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Shadows And 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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Walking in Snow

—Indian Paintbrush Poetry, 2008

This book reads as a meditation on the passage of time. There is a strong undercurrent of the poet’s awareness of his own mortality and there is still childlike wonder... Wherever the journey has been, whatever it will be, whether we “sit on a bench with old men” or “make footprints where there are none,” John Knoepfle’s own steady hands have drawn us a map that we are fortunate to have.”

Carol Manley

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I Look Around for my Life

—Pearn and Associates, 2008

Knoepfle writes a clear and restrained prose. The book reads swiftly but pauses for bits of lovely detail. About a visit to Ohio’s Great Serpent Mound: “The two of us could stretch out with our heads propped on the flank of the good serpent, entertained by an excitement of indigo buntings and yellow warblers.”. . . Of particular interest is John’s pursuit of the stories of river men on the Ohio and Mississippi, recording priceless oral history of a now vanished group well before there was a name for this activity. Another notable part is the description of John’s time in the Navy and the vagaries of that institution, especially after John was wounded, when he was still held in the service but not serving. He managed to squeeze in a couple of degrees during that frustrating time in limbo.

—Jacqueline Jackson, Illinois Times

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