Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Kristy Bowen  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Poetry

Audience: Adult;


-- Blog --
-- Website --
-- Kristy Bowen on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Bowen was raised in Northern Illinois. She lives in Chicago and holds an MFA in Poetry from Columbia College and an MA in Literature from DePaul University.

Biographical and Professional Information

A writer and visual artist, Kristy Bowen is the author of several books, chapbooks, and zines, including the longer projects ''GIRL SHOW'', ''THE SHARED PROPERTIES OF WATER AND STARS'', ''IN THE BIRD MUSEUM'', and ''THE FEVER ALMANAC''. She lives in Chicago, where she runs DANCING GIRL PRESS & STUDIO, which creates a variety of open and limited edition books, art, and paper goods.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Girl Show
ISBN: 1937854930

Black Lawrence Press. 2014

Poetry. Set in the 1930's midwest and adrift in the surreal world of bird girls and sideshow mermaids, GIRL SHOW explores the boundaries between spectacle and domesticity, between beauty and grotesquerie. Each poem inhabits the strangeness at the edges of the commonplace, where the real word falls away to the whirl of carnival lights and tented shadows.

"Kristy Bowen's poems unfold like a fairy tale pop-up book open like a cabinet of wonders in which girl is both cabinet and wonder flame and spark into the night air where we read by that light. In a collection so rich in image—milk and angels and vinegar, the trap door and the hemline, bees and a line of low clouds—I'm struck even more by those seemingly small words of relationship—the prepositions—behind, against, inside, beneath beneath beneath. These poems arise from the 'rubied dark' where the Louises and Livvies and Coras live, frightened and yet defiant, and return there, with us in tow."—Mary Ann Samyn

"The poems in Kristy Bowen's brilliantly musical GIRL SHOW capture the details of domestic life gone delicately, mysteriously wrong: 'My salt shakers shaped like ducks. My ducks shaped like / killers.' In this map of bruised doors and broken windows, house after house reveals burnt staircases and ghostly inhabitants. The girls displayed in these illuminated rooms 'speak softly while night ... knocks us out, / knocks us up.' These gorgeous lyrics document dangerous histories, the marginalia that matters most. Bowen's dreamy, eerie poems create a subversively gothic landscape: 'mile after mile of busted / lunchboxes glinting in the sun.'"—Carol Guess

the shared properties of water and stars
ISBN: 0988805197

Noctuary Press. 2013

Poetry. "THE SHARED PROPERTIES OF WATER AND STARS' dreamy suburbia is a good choice for anyone looking for poems that create worlds or are looking for crafted interior spaces to inhabit outside the self. Filled with story archetypes and pieces from fairy tales, each poem acts as a poetic landscape or stage, where the objects and settings are just important as the players. Amongst cheery houses and quaint ghosts, Bowen's characters move both sullenly and wildly, marking the complexity of their status as human beings. Their sadness resonates through dimensions, and their world exists surely as ours does, reflecting like a lake. Fairy tales haven't always been happy, and Bowen is reminding her readers this by digging up the darker roots. The outdoors cannot be fenced in."—Heavy Feather Review

In the Bird Museum
ISBN: 0615256864

Dusie Press. 2008

Poetry. "Kristy Bowen's sparkling and spellbinding poems are full of the things of households and Victorian interiors: corsets, envelopes, books, hooks, and spoons. Bowen's vigilant attention to the danger and fragility of these environments is manifest in her description of the beings (women, girls, and birds) who inhabit or are bought into these spaces. These are the muses of Bowen's museum ('a seat or shrine of the muses'). Like a careful curator, Bowen gathers and assembles stories, scenes, and objects related to her subjects. The result is a densely packed cabinet of gothic wonders and haunting relics. Reading these poems makes one keenly aware of the inticacies, intimacies, and inconsistencies staged in the theaters of domestic spaces"--Michelle Detorie. "Kristy Bowen's poems are sexy and smart. The poems in IN THE BIRD MUSEUM fool around with dictionaries, notebooks, concordances, and the ways that bodies get lost and found in real and imaginary places. There are dance halls and graveyards here, footnotes and invocations. One poem asserts, 'I suggest everything is a metaphor for sex. Even the bird.' These poems let us know pleasure and danger are often in close proximity. These poems are inhabited by girls and women who move through the world with a sense of urgency, and Bowen invites us to join them. Or rather, she INSISTS we do. This book is delicious"--Susan Denning.

ISBN: 0979150124

New Michigan Press. 2006


The Fever Almanac
ISBN: 097780349X

Ghost Road Press. 2006

This collection of poetry from artist/poet Kristy Bowen juxtaposes experience, sexuality, love, and memory. The poems are small and exquisite windows that show glimpses of the psyche.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)