“Amid references to pornography and masturbation and pubic-hair trimming, in poems with titles like, “Self-Portrait With the Virgin Mary and Magic Mike” — which attempts to capture the radiant truth in each — DeColo manages to coax beauty and meaning from the absurd aching morass of human existence. It’s not every writer who can emerge from these corners with anything approaching grace, much less deft and bracing poems such as these. Put another way: She has the range.”

 - Steve Haruch, Nashville Scene


“Kendra DeColo’s award winning debut, Thieves in the Afterlife, explores the fluidity of sexuality and gender, refusing to settle for easy answers or simple explanations. Whether in a strip clubs or a prison these poems weave together an array of personae, celebrating the profane while taking apart tropes and cultural signifiers to expose the human pulse underneath. Part battle cry and part striptease, Thieves in the Afterlife targets the culture of commoditization and violence, articulating the pain, joy, and bravery needed to resist categorization in what Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize judge, Yusef Komunyakaa, calls “a hardcore reckoning.” 

- Saturnalia Books, Editors


“Kendra DeColo’s Thieves in the Afterlife is an electrifying collection that explores the body and how it is read. With grace, this book takes the reader inside spaces so often sensationalized, such as strip clubs and prisons. These are poems of becoming and re-becoming, a transformation that wheels us into and around (and through) worlds of imagery that annunciates the language of violence, reclaiming agency for the subjects it has marked.”

- Tyler Mills, American Micro Reviews


“DeColo’s poems writhe with desire, convulse with rage and revel in pleasures of both flesh and spirit. She can even wedge searching lyricism into a poem set in a Wendy’s on the eve of the apocalypse: ‘I’m glad for once to have a body with fingernails and genitalia, / a tongue like a squatter’s den that knows every violet edge of evening, / to unfold syllables from the book of silences, where we become gentle, / sipping endless refills, and saying thank you, even when it’s obvious.’”

-Steve Haruch, Nashville Scene


“DeColo’s voice was almost like lightning in my veins from the very start, a punch in the gut from the get go with “Anthem,” a poem about lewd graffiti. Rarely does the author let go or ease back from the throttle. The pacing of the collection pushes you through briskly, broken only by those lines that force you to stop and savor. DeColo manages to do this without seeming forceful, but rather just through the power of her language.”

-Corey Pentoney, PANK Magazine