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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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