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Unterberg Poetry Center

James Henry Knippen

2017 Discovery / Boston Review winner James Henry Knippen has poems in The Kenyon Review Online, Gulf Coast, 32 Poems, Colorado Review, The Missouri Review Online, Denver Quarterly, Blackbird, and West Branch, among others. He is the poetry editor of Newfound and teaches at Utica College.

Below are James Knippen’s poem “A Wren” and a draft of that poem, originally printed in the Winners’ Reading program May 8, 2017, as well as a short video excerpt from that night.

  • A Wren

    Which is what death is:
    a wren. Which is what
    death makes: a song
    that echoes. Which is
    what we listen for:
    the nearness of feathers. 
    Which are those that
    bind us: conduits of
    blood and warehouses
    of air. Which is where 
    we begin to hunger 
    for the sky: inside
    our bodies. Which is
    where a wren collects
    twigs, grass: nest-things.
  • Manuscript page

James Henry Knippen reads “Poem”