I first met Kristin Bock at a living room poetry reading on a dark January night. Years later she reached out to me and we became friends, sharing life stories and poems and favorite books. Meeting her eased the isolation I felt as a queer, rural writer raising children in a small town, struggling with depression and doubting my path. Our friendship gave me hope. And her poems haunted and stunned me with their precision and passion. I devoured her book, Cloisters, winner of the Tupelo Press First Book Award, and welcomed her insights about my work.
I just reread Cloisters under the covers by flashlight (my sacred time during this pandemic) and was mesmerized again by its emotional drive and spare, visceral imagery. Also its humor. “Watercolor Left in a Humid Kitchen” gets me every time.
Kristin lives in Western Massachusetts and teaches writing at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she got her MFA. Her poems have appeared in many literary journals, including the Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, FENCE, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, and Sixth Finch. Her fabulous new book, Glass Bikini, is forthcoming from Tupelo Press late in 2021. For a taste, here are four poems from that collection.