Kris Bigalk is a poet and educator. Her poems have appeared in the New York Quarterly, the cream city review, Water~Stone Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Silk Road, and other literary magazines; her awards include a Minnesota State Arts Board Individual Artist Grant in Poetry and a residency at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts. Bigalk designed and now directs the groundbreaking creative writing program at Normandale Community College. She lives in Minnetonka, Minnesota, with her husband and children.
Repeat the Flesh in Numbersby Kris Bigalk
Daring, contemplative, witty, and moving, the poems in Kris Bigalk’s debut collection Repeat the Flesh in Numbers unflinchingly examine human frailty from multiple perspectives, and ultimately arrive at a place of generosity, regeneration, and grace. The musical precision and vivid images invite us in to poetry that surprises, inspires, and haunts, reminding
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Daring, contemplative, witty, and moving, the poems in Kris Bigalk’s debut collection Repeat the Flesh in Numbers unflinchingly examine human frailty from multiple perspectives, and ultimately arrive at a place of generosity, regeneration, and grace. The musical precision and vivid images invite us in to poetry that surprises, inspires, and haunts, reminding us that what we do to ourselves, and to each other—and what we do for ourselves, and for each other, is ultimately what defines us.
Our expectations and our designs on life are dashed almost always—an old story, maybe the oldest there is—but Kris Bigalk's poems want us to believe that it is an honor to be given the chance to replace disappointment with renewed hope. They convince me, surely and gracefully. Attention is a form of courage for Bigalk, and the steady, good-humored generosity she directs toward the fellow inhabitants of her planet mark her as a poet of wisdom and warmth.
Rewriting Eve, rewriting her own life, Kris Bigalk doesn't shy away from anything. She takes on the sordid and the beautiful, the scientific and the biblical, the mathematical and the musical. These poems celebrate "the imperfect, the mortal," loving it for all its wild complexity.
—Joyce Sutphen, Minnesota Poet Laureate
Paper is skin, children materialize like fog, thought hangs like a cockle-burr, and dying follows a mathematical logic. In Kris Bigalk's poems, most anything can be likened to something else without doing disservice to accuracy or emotional truth. When I finished reading, nothing around me was quite as it had been before I’d started.
There is a lovely refrain in each of these riveting poems. Kris Bigalk delivers, with humorous, poignant and richly textured detail, the light and dark in a life full. She boldly paints even the ordinary with a stunning hue.
—Carol Connolly, St. Paul Poet Laureate
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Bigalk's debut book of poetry draws deeply from the stillness of domestic life and finds beauty, humor, and sadness in turn. This book is brilliantly able to change its mood: first a funny revenge poem about planting hot peppers to rid a garden-raiding squirrel of his temptation, then a serious poem about a friend's drowning of another pest squirrel. The poems in this book listen to the heartbeats of children as well as the laughter of the trees in the backyard; they balance the persona's internal thoughts with the external demands of a busy woman's life. Bigalk's work is fresh in its honesty and lack of pretension. Her language is clear and pure. The sensitivity of the poet lurks behind every poem, every artistically described moment. This book could only have been written by someone with a keen mind, an open heart, and a wicked sense of humor.