It’s easy to read a book by Jennifer L. Knox and imagine all the characters between the front and back covers living in the same world, if not in the same town. This feeling is strongest in Days of Shame & Failure (Bloof Books, forthcoming 2015), Knox’s fourth and maybe most heartbreaking book to date. The characters Knox illuminates here (Marilyn in “Life’s Work,” Tommy in “A Fairy Tale,” unnamed I’s) are all bound together by various forms of shame and/or failure. And by extension, Knox, with her characteristic use of dark humor, holds a mirror up to us as readers. Some of these poems are gut-bustingly funny, some are sniffle-worthy, but most are even better: a combination of both. Knox isn’t so much keeping her finger on the pulse of life in America as she is speaking from it: that is to say, through saying a lot, trying to figure it out along with the rest of us (whatever “it” is).