The Renegade Rip

Poet discusses his new works at BC Levan Center

Monique Hansen-Garcia, Reporter

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Award-winning poet Jeffrey Knorr visited the Bakersfield College Levan Center on March 28 for a poetry reading and Q-and-A session.Knorr read from his newest collection of poetry, “The Third Body.”

He called himself a simplistic author, with his poems reading no more than 12 lines and keeping up with his favorite genre of poetry – prose.

“There are so many things underwater and some days there aren’t even fish to capture,” he said, relating his writing to fishing.

Knorr said his favorite topic to write about is love, and he has used his own experiences in his writing.

The poem “Splitting Up” expresses his feelings as his ex-wife and he separated. One line reads, “Before I watched her drive away like she was taking the dead to their grave, we held each other in the house among empty spaces and boxes, an autumn evening closing on us like our own eyes.”

Knorr talked about the love he had for his ex-wife, the continued love for his children, and especially that of his new love.

When asked of what he felt was his greatest accomplishment, he did not say being the current Poet Laureate of the city and county of Sacramento. Instead, he said being a parent to his son, and current girlfriend’s three children, was his greatest accomplishment above everything else.

“Being a parent is the hardest job in the world, but I love my life,” he said. “My children complete my lover’s and I relationship.”

According to Knorr, all of his recent accomplishments can be accredited to his inspiration of love, which he said will always fuel his work.

Knorr has a group of close friends who edit his work. The group exchanges literary work and reads each other’s work to give collective criticisms.

To prepare to write, Knorr has his journal and something to read, which he said gets his creativity flowing.

He said he has been most inspired by author James Wright. He explained that Wright especially inspired his writings of nature in “The Third Body”.He explained to a member of the audience that writers could use others’ work to inspire their own style and the message they want to convey.

“Of course, don’t turn that work in, but use it to fuel your own writing style and what you have to say,” he said.

When asked what advice Knorr has for students who want to write, he said, “Don’t worry about publishing.” He said his first and most important work throughout all the years was an article that was published in the magazine of reviews for his school, Watershed Campus Review.

“It gave a validation of my work,” he said, explaining that it was the first time he felt that he had accomplished something in writing.

“Out of all of the reviews and articles I have written, that review was the most important.”

Knorr said that as a student, your most important validation would come from the fundamentals of the learning process.

“If you are a student at BC, write for the Roughneck Review.”

Knorr is currently an English professor at Sacramento City College and has published three books, although two – “Standing Up to the Day” and “Keeper” – are currently unavailable because they are out for press. He has also co-authored three books for Prentice Hall, “Mooring Against the Tide: Writing Poetry and Fiction,” “A Writer’s Country,” and the newly released “The River Sings.”

Knorr has been an editor and presented different awards, such as the 2008 Bradbury Award in Poetry.

He was also co-editor and poetry editor of the Clackamas Literary Review, which won Best New Magazine in 1997 and 1998.

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Poet discusses his new works at BC Levan Center