Search - List of Books by Christopher Knowles
Total Books: 30
(born 1959) is an American poet.
In 1976, his poetry was used by Robert Wilson for the avant-garde minimalist Philip Glass opera,Einstein on the Beach
Wilson summarized his discovery of Christopher this way in the extended notes to the Tomato Records release of Einstein on the Beach
- In early 1973 a man named George Klauber, who had been one of my professors at Pratt Institute, gave me an audio tape he thought might interest me. At the time I was beginning work on a theatre piece called The Life and Times of Joseph Stalin. . . . I was fascinated. The tape was entitled 'Emily Likes the TV.' On it a young man's voice spoke continuously creating repetitions and variations on phrases about Emily watching the TV. I began to realize that the words flowed to a patterned rhythm whose logic was self-supporting. It was a piece coded much like music. Like a cantata or fugue it worked with conjugations of thoughts repeated in variations; these governed by classical constructions and a pervasive sense of humor. The effect was at once inspiring and charming. I was impressed and called George to ask who had made the tape. . . . It was arranged that Chris could come and live with me. We became collaborators and friends. He co-authored a show called A Letter for Queen Victoria and performed it throughout Europe and New York. In subsequent years we continued to work together. Chris would co-author pieces and his texts would appear in works such as the opera Einstein on the Beach I am forever fascinated by the decisions Chris is able to make while maintaining control over a continuous and elegant line. He has a unique ability to create a language that's immediately discernible. Yet once he has invented his verbal or visual language, he destroys the code to begin anew. His art holds the excitement of molecular reaction. His product is constantly genuine and always a reflection of his own imagination, humor and good will.
In 1978, the American poet John Ashbery wrote in New York Magazine
(of a volume of Knowles's poetry):
- "Christopher has the ability to conceive of his works in minute detail before executing them. There is nothing accidental in the typed designs and word lists; they fill their preordained places as accurately as though they had spilled out of a computer. This pure conceptualism, which others have merely approximated using mechanical aids, is one reason that so many young artists have been drawn to Christopher's work."
In 2004 Knowles stayed in Long Island for the summer working with Robert Wilson. For one week the Harty family stayed in the house he was residing in, and escorted him to his place of work. Knowles and Wilson continue to collaborate. Wilson has used Knowles' texts in many of his operas.