What people are saying
“Klecko probably doesn’t look like the first guy you’d expect to write a book of verse probing our national immigration question from a firsthand perspective. He’s big—at least six-feet-two-inches tall—and today he’s been baking. That means he’s wearing a pair of high-mileage checkered chef’s pants, a stretched-out white undershirt beneath a red zip-up hoodie, and a black leather motorcycle jacket.
Klecko didn’t start writing for literary posterity. But in his anger and disillusionment, the baker has started to sound like a poet.”
“Meet Klecko: The Bread Maker Turned Poet,”
Mpls. St. Paul Magazine, June 2019
“Illegal immigrants can’t bother with renown. At least, not the kind that a Paris-destined baker, or a poet, or a novelist might chase. And yet, in Hitman, Klecko finds it most fitting to immortalize the moments and people who typically go unsung.
He learns, from professional baking, that white America’s privileged obsession with recognition is usually funny and off base. And he points out, more than once in the book, that it’s also often thanks to “illegals [who]/Bust ass to bring your life value and luxury.”
“A St. Paul Baker Turns His Run-in with ICE into Poetry”
Minnesota Monthly, April 2019
“My education was from the greatest writers in Minnesota,” Klecko said. “They encouraged me to write about what I understood. Obviously, that’s the hospitality industry, but I wanted to focus on the people, too,” he said. Which brought him to our most basic need, sustenance. “People have a strong connection to food. Capture that with words at a reading, and you own the room. Would you rather hear about someone talking about himself or about food?”
Twin Cities baker turns poet: ‘Baking Saved Me From Being Incarcerated’
Star Tribune, May 2019
“People in the industry know that bakers tend to be a spiritual lot. Maybe it’s the hours they keep, spent alone in the dark mornings when there’s plenty of space and silence in which to brood. One of our most philosophical has to be the St. Paul baker that goes by one name: Klecko. He’s written for years about the industry and baking life for different publications, but his new work is very personal, and important. His new book of poetry, Hitman-Baker-Casketmaker: Aftermath of an American’s Clash with ICE, chronicles in his own way the dealings with the government that shut down his St. Agnes Bakery in 2018. It’s a must-read for bakers, philosophers, eaters, anyone.”
“The Baker Poet (Foodie Blog)”
Mpls. St. Paul Magazine, June 2019
“The bio on the back of Hitman-Baker Casketmaker: Aftermath of an American’s Clash with ICE says he’s a master bread baker, spent close to four decades designing product lines across the Twin Cities, lives with “the Russian Supermodel” in a St. Paul mansion catty-corner from the home where F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote his first novel. He enjoys Nordic authors, French cooking and American League baseball.
OK, that’s interesting. But it’s much too modest for Klecko’s large and colorful personality, which happily comes through in the touching, tough, amusing, honest poems in his new collection.
That bio doesn’t capture his warmth or his deserved reputation as a bon vivant, someone who is more at home at the Turf Club than the elegant University Club, a tall guy who knows so many people he must have a phone directory the size of the Pentagon budget, someone who isn’t hesitant to reach out to anyone needing a boost, a champion of hard workers.”