For my Thursday post at Bookslut this week, I’ve got an interview with the astonishing Jennifer L. Knox about her new book, Drunk by Noon. Here’s a taste:
It’s obligatory, I think, to describe your poems’ humor as transgressive. What’s uncanny about them is their precise knowledge of our national id–my favorite example of this is when you translate the cliched phrase, “blood on my hands,” with “or worse: dead kids / stuffed in the reeds–sans underpants.” It’s like a root canal for our national fascination with child sexual abuse. Do you see your humor as having a particular point or agenda?
I’m interested in people who do and say stupid, insane or compulsive things, and finding respect for them despite that. I’m not interested in pointing out how wrong people are—-even the President-—it’s way too easy—-like watching Cops. Take the biggest yahoo on Dr. Phil and discover your common humanity. The dark side’s real, and it’s something to stand against. But nobody is all one thing. I was in a class with Gerald Stern who said that every human being-—unless they were raised in a cage or got kicked in the head-—has the standard set of feelings that everybody else has: hate, love, fear, loneliness, hunger, etc. He said, “Adolph Hitler was a vegetarian who loved his dogs. In other words, he was a man who cared deeply about the sanctity of life.”
Definitely read the whole thing!