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