Shadows & Starlight

—Indian Paintbrush Poetry, 2012

In the penultimate poem of this collection, “Poet as Shaman,” Knoepfle, like Prospero, relinquishes his magic, the art of poetry: “now as I conclude // my part in this revel beginning my ending here,” while claiming for poetry the ability to illuminate, to place in perspective, the five hundred billion galaxies and recover a sense of awe at their brilliance: “but the poet can do this for you // as I drift to my own ending // he can leave you with those first stars.” Just as Prospero, Knoepfle saves his best magic for last.”

Brian Leroy Jackson

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Artist & Poet

"Writing Poems is hard human work. It is a matter of many failures and of successes that must be seriously qualified. I write poems because this is what I am able to do. In my poetry I try to reflect a common quality that I have found in persons as diverse as Ohio River raftsmen and expatriate professors. This quality does not reveal the aesthetically beautiful or the diamond-like intellectual fireworks that man is capable of, but it does reveal something basic and handsome about him. I like this handsomeness, and I try to discover it again in my poems."

picture of John in the Illinois Wetlands
John in the Illinois wetlands