Sunday, September 1, 2013

Kyle J. Knapp, Celebrations in the Ossuary & Other Poems

Were I the writer of these frank and very personal poems, I might not trust anyone over 30 to read them. They are the poetry of youth, when feelings are rawest and looking at the world with eyes wide open, you can see too much.

Age brings dishonesty, and what would be more dishonest than to sum up Knapp’s work here in a few polite paragraphs. These poems are like photos from a crime scene, untouched, unexpurgated. The poet disrobes and shows what he sees in the mirror, warts and all, bearing witness to his own shame.

They are about trying to be not just honest, but brutally honest, about addiction and other personal failures—all in a world with its own addiction to half-truths and a weakness for outright lies.

Over thirty, most of us have come to terms with dishonesty. We learn to fool ourselves and one another. When the truth still hurts, we let ourselves be distracted by the junk that fills our mediated lives.

But youth has the courage to risk facing down demons. And Ossuary is a record of such an inner battle. Whether a winning or losing battle is hard to tell. From the other side of 30 you may want to say, “It gets better.” But how much honesty is there really in that?

These poems are startling in their reminders of long forgotten memories of our own dark days. They should come with a warning: May Open Old Wounds.

Celebrations in the Ossuary has been made available through David Cranmer’s Beat to a Pulp Press. You can find it at amazon in paper and for the kindle.

Further reading:

Coming up: Johnny Boggs, Spark on the Prairie


  1. All I have is thank you, Ron. But understand on what would have been his 24th birthday (and with tears running down my face) I am very grateful for your kind words, sir.

  2. I am glad that you understand what he was trying to convey through his poetry. It is raw and very honest. In fact, probably more honest than Kyle could or would even admit. Thank you for your review, it does a mother's heart good that her son is truly heard.