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Kristina Marie Darling interview at The Bellingham Review


Kristina Marie Darling

ALR PhotoInterview

by Carol Guess

Kristina Marie Darling is the author of twelve books, which include Melancholia (An Essay) (Ravenna Press, 2012), Petrarchan (BlazeVOX Books, 2013), and (with Carol Guess) X Marks the Dress: A Registry (Gold Wake Press, 2013). Her work has been honored with fellowships from Yaddo, the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, as well as grants from the Kittredge Fund and the Elizabeth George Foundation. Kristina is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Poetics at SUNY-Buffalo, where she holds a Presidential Fellowship. She edits Noctuary Press.

Carol Guess is the author of thirteen books of poetry and prose. She teaches at Western Washington University. Follow her here at: www.carolguess.blogspot.com.


X Marks the Dress - Book Cover - 2-1Carol Guess: How did you become interested in writing and publishing hybrid forms? 

Kristina Marie Darling: I’ve was initially attracted to hybrid forms because they allow one to manipulate and undermine the reader’s expectations of narrative in interesting ways. When a reader sees prose on the page, they often assume that the text will unfold in a certain way:  a linear narrative will appear, filled with clear explanations of what things mean. I’ve always loved working against these kinds of readerly expectations, creating texts that challenge our assumptions about what prose should be.

With that in mind, I think of hybrid writing as an attempt to question the limitations we place on literary texts as a result of their form, their genre, or their orientation on the printed page. Hybrid writing has a unique ability to expand what we as readers think is possible within a literary text, and to foster more open-minded reading practices.

I’m passionate about publishing hybrid writing by women because of the gender politics inherent in these assumptions about what’s possible in a literary text. So much of the time, socially dominant groups decide what counts as “fiction,” “poetry,” or even “narrative.” I’m very interested in documenting, and bringing visibility to, writing that challenges prevailing ideas about what’s possible (or not possible) within a literary text.

Carol: Your current academic research is focused on H.D. What’s the interplay between your academic work and your creative projects?

Kristina Marie: To some people, H.D. might seem like an unlikely choice for a writer interested in hybrid genre work. But I’ve always been fascinated by her use of the poetic image to lend unity to book-length projects. I feel I’ve learned a great deal from H.D. that I can apply to my own craft.  In Helen in Egypt, for example, several recurring images recur throughout the book: seashells, the ocean, and a lyre. H.D. has shown me that a single image can be inscribed and reinscribed within a long poem, acquiring myriad possibilities for readerly interpretation as the book unfolds. The poetic image generates meaning, rather than being limited to a single fixed meaning. This technique is certainly something I’ve emulated in my own long poems, Petrarchan and Melancholia (An Essay).


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BRUSHES WITH by Kristina Marie Darling reviewed in WORD RIOT



Brushes With by Kristina Marie Darling

Review by Ben Moeller-Gaa

There are many different kinds of books out there. Some ask questions. Some answer questions. And some lie in between. Kristina Marie Darling’s books fall into the latter category. Her work actually goes a step further and requires the reader to ask their own questions and search for their own answers. Darling is a master of empty spaces, both being unafraid to leave most of the physical page of a book empty, giving us only footnotes to decipher, but also for allowing empty space within the text that allows you to enter into it and make of it what you will. It takes guts to do this and great skill to do it right. When reading Brushes With, her guts and skill quickly become evident.

This is a book of flash fiction consisting of 8 short titled pieces/chapters that don’t quite fill up a single page along with two illustrations that serve up as the Appendix. These pieces are not told in chronological order and are impossible to decipher without the footnotes. Each piece contains anywhere from 5 to 17 footnotes. The footnotes are the keys to unlocking the text even as they spin it on its head. Whether the footnotes are based on factual real world truth or simply part of the fiction is up to you to decide. Either way, they speak to the truth of the book. For example, in the piece titled “ANTARCTICA”, we have the following lines:

So I sit down and try to carve a man from a block of ice.
In every direction, the same snow-covered fields. 24

These are footnoted with the following:

24. Throughout the nineteenth century lyric poetry, the heroine’s desires are
projected onto the meadow itself.


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BRUSHES WITH by Kristina Marie Darling featured in Extract(s)

Brushes with by Kristina Marie Darling is featured at Extract(s): Daily Dose of Lit.  Here's the link:


Kristina Marie Darling is the author of fifteen books, which include Melancholia (An Essay) (Ravenna Press, 2012),Petrarchan (BlazeVOX Books, 2013), and a forthcoming hybrid genre collection called Fortress (Sundress Publications, 2014).  Her awards include fellowships from Yaddo, 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 is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Poetics at S.U.N.Y.-Buffalo.

Brushes With is available now from BlazeVOX[books].

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Romance With Small-Time Crooks by Alexis Ivy reviewed in PANK


REVIEW - Romance With Small-Time Crooks by Alexis Ivy

~by Anne Champion



BlazeVOX Books

90 pages/$16.00

The cover of Alexis Ivy’s debut collection depicts a scattered stack of cards and a hand overturning the Queen of Diamonds and the Eight of Clubs.  The Queen of Diamonds, of course, denotes power, royalty, and adornment, while the eight is a common symbol of infinity: all of this is embedded within the gamble, a game of chance, risk, and luck.  Similarly, these themes seem to trail the speaker of this collection in poems that take risks resulting in big payoffs.  These poems travel through the seedy underbelly of American life, exploring characters bound by their own self destruction embedded in a world of sex, drugs, liquor, and crime and a speaker that’s attracted to the scarred, the imperfect, and the dangerous.   While redemption and happy endings seem impossible in this collection, the poems refuse pity, instead transforming gutters into places of magic, insight, and growth.

Many poems in the collection recall still life paintings in their vivid imagery and details.  However, these still lifes illustrate ruin and utter desolation.  “So I Got Stoned,” depicts the actions and backgrounds of a speaker who has plummeted into silence.  The poem begins “I sorta wasn’t talking,/I sorta didn’t talk./I didn’t talk.”  These lines reveal the speaker’s reluctance to speak even now, as it takes several tries before anything can be said with any certainty.  Then, the still life gets painted through several sharp, compelling details, and the poem ends with the speaker’s reflection:

Wasted under
the willows at the Charles River,
chain smoking so I wouldn’t be
just sitting there.

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Kristina Marie Darling has Two New Reviews



Kristina Marie Darling has two new great reviews. The first is a review on her book Vow, which was just published in the November issue of Stirring: A Literary Collection.   




The second is an insightful review-in-footnotes of Petrarchan in the new issue of Diagram reviewed by Lisa Ampleman.




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