"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...

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.

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,

Burt Reynolds, RIP

"Why does Burt Reynolds remind me of you? You have a poem, no?"  Trish texts.

"Several!" I replied.

"Did you see he just died :("

Then my phone lit up with text after text.

"Burt Reynolds has left the building."

Burt in the Blood-by Jennifer L. Knox

A poet friend of mine asked if I was going to blog about poetry, since it is the BAP blog, afterall. But to me that feels a little like talking about corgis, to a corgi. Today I wanna to chase sheep. Scoliosis and bipolar disorders run like rabid squirrels between the twining branches of my family trees.

  Charles Browning  based the painting on the cover of my last book on Burt's 1972 Cosmo bearskin rug photoshoot.

Charles Browning based the painting on the cover of my last book on Burt's 1972 Cosmo bearskin rug photoshoot.




A Mini Interview: Part One

Thanks, Thomas White, for asking me to do this mini interview! The full discussion will come out in four parts, every Friday, for a month. Cool idea!

Jennifer L. Knox : part one

Jennifer L. Knox is the author of four books of poems. Her poetry has appeared four times in the Best American Poetry series as well as in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and American Poetry Review.

IBOM essay in the July/Aug APR!

Thank you, The American Poetry Review and Elizabeth Scanlon, for giving the perfect home to my essay on Iowa Bird of Mouth, featuring original art by Polyphony Bruna and Norbert Sarfield.

IMG_1139 3.jpg

And speaking of thank yous: Vaughan Ashlie Fielder, Iowa Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Tyler Harms, Barbara Ching, KHOI Community Radio, Ames Public Library, Akwi Nji, Nicholas Manjoine, Colleen Bradford Krantz, Tracy Bohush, Ronna Lawless, Kathranne Knight, Larassa Kabel, Heidi Wiren Bartlett, Juan Felipe Herrera, David Lehman, Kwame Dawes, Iowa Young Birders, Story County Conservation, State Historical Society of Iowa, Jess Lancial, Erica Place, Jim Pease, Claire Krüesel, Heather Derr Smith, Molly McDonald, Meg Johnson, Nate Logan, Steve Rose, Iowa Raptor Project, Catherine Esposito Prescott, Iowa Youth Writing Project, Ames Tribune, Charity Nebbe and Iowa Public Radio, Cam Roberts, and all the fabulous poets who threw down and soc med IBOMers. That was FUN!

A review of The Pickling Poet on the Best American Poetry blog!

This was so much fun to write, but even funner(er?) to try the amazing pickles, jams and honey from The Pickling Poet! Thank you, Stacey Harwood-Lehman, for thinking of me!

A Peck of Pickles and Poetry [review of "The Pickling Poet" by Jennifer L. Knox]

As a poet and cook, the pickle/poetry connection is obvious to me. A poem preserves a moment. No matter what emotion of that moment (wonder, surprise, grief, love, etc.), in its preserved poem form, we can turn it over in our hands and watch the light pass through it.

Drinking Down The Thin Man

Collin and I won last summer's Ames Library pub crawl. I got to say my favorite line all night: "Pardon me, I don't normally look this way—I've been Christmas shopping." Collin sweated through that acetate smoking jacket. Perhaps something cooler this year..."Lord of the Flies"? All we'll need is a conch shell and tattered British school boy uniforms.


Hear me! Hear me! An Interview on Yale Radio!

Here's a little interview I just did with Brainerd Carey for WYBC Yale Radio! Thank you for having me on, Brainerd!

Jennifer L. Knox

Jennifer L. Knox is the author of four books of poems. Her work has appeared four times in the Best American Poetry series, as well as in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and American Poetry Review last summer.

2018 Ames Community Arts Council Awards


I'm honored be named the 2018 Bill Pelz Arts Advocacy Award winner by the Ames Community Arts Council. "The award is for that person who generates enthusiasm for Ames arts events by taking every opportunity to promote and encourage participation at any and all levels: as an audience member, as a performer or as a behind-the-scenes volunteer." Thank you, Jim Coppoc, for the nomination and ACAC for spotlighting area arts and artists!

The 2018 ceremony will be Sunday, April 22, 1:30 p.m. at Octagon Center for the Arts. t's free and open to the public. Afterwards, let's go sing some karaoke or something!

"Bill Pelz was one of Ames’ most enthusiastic arts advocates.  During his tenure as Mayor of Ames from 1974-1975, he hosted the first fund raising event for ACTORS to obtain its building on Abraham Drive.  As mayor, Bill created the Ames Community Arts Council.  Today there are six board members and six representatives of member organizations.  Originally this body acted as an advisory group to the city council for funding arts organizations with revenue sharing funds available from the federal government.  Then and now ACAC serves as a coordinating and advocacy organization for the arts in Ames."