Kip Knott's first full-length collection of poetry is twenty years overdue, years during which I've remained steadfast in admiration of his unique and provocative verses. Good news: Tragedy, Ecstasy, Doom, and so on has arrived, and it's right on time after all. These poems are mature, taut, inquisitive, masculine in the best sense, intersections of riddle and wisdom, regret and gratitude. For all the liveliness of this book, there's a stillness here that surprises, a somberness in its landscapes, the soundings of a life fully and thoughtfully lived that compels our attention. Who knew that ecstasy could be so dire, while doom so much fun? More good news: A whole new generation of poetry lovers can now find out.
If the passions of Mark Rothko offer Kip Knott's first full-length collection Tragedy, Ecstasy, Doom, and so on its title, the poems themselves are hewn from language solid as statuary and tantalizingly wise as koans. Through the frustrations of time's passage, the keen prophecy of art, and the visionary spinning wheel of perception, we might talk to or sleep beside our past or future selves, or finally arrive at "the inevitable/clearing in the woods" where equilibrium means ending, "the blank space of your life/stretching out into infinity."