DAYS OF SHAME AND FAILURE
(Bloof Books, 2015)
"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, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for DIGEST
"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, winner of the for Rebekah Bobbitt Prize for SHOULDA BEEN JIMI SAVANNAH & National Poetry Slam Champion
"When I'm asked why people should love poetry, I often point to the darkly funny, brutal poetry of Jennifer L. Knox and say, 'There is your reason, asshole. Right there. I dare you to read those poems and not be brought to your knees.' Days of Shame and Failure is her best work yet: potent with heart-sickening truth, humor and observation that will take us all from being on our knees, to face planting on the ground, kissing this good Earth with gratitude that such a poet exists in our time."
—AMBER TAMBLYN, author of DARK SPARKLER
"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, author of ONGOINGNESS