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Scorched Altar: Selected Poems & Stories 2007-2014 by Kristina Marie Darling

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Scorched Altar Selected Poems & Stories 2007-2014 Kristina Marie Darling

It is in the very restlessness of her metaphors that Kristina Darling documents a tangible faith. Such restlessness is trustworthy and always, throughout Scorched Altar, both vital and in plain view. Here are truthful experiments. Here is a new tradition, alive in bright air.

—Donald Revell

Kristina Marie Darling's hypnotic poems and stories resurrect the often forgotten parts of books. Under her direction, footnotes, indexes, and glossaries become jewels, 'iridescent, when held to the light.' This is haunting and beautifully crafted work.

—Chloe Honum

Kristina Darling ransacks the apparatus of the Romantic imaginary and repurposes its vestigial and spectral forms. In these stories and poems, features from the textual margins—footnote, glossary, subplot, index—eclipse the center, signaling blindspots in accounts of possession and desire. Scorched Altar isolates and revolves the tropes of melancholic femininity—moon, bird, star, stillness—reconfiguring an interiority of semiotic swoon. The word “luminous” recurs, becoming an antique mirror too tarnished to reflect, a surface that reveals only enigma and miniature: “Thus his presentation of the earring, with its tiny pewter bird, reminded her of the ocean—its pristine shores and frigid tides, but also the potential for vertigo.” Darling’s procedures expose the gothic psyche still haunting the lyric mode, and the dissonance it bequeaths: "I had wanted to discover the cold metal gears winding beneath the firmament. Now the most fearful disruption of a delicate machine."

—B. K. Fischer

“I keep trying to warm the / endless rooms” Kristina Marie Darling writes in “YOUR ONLY WIFE,” and that’s a good place to from which to enter these poems and stories. In its precision of language and deeply human, personal engagement, Darling’s work reaches directly and profitably to the contextual questions of intention and meaning. Each prismatic moment is heightened by the new organization that Scorched Altar: Selected Poems & Stories 2007-2014 affords, revealing, in their juxtaposition, her development from book to book, obsessively devoted to the possibilities of language and tone. The clarity of what happened is what continues to happen in this necessary and wonderful overview of Darling’s career so far, the gift of which reminds us that we live in the uncanny valley, but, even newly arriving to where we’ve always been, there are many things still to discover.

—John Gallaher

Kristina Marie Darling is the author of seventeen books, which include VOW, PETRARCHAN, and a hybrid genre collection called FORTRESS.

Within the past few years, her writing has been honored with fellowships from Yaddo, the Ucross Foundation, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Ragdale Foundation. Kristina is the recipient of international literary arts fellowships from the Hawthornden Castle Retreat for Writers (Scotland), the B.A.U. Institute (Italy), and Le Moulin à Nef (France), as well as artist grants from the Kittredge Fund and the Elizabeth George Foundation. She was recently selected as a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome. Her work has also been recognized with the Dan Liberthson Prize from the Academy of American Poets and nominations for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award, the Poetry Society of America's William Carlos Williams Award, and the San Francisco State University Poetry Center Book Award.

Kristina is active as a literary critic, with reviews and essays appearing in such magazines as The Gettysburg Review, The Boston Review, The Colorado Review, Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing, and New Letters. Her critical projects have been supported by grants from the University of Missouri and the University at Buffalo, as well as a Riverrun Foundation Research Fellowship to complete archival work at Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Kristina holds degrees in English Literature and American Culture Studies from Washington University, as well as an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Missouri. She is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Poetics at S.U.N.Y.-Buffalo, where she was awarded a Presidential Fellowship.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 178 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-192-4



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