.

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Saltlickers in the Ames Tribune!

“I’m in poetry for the money.” I like to tell that joke before I read to a crowd because it’s so obviously ridiculous.

When I lived in New York for 14 years after obtaining my MFA in poetry writing, I couldn’t afford to teach in an adjunct capacity, as I do now. So I worked in communications as a writer and graphic designer. It was a job I’d had before grad school that engaged me creatively (I’ve loved commercials and advertising since I was a kid) although I NEVER had a client who wanted to do anything creative.

So when I started making seasoning salts as holiday gifts in 2012, I had no idea that one day, I’d be my own client. And I’d get to do whatever I wanted. And that people would like it! Amazing!

It feels so good to know that all the time I put in learning about that world has paid off—not just monetarily, but creatively, as well. No work is wasted.

Salts with funky names and incredible seasoning combinations are being made in Nevada

A Nevada couple has taken salt to a whole new level.With catchy names like "Das Bigfoot," "Gorilla, Gorilla" and - you may want to just whisper this one - "French Tickler," Saltlickers has been catching the eye, and taste buds, of farmers' market shoppers in both Des Moines and Ames this summer.Owners of the business, which is run out of their commercial home-based kitchen in Nevada, Jennifer Knox, 50, and her husband Collin Switzer, 54,

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