Grolier Nights: Ode to Bill Knott

September, 2013/December, 1983

Is that Bill Knott? It is! Hello, St. Geraud! 
Reading Eric’s new book you are, one leg 
slung rakishly over the other, a broccoli floret
on a blue plate two chairs over! Oh, Bill Knott! 
I’ve loved The Naomi Poems: Corpse and Beans
since I first read the subtitle, unfolding damp bills 

in the Grolier Poetry Book Shop, burbling in the slosh
& boil of agony. I owned a $35 typewriter
& everything in the duffle the Cleveland thieves
had left behind. I revel in exclamation points
because 1) post-O’Hara odes require them 

& 2) the slightly arch blurts they punctuate 
best betray what reading meant that Christmas, 
you & Yeats glinting in the fluorescent blare 
of the alcove where my brother gave me, along 

with a pack of Winstons, unlimited wine
& a steak. A Red Line stop away, three copies 
of Becos lay on a laden table in Louisa Solano’s 

snug sanctuary, one of them destined 
for my duffle once the two fives my father 

had slipped in a card fluttered to the floor.

A native of the Pine Barrens region of southern New Jersey, John Repp has lived for many years in Erie, Pennsylvania with his wife and son. He has two chapbook collections forthcoming in 2019: Cold-Running Current (Alice Greene & Co.) and Madeleine Wolfe: A Sequence (Seven Kitchens Press).