I Am Flying into Myself by Bill Knott
Selected Poems, 1960-2014

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...whatever else they’ll say about Knott, this book will also prove that he cared deeply about humanity and wrote, in part, to make all of life’s bitter turns more bearable.
-LA Times

Synopsis

A selection of Bill Knott’s life work―testimony of his enduring, “thorny genius” (Robert Pinsky)

Going to sleep, I cross my hands on my chest.
They will place my hands like this.
It will look as though I am flying into myself.

For half a century, Bill Knott’s brilliant, vaudevillian verse electrified the poetic form. Over his long career, he studiously avoided joining any one school of poetry, preferring instead to freewheel from French surrealism to the avant-garde and back again―experimenting relentlessly and refusing to embrace straightforward dialectics. Whether drawing from musings on romantic love or propaganda from the Vietnam War, Knott’s quintessential poems are alive with sensory activity, abiding by the pulse and impulse of a pure, restless emotion. This provocative, playful sensibility has ensured that his poems have a rare and unmistakable immediacy, effortlessly crystalizing thought in all its moods and tenses.

An essential contribution to American letters, I am Flying into Myself gathers a selection of Knott’s previous volumes of poetry, published between 1960 and 2004, as well as verse circulated online from 2005 until a few days before his death in 2014. His work―ranging from surrealistic wordplay to the anti-poem, sonnets, sestinas, and haikus―all convenes in this inventive and brilliant book, arranged by his friend the poet Thomas Lux, to showcase our American Rimbaud, one of the true poetic innovators of the last century.

I Am Flying into Myself: Selected Poems, 1960-2014 celebrates one of poetry’s most determined outsiders, a vitally important American poet richly deserving of a wider audience.

 

About Bill Knott

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Bill Knott was born in Carson City, Michigan, in 1940 and died in Bay City, Michigan, in 2014. His first book, The Naomi Poems, was written under the pen name St. Geraud (1940–1966) and published to great acclaim in 1968. Between 1968 and 2004, he published eleven full-length books of poems. He taught at Emerson College in Boston for twenty-five years. Thomas Lux has published fourteen books of poetry and one book of nonfiction. He is Bourne Professor of Poetry at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He lives in Atlanta.
 
Published February 14, 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 256 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for I Am Flying into Myself
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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Kathleen Rooney on Apr 07 2017

Now, thanks to the release of the remarkable “I Am Flying Into Myself: Selected Poems, 1960-2014,” readers have access in one place to what the collection’s editor — Knott’s friend the poet Thomas Lux, who himself died in February — calls “Knott’s high imagination, great skills, singular music and crazy-beautiful heart.”

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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Craig Teicher on Feb 13 2017

...whatever else they’ll say about Knott, this book will also prove that he cared deeply about humanity and wrote, in part, to make all of life’s bitter turns more bearable.

Read Full Review of I Am Flying into Myself: Sele... | See more reviews from LA Times
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