Skip to main content
Shopping cart: items Cart

Distributed for New Issues Poetry & Prose

Would We Still Be

Poems that acknowledge the existential anxieties of our age while continuing to celebrate the beauty and musicality of language. 
In Would We Still Be, James Henry Knippen crafts the anxieties that emanate from human existence—grief, fear, hopelessness, uncertainty—into poetic reflections that express a deep reverence for the musicality and incantational capacity of language. Like a moon or a wren, two of the book’s obsessions, these haunting poems call us to consider beauty’s connection to the transitory. Among the ghosts that wander these pages—those of loved ones, those we are, and those we will become—Knippen asks if image is enough, if sound is enough, if faith is enough. In doing so, these poems seek out the soul’s communion with voice, encouraging us to sing our fate.

74 pages | 6 x 8 1/2


New Issues Poetry & Prose image

View all books from New Issues Poetry & Prose


“This gorgeous debut felt like it came to me from another time and held me spellbound. I’m awed at Knippen’s skillful tensions, crafting rhetorical movements that seem at once bold and simple. Deeply imagistic, these poems manage to simultaneously be rooted and sensory, as well as elusive and incantatory. Knippen deftly weaves ghosts and lilies, wrens and windows, nouns serving like legends on a grief map. Knippen’s language draws us closer to an unnamed loss until we feel the heat of the wound, but not the death itself. But more than the ghost, the wonder. More than the longing, the lyrical leap into what we don’t know is coming but trust will be beautiful.”

Traci Brimhall

“From its first poem, this marvelous first book makes way for Knippen’s affinity for likeness, not as simple mirroring but likeness in total, compelled to include dissimilarity, and this habit of mind results in image-dependent poems that gather, layer, re-gather in a precarious and lavish state of being between. Knippen’s poems can bear the weight of their layered, sensory-driven realities because he’s clearly devoted to language as the most supple and true means of navigation. Rare for poets of his generation, he gives voice to being drawn toward as often as he surrenders to his will to say. Encountering these poems is exciting; the world and our thinking about it both enlarge.”

Kathleen Peirce

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press