Kristina Marie Darling is the author of over twenty books, which include Melancholia (An Essay) (Ravenna Press, 2012), Petrarchan (BlazeVOX Books, 2013), and Scorched Altar: Selected Poems and Stories 2007-2014 (BlazeVOX Books, 2014). Her awards include fellowships from Yaddo, the Ucross Foundation, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers, as well as grants from the Kittredge Fund and the Elizabeth George Foundation. She was recently selected as a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome.
An excerpt from her book, "The Arctic Circle," appeared in Issue Sixty-Five of The Collagist.
Here, she answers questions in the form of excerpts from The Artic Circle.
What is writing like?
I hold out the smallest parcel, show him its frozen worlds.
What isn’t writing like?
His last wife.
When you do it, why?
I did it because he told me not to.
When you don’t, why?
I have trouble controlling the shaking in both my hands.
Reading Travis Cebula’s engaging, dynamic new collection of poems Dangerous Things To Please a Girl, I am reminded of Michelle Naka Pierce speaking of intimacy across vast distances, the way language connects or longs, as here Travis Cebula’s travelogue poems stretch their tender tendrils out towards their listener, at once Angel, the addressee, and the reader, seeking a home, a location, a connection. As the book concludes, as we turn to the last page, we too keep on “turning. closer and closer” like the boy in this final poem—thus, in reading this book, we edge towards one another, and away, passengers in a life, a city. Cebula’s Paris is highly reminiscent of Frank O’Hara’s New York—a lively space to roam and reflect, to observe and to touch. Punctuated, like days, by grocery lists (often of the French clichés—picking up croissants or cheese and wine—) the original experiences of the speaker stand in stark contrast to the generic items purchased, accentuating a universal location of individuality in a world that often appears to have absorbed all our uniqueness in errand running, getting by or even global cosmopolitanism. The history of the city—literary and otherwise—serves as backdrop to this contemporary struggle to define and write the self, that self asking why it goes on going on, into the city, society, the weft and wane of existence, as the narrator—observing a pedestrian—asks of that other as much as of himself: “is it divine purpose or a madness older than trees, Angel, that prods this lone human to stride into traffic again”. A charming, delightful read, this collection of poems allows us to stroll with Cebula, to see his Paris while it invites us to reflect on the world through his eyes.Read more »
Luke McMullan is prising the nails out of the lyric and holding it ethically accountable for any passivity that might lurk in its corridors. This is a call to occupy, to resist the feasting and destruction. As 'we all dance the liberty frogmarch', he reprocesses the responsibilities of speculating and creating the spectacle of consumer lives. What stuns in this sequence is the performative quality of the work as it negotiates subtle moments of utterance and gesture. There's New York and 'Memphis', but even the oral inheritance/subtext of The Iliad with its ordnance and war dead. It's about adding up the costs. The angel investors are falling around us and the planet aches with opportunism. Capitalist adaptations come unstuck, thwarted by their own expense accounts. At once jagged and smooth, there's delicacy in this confrontation with personal and collective responsibility that can take one's breath away. One of the most intelligent poets writing anywhere, McMullan also has great technical facility and can keep us poised on the edge of the disaster he carefully articulates, and in which we are all culpable — he does this in the hope that we might see and act. This poet will change things for the better.Read more »
Pointed Sentences by Bill Yarrow