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Kelsey BIgelow in a copper linen dress, looking off to the left

WHO IS
KELSEY BIGELOW?

SPOKEN WORD
& PAGE POET

SPEAKER & MOTIVATOR

EDUCATOR & STUDENT

KELSEY'S MISSION & VISION

TO BE THE MOTIVATOR AND MENTOR THAT

PEOPLE DON'T ALWAYS GET IN LIFE.

MOLDING INCREDIBLY SPECIFIC EMOTIONS INTO SOMETHING HUMAN, DIGESTIBLE, AND CATHARTIC. 

GET TO KNOW KELSEY

I believe we grow in empathy by talking about shared experiences, no matter how difficult. My work discusses mental health and using poetry as a coping tool. I went through a lot of hard stuff growing up, and poetry is my way of processing it all. 

share my story through poetry in a way that's like having a conversation with a friend to help others feel less alone in their own stories. Recently, I've also been able to use poetry as a way to understand how I got myself to a safer, healthier place in life, which means I've gotten to bring that into the conversation with audiences as well.

 

It's a beautiful field of work I get to be in, and I'm grateful to continue those conversations.

 

My goal is to show others two things: 1. It does get better, and 2. You can live the life you dream.

What makes me qualified to do what I do? 

Educationally, I have a B.A. in professional and creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and my M.A. in strategic communications from the University of Iowa. Plus, I'm a lifelong learner taking many poetry master classes and workshops each year.

Professionally, I am a board member and chair for the Iowa Poetry Association, a member of Poetry&, a co-director for the BlackBerry Peach National Poetry Slam, and a member of the National Association for Poetry Therapy. I have participated on many panels, judged contests and slams, and have performed at my fair share of events. I have led the Des Moines Poetry Workshop since February 2018 and host multiple workshops in person and virtually. 

Poetically, I released my debut chapbook, "Sprig of Lilac," in November 2018, my debut spoken word album, "Depression Holders and Secret Keepers," in September 2021, and a chapbook collaboration, "The Coffee Cherry," in November 2023. I've also been published in Central Avenue PublishingPile Press, Backchannels Journal, Lyrical Iowa, Spirit Lake Review, and more. Plus, I am a 2024 Pushcart Prize nominee, a finalist for the 2023 Button Poetry Video Contest, and a short-list finalist for the 2023 Central Avenue Poetry Prize.

Every day, I'm living the life my younger self never thought I'd be able to create.

 

What more could I ask for?

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