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).