A book cover with chess pieces on it.

Checkered Mates

Knoll’s new chapbook released in Spring of 2021 from Kelsay Books features 30 poems, many narrative, that look at relationships between people, some of which may be called “checkered.”

Here’s what reviewers say about Checkered Mates:

Read review by Joan Leotta on Highland Park Poetry! and another review in Vermont’s paper Seven Days

Sydney Lea, Poet Laureate of Vermont (2011-2015) In a letter-poem to her first husband, who’s having sex change surgery, Tricia Knoll writes, “You are wise to join us. We need all the smart ones we can assemble.†Knoll might well chair that assembly herself; but the poet’s piercing intelligence is enhanced in this superb collection by wryness, compassion, and often enough, humor. Precise and rangy at once, she seems to strike the right note no matter what she considers, her work aptly served by her uncanny eye for exact and eloquent detail.et Laureate of Vermont (2011-2015)

James Crews, Editor of How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude & Hope The poems in Tricia Knoll’s Checkered Mates—by turns tender, raw, and truthful—mark a departure from her usual work. Though her lifelong intimacy with the natural world remains omnipresent in this volume as well, she more often turns her incisive gaze toward humans, and her own past relationships. Yet no matter the subject, the “honest harvest†of these poems is always their authentic unfolding, so that we emerge from each poem, and the book as a whole, more aware of our own mortality, ready to “break open/the way love does.â€

Rebecca Starks, author of Time Is Always Now  Tricia Knoll is an original, her slant on life curious, generous, cheeky, and a lways surprising as she “backtrack[s] matrimonial trails†and “embrace[s] bare facts,†including the “kindness of getting old.†Whether standing on a dike in New Orleans, lifting weights with a friend, or waiting in the airport for an ex-husband who has undergone gender affirming surgery, she remains alert to eros, compassion, and the play of metaphor. For all the life in her narratives, her rhythms and sounds are equal to them—“Low-slung, the lunar face is acned styrofoam,†or “A soft wind dries the sweat of climbâ€â€”as she moves through poems with the tenacity of a chess player. Mate.