Zoom Blog

Archive for November 2015

Kristina Marie Darling interviewed at TCJWW


Interview: Kristina Marie Darling

November 25, 2015


Andrea Dickens

Kristina Marie Darling is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Night Songs (2010), Compendium (2011), and The Body is a Little Gilded Cage: A Story in Letters & Fragments (2011). She has been awarded fellowships from Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Ragdale Foundation, as well as grants from the Vermont Studio Center and the Elizabeth George Foundation. Her poems appear in Third CoastBarn Owl ReviewRHINOCider Press ReviewGargoyle, and many other journals. (Bio adapted from Barn Owl Review). 


TCJWW: How did you conceive of Failure Lyric as a book-length project? Was it before you began writing these poems, or after you had a group of poems? How do projects for books usually find you (or you find them)?


Darling: That’s a great question. Failure Lyric actually began with a writing prompt from the wonderful poet Allison Titus. She challenged me to map my heartbreak across its many locations in time and space, to chart the crazy orbits that grief set me on.  It wasn’t long before I started writing poems about a relationship and various cities that it took me to:  Burlington, St. Louis, Iowa City, and the now infamous Dallas/Fort Worth airport. The work began as disparate fragments and bits of what would later become poems, so it was a joy to discover the larger narrative arc as I wrote. This is usually how my book projects unfold. While I work in long poems and extended sequences, I always feel as though I’m discovering the project, or the larger concept behind the work, as I write. 


TCJWW: The poems in this book both show quite a range of form and also a strong consistency of voice. I’m curious how your poems came to take their current shapes and find their voice.


Darling: The book does encompass a range of forms, including lyric fragments, prose poems, and prose sequences. The more fragmented pieces are actually erasures, which came into being when I took a black marker to my four-year correspondence with a male poet, who out of respect for his work, will remain unnamed. Erasing the various letters, inscriptions, and messages was initially intended to help me move past my grief, but it did much more. It gave rise to the poems that you’ll find in the middle sections of Failure Lyric, in which I tried to weave together memory and imagination, grief and hope, to create meaning from what seemed like a heap of shattered glass and dead lilies. 


Read more »

New Issue of BlazeVOX now online!! Happy Fifteenth Anniversary!


Hello and welcome to the Fall issue of BlazeVOX 15. Presenting fine works of poetry, fiction, text art, visual poetry and arresting works of creative non-fiction written by authors from around world. Also presented are previews of our newly released books of poetry and fiction. Do have a look through the links below or browse through the whole issue in our Scribd embedded PDF, which you can download for free and take it with you anywhere on any device. Hurray!

Happy Fifteenth Anniversary 
Hip Hip Hurray!:

I have been sitting at my desk typing away on my large screened apple computer dreading what I am about to write. BlazeVOX is now in its 15th year of operation. We have great moments to look back upon in our history, as well as some moments that bear careful consideration. It seems incredible to me that we are not merely still in operation we are vividly alive! 
To commemorate who we are at 15 we plan to celebrate. We are planning to have some special events throughout the year. We plan to have readings, videos and even a party sometime in the fall. Keep an eye out for your invitation it will be a year to revel!

And before I go, I would like to thank you all for your wonderful support over the years. You are an important part this press and your help makes a real difference in getting innovative works by undervalued writers read worldwide. Your act of reading our work is incredibly helpful means so much to me but even more to BlazeVOX authors whose work might not see the light of day without your giving us a part of your time, a part of your day! We thank you a thousand times.

Rockets! Geoffrey Gatza, editor

Table of Contents
Patrick Chapman— Juniper Bing
Nicholas D. Nace— from [Vic]
Alexander Beisel — Delenda Est
C Davis Fogg — Electric Jesus
Daniel Adler— The Acheron
Erika G Abad — Corners
Jamie McFaden — Three Flash Fiction pieces
Christien Gholson — Trinity-Site’s Last Stand
Jessy Brodsky Vega — White Thoughts
Josef Krebs —Body of Work
Kristen Clanton— Who are the Fantasy Girls?
Jingjing Xiao — The Lives of Flowers
Text Art
5 visual poems, asemic
Creative Non-Fiction & Reviews
Jennifer R. Valdez — Lady Liberty Meets Big Ben
Susan Wiedel — Concetta
15 Questions | Interviews with BlazeVOX Authors
BlazeVOX Interview with John Tranter on his forthcoming book Heart Starter

Kit Robinson Read from his New Book in Oakland!


3 Poets: Hunter, Foster, Robinson
3 Books: Orphan Machines, A Swarm of Bees in High Court, Marine Layer

9 December
7 pm
The Octopus Literary Salon <https://oaklandoctopus.org/>
2101 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94612

Please join us to celebrate the publication of:

Orphan Machines <
http://www.spdbooks.org/Producte/9780996400114/orphan-machines.aspx>  by Carrie Hunter (Black Radish Books)
A Swarm of Bees in High Cour <
http://www.spdbooks.org/Search/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=A+Swarm+of+Bees> t by Tonya M. Foster (Belladonna)
Marine Layer <
http://www.spdbooks.org/Search/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=Marine+Layer>  by Kit Robinson (BlazeVOX books)

The Octopus serves lovely salads, sandwiches, wine by the glass and beer on tap.

Read more »

Failure Lyric by Kristina Marie Darling reviewed at Lithub


Failure Lyric

What Certainty In Reaping


In the throes of my divorce a couple years ago, I heard Elizabeth Bishop in an old radio interview pointing out that we humans get divorced all the time. She was answering a question about the damage divorce might inflict on children. My son was 5 at the time and I pulled my car over, trembling, to more safely hear Bishop forecast his fate from her grave. She went on to explain that we are divorced from things constantly—we are divorced from loved ones who die, we are divorced from places we lived, we are divorced from stuffed animals. I thought of the time my son lost his favorite blankey by the Mall in Washington, D.C.

Bishop was saying we are fooling ourselves if we think the dynamics of divorce are somehow discreet from so many other aspects of life that children and the rest of us all have to get used to. Loss is a constant. I extrapolated: what distinguishes divorce may well be all the good that came before it, and the sheer possibility that goodness could go on forever. As opposed to the life cycle that will inevitably cease, love—placed under glass by the act of marriage—might just never end.

Until it does.

Kristina Marie Darling’s Failure Lyric is a certain post-mortem in that regard. A stirring meditation on her own divorce, Darling’s work turns a wintered eye to that dimension of the good that came before. If it’s possible for poetics to be clinical, Darling has done it. And that’s only part of what makes this work remarkable. Far from sentimental, Failure Lyric is artful in its meticulously limited scope. This work does not chart a rise and fall; it doesn’t depict the good times. It does not rage or blame. The only nod to “the way we were” centralizes around conspicuous disaccumulations (remembered references to “his last wife,” her ex’s inattention at ripe moments).

Instead, Darling populates a menagerie of haunting creatures and notions around her varied tracings of the past. A common theme is loss of voice, stopped-up throats. Both bride and groom stutter, cough, clear their throats; “when I saw you again, the trees swallowed their tongues,” “I tried to eat but the (wedding) cake lodged in the hollow space of my throat,” “I tried to kiss you but my mouth was frozen shut.”

Through this image-rich, serial misrecollection, Darling’s work affixes a death mask onto her marriage. Her text offers over and over—with more fervor as we approach the conclusion—“let me tell you a story about marriage.” And indeed she does. By remembering and re-remembering her dress, the cake, waiting at the altar—as a macabre parade towards disaster—these items (broken glass, fire and ice, dead birds that “said nothing“) come together to retrospectively call for the union’s severance, precisely at the site of its high ritual.


Read more »

Whatever Speaks on Behalf of Hashish by Anis Shivani Reviewed in Entropy!


Whatever Speaks on Behalf of Hashish by Anis Shivani


Whatever Speaks on Behalf of Hashish by Anis Shivani
BlazeVOX, 2015
126 pages – BlazeVOX / Amazon


The challenge in writing about Anis Shivani’s work is that there is so much one could write about and there are so many portals through which one can enter and access Shivani’s labyrinthian intellectual and emotional corridors.  If you are a vocal passenger traveling through Shivani’s tightly knitted, poetic, and semiotic avalanche of quirky images, what is Shivani asking you to say, to speak? Will Whatever Speaks on Behalf of Hashish speak back to us, as if to engage in a one-sided conversation with us? Or will the speaker resort to silence, which is the mother of the Hashish experience, which is the text Shivani has birthed for us? Not from the mouth of nihilism, or Nietzsche, or the Enlightenment. Will you resort to “germinal silence”?  Is this prolific critic, poet, and novelist asking us to be “brave assassins stabbing in the dark,” or is he asking us to be a noun, a psychoactive resin? The hashish of the hashish. Is the assassin the narcotic or is it us, the readers, wanting the second person singular “you” to bend backward into time where we can stuff the stuffs of good and evil together in the sack of words which comprise this collection?

From then on, whatever pulls itself out of the linguistic sack of good and evil becomes Shivani’s poems. Or does he wish us to immorally vacillate and lubricate between sex and intellect as seen in his poem with the heavily alliterated “W” title, “Without Which He Would Not Have Written His Greatest Poems.” Which part of our intellectual and emotional or psychedelic impulses does he wish to engage? Or not at all – since Originality is dead or potentially dead. When creativity is dead, let nothing produce more of nothing. Or, in reading Shivani’s hashishlike language, am I  “the glamorous wom[a]n of Alexandria” who has founded “the best reference library” in Shivani’s second collection of conversationally enhanced poems. So when we read Shivani’s poems, we are asking ourselves if we are capable of being the Library of Congress. We face an enormous task. We can’t bundle Shivani’s words together like sticks and branches. There are over 100 pages of these steam engines of words. We can’t begin to pin down his sonnets. Perhaps, according to Shivani, the best poet removes himself entirely from the page and allows Hashish and the reader to coexist, to co-mingle, to get high on a voice together.

My mother said that if you get someone drunk, you can pull the truth out of them. Has Shivani, in writing this collection, pulled the truth from the mouth of the cosmos? Or the silence between two juxtaposed words? In Shivani’s poetic world, a world antipode to his decade-in-the making My Tranquil War, he is asking us to put down this war and to embrace another. The logic of not thinking. To embrace the emotional and intellectual content of our existence and to let the content of civilization and historic time, philosophical time, linguistic time, and manic time wash through us. Shivani has also invented an entire literary civilization using the imaginary autobiographical portraits of luminary figures, some dead and some alive. When Shivani writes this collection, he is adding another layer, a thick layer, of the collective consciousness on our already overabundant collective consciousness, monitored by Apple and Google and Pharmacology, as if the brain of existence needs to wear a Shivani-woven hat on its head – because the Winter of this lonely world is cold, so cold; a Shivani’s hat, a collective consciousness will keep us warm, not only in the Spring, but in the Summer too where the breeze can be a small knife that pierces the soft flesh of our gullet and cut the wind out of us and abandon us to the willow trees where we won’t be able to worship found poetry or loneliness. Here, google sculpted, Shivani writes, “Only boxers understand the loneliness/ of tennis players, maybe we were meant to be/ lonely, maybe we were meant to be on our own.”


Read more »
1 2 »

Extra Pages

Photos on flickr