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Kristina Marie Darling interviewed at Word Mothers

 

Meet Kristina Marie Darling

Interview by Nicole Melanson ~

 

Interview with poet and editor Kristina Marie Darling by Nicole Melanson

Kristina Marie Darling is the author of over twenty collections of poetry and hybrid prose, which include VowPetrarchan, and Scorched Altar:  Selected Poems & Stories 2007-2014. Her awards include fellowships from Yaddo, the Ucross Foundation, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, the American Academy in Rome, and the University of Washington’s Helen R. Whiteley Center, as well as grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Kittredge Fund, the Ora Lerman Trust, and the Rockefeller Foundation Archive Center. She is currently working toward both a Ph.D. in English Literature at the University at Buffalo and an M.F.A. in Poetry at New York University. She serves as Assistant Editor for Handsome, Associate Editor for Tupelo Quarterly, and Founding Editor of Noctuary Press. Her experimental memoir, Failure Lyric, was just released by BlazeVOX Books.

Kristina Marie Darling’s website

 

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?

I started writing and submitting work for publication when I was in high school. I knew early on that I wanted to be a writer, but I wasn’t sure exactly how to get started. I bought a copy of Writers’ Market and sent my poems just about everywhere. You probably guessed that I received eighty or so rejections before I got my first acceptance. I would put the rejection slips in a little drawer, and then after awhile, the drawer wouldn’t close. Then, when my first publication finally arrived, it was stapled crooked and most of the poems were just awful. I didn’t get discouraged, though, since I knew that one publication was something I could build on, and that small things can turn into bigger things. Kristy Bowen at Dancing Girl Press was the first to take a chance on one of my chapbook manuscripts, and for that I’m still so grateful. Having a couple of publications and a chapbook helped me build more of track record, and within two years, I had some prose appear in The Gettysburg Review.

 

WHAT IS YOUR LATEST BOOK OR CURRENT PROJECT?

My experimental memoir, Failure Lyric, was just released by BlazeVOX Books, and I couldn’t be more excited. The collection pairs erasures with flash essays that depict a romance that was doomed from the start. The project began with the erasures, in which I took a black marker to a four-year correspondence with a male writer, who out of respect for his work, will remain unnamed. The erasures of our personal correspondence became the preface and the epilogue. The middle of the book is comprised of flash essays, which map my heartbreak through all of its various geographic locations: Burlington, St. Louis, Iowa, and the now infamous Dallas/Fort Worth airport. I see this book as an exploration of grief and the complicated orbits that it set me on.

Read the whole interview here 

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Kristina Marie Darling interviewed at Poet's Quarterly

The “Darling” of the Poetry World

Millicent Bórges Accardi, Interviews Editor

Reviews have made me a better writer, one who is more articulate
about her own practice. Poetry is a conversation, and your book is
just the beginning.

The “Darling” of the Poetry World


Millicent Bórges Accardi, Interviews Editor

Reviews have made me a better writer, one who is more articulate about her own practice. Poetry is a conversation, and your book is just the beginning.


The author of over twenty books, including Melancholia (An Essay), Petrarchan and a hybrid genre collection called Fortress, as well as a collaboration poetry book with Carol Guess about bridal registries called X Marks the Dress, Kristina Marie Darling is one of the most prolific writers in the 21st century.
Darling’s 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.

Millicent Bórges Accardi: Erin Elizabeth Smith (director of Sundress Academy in Knoxville) in an Amazon review calls X Marks the Dress, “a narrative of love and identity that unpacks itself again and again. . .Lines and images reappear in new and surprising ways—footnotes, appendices, definitions—that stunningly illustrate exactly how slippery love can be.”


Where did you come up with the inspiration for this poetry collection?

Kristina Marie Darling: My collaborator, Carol Guess, was the mastermind. She had the brilliant idea of structuring the book around the idea of a bridal registry, with each poem named for a domestic object. We wrote the poems in call and response style, with Carol starting us off, and then I responded to her work, and so on. Carol assumed the voice of the husband, and I was the wife. As we worked, the book went in many unexpected directions. For example, the husband realized that he was really a woman. But things didn't become really wild until we introduced a mistress into the narrative....

Water Goblets

Your girlfriend licks sugar off the rim of a crystal shot glass. What happens to the wedding gifts if a marriage dissolves? Before, it was easy to send thank you notes: white scented paper, matching envelopes, & dark green ink. But now you’re changing in the bathroom, unbuttoning the shirt I bought for you at some Labor Day sale. Soon I see you all pale blue in someone else’s designer dress. I’ve undone the little clasp on my purse, searching for gift receipts. Sweetheart, your new bride is waiting in her mud-stained car. The husband I remember wouldn’t look back.

(Link to Mistress flash poems in Mudlark)

MBA: X Marks the Dress is a niche market book which I think could straddle the poetry world and a general audience. For example, I can see brides getting that book at showers or women giving it as gifts before a wedding. Have you experienced cross-over readers?

KMD: Carol and I were amused when the book hit #1 on the Amazon.com Bestselling New Releases for books about bridal gowns.

Read the whole interview here

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Kristina Marie Darling interviewed at Writers Digest!

 

Kristina Marie Darling: Poet Interview

Confession: I don’t really keep records on Poetic Asides, but I’m pretty sure Kristina Marie Darling has the record for most poet interviews in PA history.

Kristina Marie Darling

Kristina Marie Darling

If this is your first time hearing her name, Kristina Marie Darling is the author of over 20 books, which include VowPetrarchan, and Scorched Altar, all available from BlazeVOX Books.  Her writing has been recognized with fellowships from Yaddo, the Ucross Foundation, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, 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.

Visit her online at http://kristinamariedarling.com.

It’s been fun watching her writing evolve over the years, and in Darling’s collection Scorched Altar: Selected Poems & Stories 2007-2014, it’s now possible to get a sampling of her writing from 12 different sources.

Here are a few of the pieces you will find:

*****

Recreating_Poetry_Revise_PoemsForget Revision, Learn How to Re-create Your Poems!

Do you find first drafts the easy part and revision kind of intimidating? If so, you’re not alone, and it’s common for writers to think the revision process is boring–but it doesn’t have to be!

In the 48-minute tutorial Re-Creating Poetry: How to Revise Poems, poets will learn how to go about re-creating their poems with the use of 7 revision filters that can help poets more effectively play with their poems after the first draft. Plus, it helps poets see how they make revision–gasp–fun!

Click to continue.

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What are you currently up to?

I’m getting ready to leave for a residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and couldn’t be more excited. I’ll spend my time there working on a new collection of erasure poems, which examines the egregious amount of gender violence in Shakespeare’s tragedies. The fragmented, elliptical poems ask reader to consider whether the literature we’ve inherited has normalized gender violence, since plays like HamletKing Lear, and Othello are so present within the public imagination.

Part critique, part excavation, the poems are intended to redirect the focus of scholarly and readerly attention. It is when we become conscious of underlying beliefs and assumptions in culture, and their roots, that change emerges as a real possibility.

scorched_altar_selected_poems_stories_kristina_marie_darlingScorched Altar is a collection of selected poems and stories published by BlazeVOX [books]. How did this collection come about?

That’s a great question. I initially contacted Geoffrey Gatza, the fabulous editor in charge of the press, to inquire about the possibility of a Selected Poems.

It turns out that Geoffrey had the same idea himself, and I simply e-mailed first. Since I had worked with BlazeVOX on numerous previous collections, I knew that my Selected Poems was in very good hands.

Was the process of selecting pieces from previous collections different than putting together a new collection?

When I compiled the poems from my previous collections for Scorched Altar, it was a much different process than working on a brand new collection. For me, writing a new poem or poetry book is an intuitive process, and I don’t reflect much on what I’m doing, at least in the drafting stage. If I allow myself to become too self-aware, that allows me to become self-critical, and then no writing gets done at all.

What I really enjoyed about the process of compiling Scorched Altar was that it prompted me to reflect on my body of work as a whole, to see patterns emerge from my writing over the past seven years, and to see progress and growth. The act of examining my poetry over the course of several years also helped me see what ideas, obsessions, and literary forms I returned to most frequently. And as a result, I came away from the process with many ideas for new projects, experiments, and poems that were completely different from anything I’d ever written before.

In many ways, the act of examining my body of work showed me what is possible within it.

Many of your pieces, especially in collections like Correspondence and Fortress, have a very visual element to how they’re arranged on the page. Do you ever perform these in readings? If so, do you have to explain how they’re set?

I think every poetry reading has some element of performance. Whether the poet shouts their poems, or sings them, or invites audience participation, I’m positive that all writers have a constructed persona, which is an extension of the work itself. With that in mind, I love performing my footnote poems at readings.

I typically read them in a completely flat, monotone voice, almost like the bad math professor that just about everyone had in college. I love seeing the audience lulled into a sense of comfort by the unexciting presentation of the work, only to be surprised by the wildly imaginative content.

You’re an active literary critic. Does this inform your writing? Help? Hinder?

I’m glad you asked about my reviewing and involvement with literary criticism. I love reviewing books, because it exposes me to poetry that is completely outside my comfort zone. This is great because it helps me question and interrogate what I normally do in my own writing. It pushes me to try new things and experiment more within my own practice. And it helps me see more clearly where my poems fit within the larger literary community.

The best thing about reviewing, though, is that it helps build relationships within publishing and writing. I’ve met friends, collaborators, and even mentors when working on reviews. And there’s nothing better than free books!

Read the Whole Interview Here 

Read More about Scorched Alter here

 

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Kristina Marie Darling interviewed at Blotterature

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH KRISTINA MARIE DARLING

Blotterature was excited when Kristina Marie Darling sent her collection, The Arctic Circle, our way for a review. We see her work widely published in the small press and admire her dedication to her craft–especially when taking risks. In her interview below, Kristina displays her positive attitude–a quality we all can admire.  And we can’t forget to mention that she has the coolest name. Hope you enjoy!

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Blotterature has a strong connection to our place – industrialized Northwest Indiana – and it is reflective in our writing. Tell us where you are and how your place fits into your art. 

That’s a great question. I lived for three years in Buffalo, New York and the snow-covered landscape appears quite frequently in my poems. I’m very interested in the ways that poetry can explore the relationship between one’s inner experience and one’s surroundings, since the two are often inextricable. In many of my poems, the speaker’s innermost thoughts and emotions are projected onto the landscape, ultimately shaping how the reader sees and experiences that particular place. My most recent collection, The Arctic Circle, takes this idea to the extreme, suggesting that an ice-covered landscape houses not only frozen vegetables, but also, frozen hearts and frozen wives.

Who/What has impacted your work the most and how does that come through?

More than anything, my work has been impacted by my experience as a woman in academia. Most people associate academic prose with strict rules, and stricter genre categories. In my creative practice, I work with a variety of prose forms, including prose poems, flash fictions, footnotes, glossaries, and endnotes. I frequently fill these somewhat unexciting prose forms with subversive and unexpected content. By doing so, I hope to show the reader that anything is possible within a literary text, so one should never impose limitations on a piece of writing on the basis of its form or appearance on the printed page.

How do you generate new ideas for your work?

When I have writer’s block, the best thing for me to do is read everything I can get my hands on. I read poetry and hybrid pieces, but also work that would never appear on the syllabus of a poetry workshop. After all, writing itself is just one more way of grappling with the literary and cultural tradition(s) that we have inherited. For me, it’s impossible to write if I don’t have something to engage or respond to.

When have you been most satisfied with your work?

I’m most satisfied with my work when it initiates dialogue between writers, reviewers, or even visual artists and composers. The best part of being a writer is being part of a community, so I’m always excited to see responses to my poetry, whatever form they may take. I was thrilled when Dale Trumbore, a fabulously talented composer, set some of my footnote poems to music. And recently, I participated in an installation project, where my poem was sewn onto a kite. All of art is a conversation, so it’s impossible for me to work (and feel fulfilled in my work) in isolation.

How do you know when a piece is finished?

That’s something that every artist struggles with, I think! In my own practice, I know when a piece is finished after I’ve lived with it for awhile, and I can read it without thinking of revisions, edits, and other things that I would do differently if given the chance.

What has been your biggest failure and what − if any − lessons were learned?

I published my work too soon. While many writers would constantly reprimand themselves for publishing something before it was ready, I choose not to feel bad about it at all. I’m grateful that those editors took a chance on my work, and I’m thankful that those journals helped my work find readers. In many ways, what some writers would consider a failure or a lapse in judgment has taught me the importance of gratitude in any writer’s practice.

Read the whole Interview here 

Check out Arctic Circle here 

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Photos on flickr