March 28, when Joanna Beth Tweedy read from her new novel during Poets in the Parlor, we reaped a “two-fer.” Attending that afternoon was a a poet fixture in this community for more than 30 years, regional poet John Knowpfle. John is the featured presenter at Poets in the Parlor next Saturday, April 4, starting at 2:00 pm.
As a Sangamon State University student (English major) more than 30 years ago, I encountered John in the classroom and in my naiivete and newness to that scene, enjoyed his classes, but didn’t really appreciate them — and the man teaching them – as I would today. He was thorough in his teaching, kept my attention from start to finish and was a straight shooter with gentle humor. He and his wife Peg, a peace activist and one-time manager of Heartland Peace Center, was equally engaging. They lived in Auburn at the time. A few years later when I attended a literary week festival with special lectures and encountered him again, he was the same. And in the 90s when Bob Bartel launched Poets & Writers Literary Forum (of Springfield, Illinois), John and Peg were early supporters, and Job encountered them often at parties and board meetings Bartel’s house on south Fifth. At the time, John was widely acknowledged as an Ohio River regional poet — his roots are in Ohio — and in the years sense, his work has continued quintessentially midwest with what seems to Conger, a New England aqftertaste. He is a mature poet with a grounded voice, still a pleasure to encounter, especially when he’s sharing his poetry.
The event begins at 2:00 pm; not the usual 2:30. At least one disttinguied academe — who obviously doesn’t read Honey and Quinine or the entertainment section of the SJ-R, — judging from his arrival about 2:30, was unaware of the change, but there’s little doubt he will be on time April 4. I hope you will be as well. John Knoepfle is well worth a stop, look and listen.
Vachel Lindsay home State Historic Site, 603 S. Fifth Street, Springfield, is open 9 am to 4 pm Saturdays. Free tours are available any time during open hours.
Live long . . . . . and proper.