Glass Bikini

by Kristin Bock


“Bock’s poems use the unit and rhythm of the sentence, turning the seemingly familiar prose line into something that—like a beloved—we realize we hardly know at all, all to conjure entire strange worlds for us.”
Kelly Weber, Big Other

“A dreamlike (often nightmarish) examination of contemporary life, serves truth wrapped in whimsy, wonder, horror, and perversion, a perfect pairing for contemporary, post-satire reality.” —Cassandra Whitaker, Barrelhouse

Published: December 2021
Format: paperback

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ISBN: 978-1-946482-55-6 Category: Tag:

It is hard to stay away from this book.” —NewPages

“In Glass Bikini, Kristin Bock presciently asks us to examine the emotions that make us human— ‘Grief is a boat / exactly the size and shape of the sea’— and the instincts that make us monstrous— ‘Our lost lovers are rifles. Our silhouettes, rifles.’ A gaslighting friend gifts the speaker with a bag that slowly dismembers her. Bock’s intensely inventive poems brim with possibilities and their attendant problems: ‘Without their adoring fans, pole-vaulting robots would be nothing but cans crying into themselves.’” —Matthea Harvey

“‘Sometimes monsters are so big you can’t see them. But you can feel their hands ragdolling you,’ Kristin Bock’s uncanny speaker confides, and we know all too well the coordinates of this disorientation. Warning or weather report? Mythic romp or unwelcome mirror? Yes, the provocative and enrapturing poems of Glass Bikini assert as they take us for a raucous and irresistible ride.” —Lisa Olstein

“In the haunted dreamscapes of Glass Bikini where robots and angels meet in secret to kiss, we find the poet making stained glass windows for monsters and sewing tapestries from black milk and “stars turned inside out.” Only Kristin Bock could provoke such shades of sensation between fear, sorrow, humor and delight, all while exalting the divine feminine above a nation gone mad with rifles. This is a new American surrealism, of ‘hot pink guillotines’ thrust upward from personal myth and collective taboo, a bewitching revelation of what has been hidden so long as to become dangerous, yet strangely beautiful.”  —Chad Sweeney

“The much-anticipated second collection from surrealist poet Kristin Bock explores dystopian dreamscapes, myths, and spells… mix[ing] deft prose poems with her signature lyricism to heighten emotion.” —Diana Whitney, Electric Lit

To say she is inventive is an understatement… The juxtaposition, the montage—there is cinema here in her images—a world, a universe.” —Heavy Feather Review

Part creation myth, part prophesy, Kristin Bock’s Glass Bikini stitches together the fabrics of our dystopian present, reminding us of our culpability and power in this grand, human experiment. These often darkly humorous poems guide readers into dreamscapes and under-worlds that are ominously contemporary. From a looking-glass planet, we peer back at our own homes and see the news as a horror movie. There is the sickening feeling that something has gone terribly wrong. Monsters prowl here inspired as much by Sarah Kane as Mary Shelley. We hold a tiny prehistoric horse in our paws. We are masochistic voodoo dolls traipsing hand in hand through grisliness and the sublime. If there is any hope in this nightmarish proliferation of cyborgs and militia, it lies within the liberating powers of the feminine. Glass Bikini is both mirror and warning, asking us to see our own strange and terrifying shapes, the monsters we have helped create, and the ones we have become.

Kristin BockKristin Bock holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she teaches. Her first collection, Cloisters, won Tupelo Press’s First Book Award and the da Vinci Eye Award.  She is a Massachusetts Cultural Council fellow, and her poems have appeared in many journals, including The Black Warrior Review, Columbia, Crazyhorse, FENCE, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, and VERSE. She lives in Western, MA with her husband, artist Geoffrey Kostecki, and together they restore liturgical art.

Additional information

Weight 0.23 lbs
Dimensions 6.14 × 9.21 in

Click here to access a lesson plan for Glass Bikini, designed by Faith Earl.