Winner of the 2018 Dzanc Nonfiction Prize
" Knock Wood is an absolute wonder, and Jennifer Militello is at the top of her form."
-- Andre Dubus III, author of Townie and The House of Sand and Fog
In Knock Wood, the first nonfiction collection by award-winning poet Jennifer Militello, a knock on wood to ward off illness sets in motion a chain of events and memories that call into question the very structure of time.
Anchored by a wooden ring, Militello explores her life through the lens of three intertwined elements: the story of a mentally ill aunt in an abusive marriage; a high school romance with a boy who eventually dies of a heroin overdose; and an extra-marital affair characterized by an otherworldly connection. Cause and effect reverse as significant events--an arrest for a felony committed in high school, a trip by train to meet an illicit lover, and a suicide attempt on those same New York tracks--seem to influence one another outside of time and space. As Militello delicately threads each memory to the next, she explores the themes of family damage and the precarious ties of love.
Militello has been recognized many times for her work in poetry and prose, including honors such as the Yeats Poetry Prize from the W.B. Yeats Society of New York, the Betty Gabehart Poetry Prize, and the Tupelo Press First Book Award. Her collection Body Thesaurus was named one of the top poetry books of 2013 by Best American Poetry.
Jennifer Militello is the author of Knock Wood, winner of the Dzanc Nonfiction Prize (forthcoming, 2019), as well as four collections of poetry: A Camouflage of Specimens and Garments (Tupelo Press, 2016), finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award and the Sheila Margaret Motton Prize, Body Thesaurus (Tupelo Press, 2013), named one of the top books of 2013 by Best American Poetry and runner-up for the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, Flinch of Song, winner of the Tupelo Press First Book Award, and the chapbook Anchor Chain, Open Sail.
Her work has been published widely in such journals as American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, The Nation, The New Republic, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, POETRY, and Tin House, and anthologized in Best New Poets, Poem-a-Day: 365 Poems for Every Occasion, and The Manifesto Project. She has been awarded the Barbara Bradley Award, the Yeats Poetry Prize, the Ruskin Art Club Poetry Award, the Betty Gabehart Prize, and the 49th Parallel Award, as well as grants and fellowships from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Writers at Work, and the Millay Colony for the Arts.
Militello teaches in the MFA program at New England College. She lives in Goffstown, New Hampshire.