From poetry to prose. An adventure in writing.

Jennifer Knox reading aloud from her book

When you scan the text of Assistant Teaching Professor Jennifer Knox’s soon-to-be released fifth book Crushing It, you notice immediately this is not Mother Goose Rhymes. The tempo is often quick and sharp, and you’re delighted at the modern tone and relatability.

Considering Knox’s prolific poetry career, it may be surprising to learn she primarily teaches classes on writing for the business or professional world. That means all Iowa State students, regardless of major, have the opportunity to benefit from the expertise of a writer whose work has appeared in publications like The New York Times, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, and five times in the Best American Poetry series. For faculty like Knox, it’s about translating professional experience into a formula for students to have success no matter their chosen discipline.

Knox observed, “The concept of ongoing revision is foreign to most of my STEM students. In their disciplines, they’re given a problem, they get a right or wrong answer, then move on. Discussing how we engage with information in different settings and the importance of clarity in science communication is a lot of fun.”

Though technical writing may seem drastically different from poetry, Knox works in class to arm her students with the important storytelling and editing techniques she uses: cut out “the fluff,” tighten up sentences, use specific terms, and move the reader forward.

“The goal of all writing is to connect with readers,” says Knox. “As an instructor, I want to give students the most effective tools to engage in that interpersonal process.”

With experienced, successful faculty like Knox, your adventure at Iowa State will prepare you for the professional world and open your eyes to new ways of thinking, creating, and doing.

To read some of Knox’s poetry, check out her website at

To learn about other Iowa State faculty and their adventures, visit