Sunday, November 12, 2006

Jen Knox Interview

"This is no big revelation, but funny, dirty poems--which account for about one-third of the book--aren't well accepted by academic presses. I've actually had people tell me they don't like funny poems. Period. It's weird to me, but it's not a rare opinion. My thesis advisor at NYU told me that no contest judge would ever go out on a limb for me--that no one would risk their professional reputation on poems that were profane, scatological, and blasphemous. He was absolutely right. But still I kept trying the contest route.

I thought I was cleverly "tailoring" the manuscript to fit the tastes of the different presses. I would take out all the really dirty, funny poems for things like the Three Lesbians Press First Annual Global Anti-Torture First Book Award. Over time, the manuscript became more and more anemic. . . .

. . . Now I know I wasn't really hiding my hot ass from judges at Three Lesbians Press, or the Harpoon Prize Southern Alaska Community College Northeast. Those presses all knew a hot ass was hiding in there, and they didn't want it hanging out of their catalog. You can't hide the shape of your soul, or lack of it."


At 10:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the link to her interview. She's a great poet.

At 9:11 AM, Blogger Collin said...

Knox rocks...and I do mean hard. I love reading an interview with a poet who doesn't take themselves so damn seriously. I love funny, dirty poems (they are actually my specialty as well), so I totally get the whole contest issue. That's why contests bore me and I seek other routes for publication. Thanks for posting this, Reb.

At 10:02 AM, Blogger Radish King said...

The academic presses don't like dirty poetry? I'm fucked!


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