Selected prose is available on the web. Read John's selected prose here and refer to the bibliography for a full listing of John's work.
- I look Around for my Life: An Autobiography
- Peoria-Miami Narratives and Cult Hero Tales
- Dim Tales
- Men of the Inland Rivers
Knoepfle writes a clear, 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.” I’m reminded of his Poems from the Sangamon – a river flowing quickly in parts, eddied and blocked by debris and o bstructions at times, breaking free, then forming pools that reflect beauty before moving on at a steady pace, ever widening, and ever reflecting what’s on shore, both small and large. —from “Knowing Knoepfle,” Illinois Times, Springfield, Illinois; March 27-April 2, 2008, p. 24, by Jacqueline Jackson. Read Iwo.
During the 1980's Knoepfle collected the available manuscript material for a study of the Miami and Peoria language systems of the midwest. He gave his collection to the Illinois State Museum, who shared the copies to the Miami and Peoria tribes in Oklahoma. Read Peoria-Miami Narratives.
The Dim Tales are the work of Henry Allison Rollins Dim, called Hardy locally. He is probably best known throughout Central Illinois- and the world too, in some ways- for his wise sayings. Most people have heard, for instance, of "the man who holds the basket the longest catches the leaf." Knoepfle found Dim's opus in a number of spiral notebooks that he bought blind at a garage sale in Zenobia, Illinos. Read The Hannibal Frogs.
During the 50's and 60's, Knoeplfe tape recorded the recollections of steamboat packet and tow rivermen of the Ohio and Mississippi river system. In Men of the Inland Rivers he writes about the work they did and the stories they told. His recordings predated the term "oral history" Read Men of the Inland rivers.
Poem of the Month
- December 2014:
- December 2012:
- November 2012:
- October 2012:
- September 2012:
a difficult morning
"I would consider John Knoepfle one of those classic poets of place. His attachment to the midwest is a genuine attachment; it is the place that he inhabits, rather than writes about, and that is what makes the poems so lovely. I think it has to do with his sense of relationship of place to person to word."
John Knoepfle is the author of over 20 books of poetry as well as several prose pieces. He is Professor Emeritus of Literature at the University of Illinois- Springfield. His awards include fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the Mark Twain Award for Contributions to Midwestern Literature. Click here to read
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