Once I Was Many Other Things, by Jessie Knoles
jessie knoles is a poet who grew up in illinois but is currently living in washington state. she is a poetry editor for hobart. you can find her online at jessieknoles.com.
Jessie Knoles writes poetry about what used to be called the Middle West: poems about bonfires and Big R parking lots and humping and cornfields and trailer bars and beer and the funerals of young people and the moon. A lot of Jessie’s poems are about the moon. Reading Jessie’s poems I started to feel an intense kinship with her - maybe it was our blood-stained underwear, our Mittelschmerz. I started to miss my youth and all the people I’d left behind in it. Jessie’s poems are little stories about the people and places we love and lose and write poems about and lose again when those poems are published. When I finished Jessie’s book I wrote on a sticky note to ask my husband for her phone number because I wanted to be friends with her. - Elizabeth Ellen, author of the poetry collection Elizabeth Ellen and the novel Person/a
jessie knoles's debut full-length poetry collection is a daydream or a memory or a poem. read this book if you've ever: met someone who thinks olive garden is fancy, missed your dead pets, had a psychic experience, or slept next to your scared sibling. and if none of this applies, read it anyway, because this book is fucking beautiful. - shy watson, author of Cheap Yellow
ONCE I WAS is incredible. It's the rush of waterfalls, American whiskey, and jet engines kicking on. It's like the diary entries of Hera, if after she'd killed Zeus and gotten bored on Mount Olympus, she decided to ride a lightning bolt down to America to throw her own party. And yet it'll take you off earth, above Illinois, above Washington State, so you can put your palm on the surface of your favorite cool star. This is poetry full of adrenaline, anxiety, and belief. Jessie Knoles is hands down one of the best living poets today. - Bud Smith, author of WORK