Let’s Hear It for the Horses
by Tricia Knoll
Third Place Winner of The Poetry Box Chapbook Prize, 2021
Horses and humans go back in time with each other thousands of years. A young girl’s love for horses or a particular horse is the stuff of legends, bestselling novels, and movies. In Let’s Hear It for the Horses, Tricia Knoll’s poetry explores her lifelong fascination with these strong and sometimes symbolic creatures and shares stories and memories of her best rides.
About the Author
“A horse. A horse. My kingdom for a horse!” cried King Richard the Third. Tricia Knoll’s father thought this as a child until his practical father detailed the costs and suggested he rent one. Which he did, at Colorado dude ranches. On weekends in suburban Chicago to ride hell bent on trails through cornfields. Her father did everything he could to make sure Knoll loved horses too. Summer horse camps. Riding with her dad in Rocky Mountain National Park summer after summer. Sometimes riding at mad gallops with the suburban men. Horse shows and rodeos. He was at his best in his cowboy boots and pearl snap-button Western shirts.
Knoll has degrees in literature from Stanford University (BA) and Yale University (MAT). She taught high school English. Edited a newspaper for elementary students. Served as Public Relations Director for Portland, Oregon’s Children’s Museum. Acted as the Public Information Officer at the Portland Water Bureau and went to New Orleans as an emergency responder following Hurricane Katrina.
Knoll retired in 2007 to write. Her poetry collections address interactions of wildlife and humans in urban habitat (Urban Wild); people and creatures on an organic farm in Washington State (Broadfork Farm); change in a small town on Oregon’s northern coast (Ocean’s Laughter); her understanding of white privilege (How I Learned To Be White); and relationships that sometimes go askew (Checkered Mates). How I Learned to Be White received the 2018 Human Rights Indie Book Award for Motivational Poetry. She is a contributing editor to the online journal Verse Virtual. For more information, visit triciaknoll.com.
Knoll lives in the woods of Vermont. Stables for dressage horses, a herd of pintos, and a one-horse family barn are less than a quarter mile in any direction. She smells them on warm days.
Early Praise for Let’s Hear It for the Horses:
If you know your totem animal is Horse, you’ll see these gentle giants everywhere—in the history of war, on gas-station calendars, haunting memories of harvest, a father’s fall, and your own hand’s memory of dusty withers. These poems will take you into a life enhanced by horses, as every life should be by something friendly but not defeated.
—Kim Stafford, author of Singer Come from Afar, Oregon Poet Laureate Emeritus
It’s a great pleasure to browse this collection, just as Tricia Knoll’s horses browse the field, looking for new, green blades of grass. She writes in the fine tradition of Maxine Kumin, and like that earlier poet, even has a poem for a horse named “Jack”. Full of the breathtaking observations of the horse lover, Knoll takes the reader close to real and imagined horses—close enough to feel the tickle of their whiskers or notice the green spit on their lips. She also shares stories of the father who died before she was grown, but who guided her into life by taking her as a child on trail rides, or to see the Lipizzaner horses. You don’t have to know horses to love these poems; they can serve as a generous introduction to the joy and sadness that canters in the air beside them.
—Judith Barrington, author of Long Love: New & Selected Poems, 1985–2017
This book, with craft and saddles and the warm breath, takes me into my past, one horse-girl to another. Tricia Knoll has found her inspiration on horseback, in the giddy-up, and the pure wild gold, until the dangerous day I die. The naming of horses in “Roll Call” just about takes my breath away.
—Joan Logghe, Santa Fe Poet Laureate Emerita