Q and A with Alyse Knorr about her latest book, Ardor

English Department Associate Professor Alyse Knorr released her latest book of poetry, Ardor. Learn more about the inspriations behind this latest book of poems.

Q: Tell us more about Ardor and what inspired you to write this.

A: I started writing Ardor after my wife (Kate Partridge, also a Regis English Dept faculty member!) and I moved to Alaska in 2013. The book's early poems were inspired by our falling in love and getting married, moving across the country, and then having our first child, Lucy. I finished the book during COVID, when I was spending a lot of time with my daughter in our yard, gardening and contemplating the difficulties of keeping children and plants alive even on a good day, let alone during a pandemic.  

Q: The description of your book says: “At the intersections of eco-poetics and queer family-building, Ardor moves across the political and natural landscapes of Alaska, Colorado, and the deep American South. These poems meditate on love and motherhood in the context of environmental crisis, foregrounding the domestic in a quest to continually re-imagine a hopeful future.” Do you feel a parallel with the poems you wrote and what the world is going through right now?
A: I absolutely do! A lot of the poems in Ardor are about confronting the single question: why have children during a time of ecological collapse, when the earth may have a very bleak future or no future at all? This is a pressing current question, but I think it's always been a question in the minds of parents across all times. Why create children in a world that can be cruel, violent, and unfair? How can creating children — and creating poems — be an act of hope in a world that often feels hopeless?

Q: How long did it take you to write these collections of poems and was there anything you experienced that helped you in the writing process?

A: Altogether, I worked on Ardor for a little under a decade. One of the most helpful experiences I had during the writing process was starting work at Regis, and meeting amazing colleagues who inspired many of the poems in the book. Conversations I had with Megan Patnott (mathematics), Erin Winterrowd (psychology), and the entire English department and our students have all made their way into the book. I also began an artistic dialogue with my Regis colleague and neighbor Robin Hextrum (fine arts) in which I wrote poems inspired by her painting process. Altogether, Ardor is a very "Regis" book! 

Q: What advice can you give to someone interested in writing poetry?

A: My advice to someone interested in writing poetry is to read a lot of good poetry! Find poets you admire and read as much of their work as you canideally, out loud.

Q: Are you working on anything now, and where can people find Ardor?

A: I'm currently working on my first novel! It's set in a post-apocalyptic world where almost all of humanity suddenly disappeared. My protagonist, an emotionally scarred Coast Guard veteran, is journeying across what remains of the Southern U.S. to find the twin sister she knows is still out there somewhere. As for Ardor, folks can order it here!