Books - The Knight Who Would be King

Madness of the Bird King

A wolf looks at a king as Kneel Downe remembers two of James Knight's Bird King books...

The Madness of The Bird King
By James Knight and Diana Probst

The Death of The Bird King
By James Knight

Time was, gentle reader, that self publishing was sneered upon. Vanity publishing they called it. Sneers were sneered. Objects were flung.

Of course, this was in the days of Steam driven Internet connections. The days of oxen powered Pcs. The time when all family pets were still required to wear ceremonial Ruffs and ‘all this used to be fields.’

Times change.

Wheels turn.

Now, with such heavyweights as Jeff Noon entering the self publishing arena it is no longer an avenue to be mocked. It is an option to be embraced. Enjoyed. Tickled softly.

While much of the output may be trite or awful (The same can be said of traditional publishing) there are gems, treasures and genius to be found…

Enter stage left Mr James Knight.

Maverick poet of the highest calibre, James has been entertaining and confusing the masses via his twitter feed @badbadpoet for many a long month.

But what concerns us today is the birth and ultimate death of perhaps his finest creation…


Stumbling into the public view via a series of unrelated tweets, The Bird King soon became unaccountably popular. What is he? A Bird? A Man? An unholy combination of the two? A cipher for our own hate filled inner child?

With the involvement of his fellow @echovirus12 member (A collaboration of Twitter poets and writers) Diana Probst, plans were hatched to produce an illustrated poem and set it loose into an unsuspecting world.

THE MADNESS of The BIRD KING is a slender volume but what it lacks in size it makes up for in content.

An ode to the twisted bird. A poem. A cautionary tale.

Blended into this tale is the quite beautiful and yet hauntingly creepy artwork of Ms Probst.

The images and paintings she provides are simply beyond reproach.

Remember your childhood, when fairy tales were illustrated with pictures that would play upon your mind? Cause unease? Induce those old night terrors?

This is what you get here.

Not so much ‘Where The Wild Things Are’…more ‘Where the Twisted Things Sleep.’

I adore this book. It is a perfect fusion of words and image. A homage, if you will, to childhoods past.

Emboldened by the Birds first foray into the printed world, James soon followed it up with another book.

Death of the Bird King

THE DEATH of The BIRD KING is a much larger piece. Within you will find details of the King’s birth, Madness and ultimate death.

Scattered throughout are examples of Knight’s own twisted images. Always creepy.

Always unique.

Also packaged in this tome are samples of his work with echovirus, random tweets, short poems and the introduction of THE ONEIROSCOPE: specially tailored dreams that will give many a sleepless night…

Somehow managing to be both disturbing and yet darkly, laugh out loud humorous at the same time, James is a writer of rare and undoubted talent.

The mixture of poetry and polymorphic prose is a joy to behold.

I love these books.

You will too.

“Refusing to accept his own death the Bird King squats in mirrors and dreams. Having long ago outlawed reviews he squints hateful at Kneel Downe. The reviewer will sleep fitful tonight to discover a Blue Rose upon his pillow…and sheets smeared with black foul stains……”


Images - Amazon

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