Best Literary Magazine (2009)

Knockout

"Poetry should have a punch," writes Marvin Bell in the inaugural poem of the inaugural issue of Knockout, a new literary magazine from the Twin Cities. "It should jab, it should undercut/clinch in the corners, and consider in hard times a head butt." Fittingly, in its first two issues, Knockout's pages have been peppered by some heavy-hitting contributors, including Robert Bly, Billy Collins, Melissa Kwasny, and Louis Jenkins. It's not just the title-bout writers that make Knockout so extraordinary, though. Co-founders Jeremy Halinen and Brett Ortler have focused on developing a long reach, culling writers from the GLBT community and up-and-coming poets, and spreading awareness of international poetry by featuring translations in every issue. It's drawn from a large talent pool, and no message or creed dominates. "We don't really have a well-defined aesthetic slant," says Ortler. "We just want to include fine work from as many writing styles as possible." Significant portions of the proceeds go to charity, with funds from the first issue benefiting the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation to help those affected by the civil war in Sudan.

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