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Failure Lyric by Kristina Marie Darling reviewed

 

Kristina Marie Darling's Failure Lyric 

Kristina Marie Darling released her book Failure Lyric with BlazeVox Books earlier this year. Like Darling’s previous texts, Failure Lyric explores many relevant and emotionally evocative experiences. The most prevalent themes include the futility of romance, marriage and its many betrayals. Recurring images of the winter season, shattered glass, flowers and dead girls are expertly woven throughout the book, providing a cohesive narrative that exists seamlessly alongside a lyrical succession of images. We witness what it is to be a woman covered by the shadow of a man and a subversion of a misogynistic society while being trapped inside of it. Necessarily, there also exists a subdued feminist sensibility which aims to un-stifle the book’s narrator as she responds to her environment. This narrator, for obvious reasons is one which the majority of women can relate to.

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Kristina Marie Darling interviewed by Andre Blythe

 

Poet Spotlight: Kristina Marie Darling on Mapping Heartbreak

Kristina Marie Darling is the author of over twenty collections of poetry and hybrid prose. Her writing has been described by literary critics as “haunting,” “mesmerizing,” and “complex.” She has been awarded with a number of fellowships and grants by both U.S. and overseas universities, institutes, and organizations. She is currently working toward both a Ph.D. in English Literature at S.U.N.Y.-Buffalo and an M.F.A. in Poetry at New York University. Here, Kristina shares a bit about her latest collection of poetry, hybrid art forms, and the act of writing as catharsis.

Kristina Marie Darling

Your most recent book of poetry is Failure Lyric. Tell us a bit about this project and how it came about. 

Failure Lyric began as a series of erasures. I took a black marker to my four year correspondence with a male writer, who, out of respect for his work, will remain unnamed. What started out as an act of destruction became generative, since the hybrid prose pieces ultimately grew out of the erasures at the beginning and end of the book. Once I had erased every last email, note, and inscription, I started to write flash essays, which map my heartbreak and all of the unexpected places it brought me to: Saint Louis, Iowa, Burlington, and the now infamous Dallas/Fort Worth airport. So my initial attempts to destroy artifacts of the relationship became a documentary project, charting the crazy orbits that grief set me on.

The collection features mainly prose poems that unfold in a single story. Did you have a specific story you wanted to tell when you began writing? Or did the story evolve into being as you added individual poems together?

That’s a great question. I definitely discovered the story as I wrote. The book began as mere catharsis, an attempt to move past the end of the end of a relationship. With that said, I didn’t expect the artifacts of loss, and my own grief, to inspire me to write at all. I didn’t expect anything to come of the erasures except peace of mind maybe, or a good night’s sleep. Then I couldn’t stop writing. As the book began to take shape, the order was very close to the chronological order in which the poems were written. My grief became something concrete, a ledger of sorts, which will never be completely finished.

Some of your work has been described as hybrid prose. How would you define hybrid prose? Would the prose poems in Failure Lyric fall under this definition? How do you decide which form to use when you approach a new piece of poetry or prose?

While there are many different definitions of hybridity circulating within the literary community, I would define hybrid as a text that uses the resources of more than one genre. This can range from combinations of essay and poetry to hybrids of poetry and visual art, poetry and fiction, or even poetry and the dramatic arts. When deciding which form to use for a piece of poetry or prose, I usually consider the expectations the reader will bring to the text. Even more importantly, how can I undermine those readerly expectations? I see form as an opportunity to purposefully mislead the reader, offering them moments of beauty where they likely wouldn’t expect to find them.

READ THE WHOLE INTERVIEW HERE 

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Failure Lyric by Kristina Marie Darling reviewed at Sundress Publications

 Donna Vorreyer


Review of Failure Lyric by Kristina Marie Darling
Buffalo: Blazevox Books, 2015. 54 pp. $12, paper.


Failure is a perception that is essentially personal. One person's failure can be another's achievement, and failure implies blame, that there is something or someone faulty that did not result in a desired outcome. Lyric is a word that implies emotionally-charged language. Put the two together, and Failure Lyric is the result, a fractured and blistering portrayal of a broken relationship. 

The book tells the non-linear "story" of a failed relationship, one that seems doomed and distant from its inception. The speaker is never at ease, even at the very beginning. In the poem [First Failures], the speaker relates this story: 

"When we met, by a silver lake at the end of summer, I knew you were looking over my
shoulder, trying to find the woman who would fall in love with you."
[...]
"You waited and waited, but the woman never arrived. I just sat there next to the
refreshments, my best dress already out of fashion."

All the poem titles in the book are bracketed, which fittingly mimics the presentation of the speaker as an observer in this narrative, an afterthought to the siginificant other more than a presence. The book opens with an erasure called [Preface], which starts with the line "The story can't begin," telling the reader from the start that this story will not unravel in a way that we expect. 







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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 has Two New Reviews at Poet Hound!

 

Kristina Marie Darling’s Double Feature: The Arctic Circle, Failure Lyric

I admit that lately I have been very slow to read and review books these past two to three years and I can assure you I am working on ways to get back to doing these reviews more often. It will take a bit longer to achieve some of the goals I have set for myself in order to accommodate more reading, writing, and creating. I thank all of my loyal readers for sticking by. In the meantime, I will post as often as I can:

Today I review one of my favorite writers for a Double Feature. Kristina Marie Darling’s work continues to inspire me and sets my imagination spinning. 

First is The Arctic Circle, published by BlazeVox books in 2015, is a haunting collection where the ghost of the first wife lingers over the current couple’s lives. The current wife begins slipping into the first wife’s character, alarmingly the husband voices approval. The environment surrounding them grows cold, frosted over in ice. Below I am happy to share a few pieces:

VOW

The name I was given at birth was no longer my name. When I arrived at the reception hall, I was mistaken for another bride. Laced into the wrong dress, wearing the wrong shoes.

My husband would later confuse me with his last wife. He thought I was supposed to bring him cigarettes, and for a moment that seemed right. He mumbled as I handed him a purple lighter, and I left behind the only life I’d ever known.
But we were so good together. I never argued with him, afraid for years he’d remember his first wife was dead.

This poem describes our main character slipping into an expected persona and losing her individuality to make her partner happy. I fear the number of women who do this daily. I wish they would fight to keep themselves intact. Here, the bride succumbs to what is “expected” of her.
Read the whole review here
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