John Knoepfle tells the story of how he became the poet he is. By turns humorous and moving, I Look Around for My Life provides riveting descriptions of his experiences in major naval battles of World War II at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He then chronicles his trips along the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri rivers in the 1950s, creating oral histories from his taped conversations with retired riverboat pilots. He explores the scope of his involvement in the Civil Rights movement, and provides valuable insights into his friendships and collaborations with other prominent poets, including Bly, Frost, Lowell, and James Wright.
John 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 for the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature, Illinois Literary Heritage Award from the Illinois Center for the Book. He was named Author of the Year by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English in 1986.