Current POET LAUREATE
Jeff Knorr is Sacramento’s Poet Laureate from 2012-14. He was selected in a competitive process by a panel of poets and literary experts to represent Sacramento’s literary community. Knorr is the 5th in a long line of distinguished poets to serve as the Poet Laureate since the program was established.
"Under my tenure as Poet Laureate, I envision being a very active member of the arts community. I would like to help bridge genres within the community by creating events where young and old, traditional and spoken word, musicians, visual artists, and poets find themselves mixing to enjoy what each has to offer and to grow through access and experimentation. I would also like to make headway into schools, not only by giving readings and talks, but by harnessing the power of writers in the community to have more writers working with kids in elementary and middle schools. Aside from these projects, I see myself being an active representative of SMAC and the literary arts in our region. This means advocating for funding of the arts and advocating for arts organizations and individual artists at the local, county, and state levels. It also means writing and speaking to public officials, the press, community groups, and the general public about the importance of supporting the literary arts." - Jeff Knorr
Jeff Knorr is the author of the three books of poetry, The Third Body (Cherry Grove Collections), Keeper (Mammoth Books), and Standing Up to the Day (Pecan Grove Press). His other works include Mooring Against the Tide: Writing Poetry and Fiction (Prentice Hall); the anthology, A Writer's Country (Prentice Hall); and The River Sings: An Introduction to Poetry (Prentice Hall). His poetry and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Chelsea, Connecticut Review, The Journal, North American Review, Red Rock Review, Barrow Street, and Like Thunder: Poets Respond to Violence in America (University of Iowa, 2002).
Jeff has edited, judged, and been a visiting writer for various conferences and festivals. He was the founding co-editor and poetry editor of the Clackamas Literary Review. He has also been an invited judge for contests such as the DeNovo First Book Contest, the Willamette Award in Poetry and the Red Rock Poetry Award. He has appeared as a visiting writer at such venues and festivals as Wordstock, University of Pennsylvania’s Kelly Writer’s House, The Des Moines Festival of Literary Arts, and CSU Sacramento’s Summer Writers Conference. He currently directs the River City Writer’s Series at Sacramento City College. Jeff has been the Chair of the English department at Sacramento City College and he has also served on the Sacramento County Office of Education Arts Advisory Board.
Jeff Knorr lives in Sacramento, California and is Professor of literature and creative writing at Sacramento City College. For more visit www.scc.losrios.edu/~knorrj
by Jeff Knorr
The drunk down the street
wore taps on his black boots,
and each afternoon tapped
a rhythmic slide and click step
cool like he was Gene Kelly.
Aviator glasses, pressed blue jeans,
VFW cap creased at the crown
the bill curved with the horizon’s
slight arc, like at the bay of D’nang
where he must have hoped
a hundred times to head home.
How many ghosts did he put away
each day down at Poor Joe’s?
How many missions did he fly
into the haze of gin?
Rumor had it he was a door gunner
and we boys all made cracks,
doorbell ditched his house
leaping bushes, scattering invisible
when he barked like a stray dog.
Mostly we were scared of him,
his mumbling at us as he stumbled along
the sidewalk while we played
two-hand touch, our glory still ahead of us,
in the air alive as rain.
But the day the silver mortician’s van
parked in his driveway, we all hoped
it was his wife. Finally, when the sheeted body
was gurnied out, the van left us
huddled in the street in silence
as if church had just finished.
We stood, all of us making plans,
listening to her wailing, the cries
drifting into the street, then yelling,
then plates smashing until it was dark
and a jet passed over us.
Dark except for a streetlight,
and quiet except for my brother
tacking flattened bottle caps to the toes of his Keds.