Keetje Kuipers


Articles & Interviews


“Keetje Kuipers is a poet who uses ‘old-school’ techniques and subject matter to create striking and viscerally contemporary poems.”

— The Rumpus


Reviews of The Keys to the Jail

Connotation Press
"Kuipers, in particular, seems to enjoy playing Russian Roulette with shame—intentionally dancing the thin line between the intoxicating cadences of Bishop’s "Art of Losing" and her stern admonition against “more and more anguish.” Her speaker castigates herself for "putting this self-sadness in my mouth" then flauntingly takes to the streets where "everywhere their / eyes were upon me, the high-pitched tune of / so much staring." It’s a risky move, and at times Kuipers' poems seem almost greedy for emotion, but the intellect that runs through the book is palpable and stabilizing."
—Julia Bouwsma

West Branch
"I know few contemporary poets who answer apathy with an unabashed expression of joy. Because throughout The Keys to the Jail, Kuipers—for better or worse—privileges feeling above all else, the speaker's ability to honor the ordinary world and its cyclical plots as purposeful and joy-filled is convincing. For Kuipers, it's feeling that unlocks the cells that contain us. Lows and highs are of equal value, so long as they are acknowledged, fully felt, and accounted for."
—Shara Lessley

Library Journal
"Kuipers is a keeper. Readers will feel the impassioned yet controlled energy that is lifted from these poems; fearless and possessing a precise sense of timing, ­Kuipers’s work keeps us reading."
—Annalisa Pesek

Reviews of Beautiful in the Mouth

ForeWord Reviews
"The poems move like ghosts themselves: disappearing into walls, circling back, appearing for a moment to be captured, then evaporating into thin air. Kuipers pins moments onto the page with the care of an etymologist collecting rare specimens. Her poems are at once visceral and cosmic, "a wave as well as a particle.”"

Tar River Poetry
"The poems in Beautiful in the Mouth mostly identify themselves with a poetic register that is more tangible, emotionally sincere, linguistically straightforward and sensuous than that of the experimental lyric; it is also, while not at all reticent, acutely aware of the limits of language and of the off-putting quality of tone that authorial certainty and/or navel-gazing typically creates.... Keetje Kuipers' battle is with the ineffable, not with the perceived or actual limits inherent in any particular aesthetic approach.... Kuipers' is a poetry that demonstrates how instabilities inherent in the contested space between lyric and narrative conventions can yield poems that teeter and slip between location and dislocation, language and silence, past and present, presence and absence.... Often in Beautiful in the Mouth, the inability to find the words to say is at least partially caused by distance--both physical and emotional--, and it is this lack of proximity, then, that serves to thwart desire.... Keetje Kuipers' Beautiful in the Mouth is a collection that throbs with keen desire, restless loneliness, frustration and, occasionally, striking recklessness."
— John Hoppenthaler

Library Journal
"In her debut collection, winner of the A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize, Kuipers untangles the interwoven discourse between life’s richness and barrenness, its fullness and hollowness. Daily experiences fuel her poems, providing lavish, sensual images rife with exuberant details. Though the concise language sometimes becomes sentimental—“no one/ was coming to give me what I/ needed, but I lay down and waited/ anyway”—the poet ultimately turns what seems to be a standard prose line into true poetry by adding a twist or creating a sudden paradox. Nature plays a vital role in these poems, dictating even their internal music and fluctuation: “I let them chase me into the woods/ dead leaves fly like sparks under my heel.” And though many poems are autobiographical, there’s a skillful braiding of the personal with the impersonal, the real with the unreal. VERDICT This book introduces an original and promising voice that will be a joy for all curious poetry readers."
— Sadiq Alkoriji, South Regional Lib., Broward Cty., FL