Midwest Book Award-winning poet and baker Klecko is back with LINCOLNLAND, subtitled as his Pandemic Diary. You’ll remember Klecko from his award-winning HITMAN, BAKER, CASKETMAKER, Aftermath of an American’s Clash with ICE chronicling the fall of St. Agnes Bakery and the failure of our immigration system.
Inspired by a dream, Klecko travels the country in search of Lincoln’s ghost in LINCOLNLAND, asks the legendary George Saunders for writing advice, flies kites with another literary hero Leif Enger, and pays homage to the Beatles in a tribute to his late friend Michael Finley. While the rest of us learned to bake bread during the pandemic, Klecko, already a master in that department, applied his unflappable energy and curious mind to poetry, something that he’s also very accomplished at, but feels fresh with this newest volume of his work.
LINCOLNLAND reads more like a diary than a poem. Klecko’s mind impresses. One discovery, leads to another discovery, to another state, phone call, book, or letter.
Klecko was a self-professed hater of the Beatles – old people’s music – but the loss of his friend Michael Finley drove him to do a deep-dive into their music and their history. Chronicled in “Intermission” — he does it like Klecko does these things – down the rabbit hole, reading, books, magazines, articles on the internet—all the way to the bottom where he found a story about John Lennon’s killer and his wife, Gloria. So he contacted her. And May Pang, Lennon’s former lover. He contacted her, too. Of course he did. Of course.
Klecko still bakes. I interviewed him for Superior Reads during a break in his day. He’s a poet, and a baker, and a fascinating human. Read LINCOLNLAND, you won’t regret it.
Listen to my interview with Klecko on October 28 at 7:00 pm on Superior Reads, WTIP, 90.7 Grand Marais and on the web at http://www.wtip.org.