Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  John Knoepfle  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: February 4, 1923 in Cincinnati, Ohio

-- John Knoepfle on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Knoepfle has lived in Auburn and currently resides in Springfield.

Biographical and Professional Information

John Knoepfle is known for his poetry about the Midwest. He attended Xavier University and St. Louis University. He was a professor and insturctor at St. Louis University and then at Sangamon State University - now, University of Illinois at Springfield. Currently, he is a professor emeritus of literature at the University of Illinois at Springfield.In 1986 the Illinois Association of Teachers of English named him Illinois Author of the Year. He has also received the Mark Twain award for contributions to Midwestern literature.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

An Affair of Culture

Northeast/Juniper Books,. 1969

Songs for Gail Guidry's Guitar
ISBN: 0912284021

Talman Co. 1969

The intricate land
ISBN: 0912284102

New Rivers Press. 1970

Book by Knoepfle, John

Dogs and cats and things like that;: Poems
ISBN: 0070351252

McGraw-Hill. 1971

Seventeen poems about familiar and unfamiliar animals.

Our Street Feels Good: Poems for Children
ISBN: 0070351287

McGraw-Hill. 1972

A collection of poems reflecting the activities of city children.

Thinking of Offerings: Poems, 1970-1973
ISBN: 0686618939

Juniper Press. 1975

Dim Tales
ISBN: 0935153128

Stormline Pr. 1990

Book by Knoepfle, John

Begging an Amnesty
ISBN: 0945301103

Druid Press. 1994

The Chinkapin Oak Poems 1993-1995
ISBN: 0964603748

Rosehill Press, Springfield, IL. 1995

ISBN: 1886157456

BkMk Press at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. 2004

Poetry. In this moving book of poems,John Knoepfle transforms a search for his Irish roots into a meditationon human suffering and survival. The whole book is a prayer againstfamine and the gratuitous cruelty inflicted on the innocent, both theIrish of the last century and the Central Americans of today"--KathleenNorris.

I Look Around for My Life
ISBN: 0977731839

Burning Daylight. 2008

For six decades, John Knoepfle has been writing poems, and he's still going strong. Knoepfle writes love poems, among the best we have, of the joys, loneliness, danger and the infinite transformations of marriage. He writes narrative poems, surreal, sardonic and magical about astronauts on the moon or an angry farmer and a prophetic owl. He recovers the stories of folks who never made it into the history books. Always he has a respect for the spoken word and lays his lines out on the page so that you too can hear it. And a spiritual force runs through his books like the slow and powerful rivers of the Midwest he inhabits. Both moving and humorous, Knoepfle's autobiography shows us how by hard work and lucky accident he came to be the poet he is.

Walking in Snow
ISBN: 0977731871

Indian Paintbrush Poets. 2008

In these 112 pages, John Knoepfle eloquently celebrates themes that have engaged him as a poet for over half a century--life, love, and death. The best collection of new poems you will ever find. Walking in Snow, embraces us with wit, warmth, and affection, these luminous, intensely honest poems, testify to courage, tenderness, and the enduring wonders of nature.

Shadows and Starlight
ISBN: 0984652345

Indian Paintbrush Poets. 2012

What's new in this book? What is new comes from being eighty-nine. There is a great freedom in these poems. They range at will from the mundane to the utterly mysterious and deeply spiritual. There are conversations with friends and a conversation about a malfunctioning alarm clock with the poet's son. The poet crosses boundaries. He breaks rules. Emotions shift. Galaxies appear and reappear. The angel of death comes up with a comment on the poet's work. There is advice from Santa Claus. What more could a reader require? The shadows are deep. The starlight is bright. You will also find and enjoy Knoepfle's love of the words and rhythms of our daily speech -- and his way of laying a line on the page. It's all lower case, no caps except for the poet's "I," no punctuation, just the minimal clues so you can get the sound and sense. For Knoepfle, every line is a poem - in the way it sounds and in the way it stacks up with the others to create a surprise. Born in Cincinnati in 1923, John Knoepfle has seen a lot of history. He's a Purple Heart Veteran as a boat officer on an attack transport in the Pacific during World War II, he took part in the landings at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. As a young writer and teacher, he joined the Civil Rights movement and worked to build the Great Society. Since then he has written about the many places he has lived and visited - the people, the landscape, the stories, the hidden history, often illuminated by his Catholic faith. You will find all these things in this book. John Knoepfle is the author of twenty-one books. His poetry has been published in many magazines and anthologies. His most recent works, Walking in Snow, a book of poems and I Look Around for My Life, an autobiography, were published in 2008 by Pearn and Associates. Knoepfle is professor emeritus of literature at the University of Illinois-Springfield. His awards include fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the Mark Twain Award for Contributions to Midwestern Literature from the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature Author of the Year Award from the Illinois Association of Teachers of English and the Literary Heritage Award from the Illinois Center for the Book. He lives in Springfield, Illinois, with his wife Peggy. More information can be found on his website:


  • ''Mark Twain Award'' for Distinguished Contributions to Midwestern Literature, Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature, Michigan State University, 1986
  • Illinois Author of the Year, Illinois Association of Teachers of English, 1986
  • Literary Heritage Award, Illinois Center for the Book, 1995
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, Maryville University, 1996
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, Springfield College in Illinois, 1999
  • Signaling Excellence in the Arts, WILL Award, 2002
  • Presidentís Award for Exemplary Achievement in the Literary Arts, Poets and Writers Literary Forum, 2004

    Speaking Engagements

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