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Kristina Marie Darling interviewed at Heavy Feather Review

 

The Tension between Order and Chaos: An Interview with Kristina Marie Darling

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Kristina Marie Darling is the author of 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. Her most recent book, The Sun & the Moon, was just released by BlazeVOX Books.

I’m curious about the formal constraints that organize this book. Reading the linked prose poetry sections which are filled with recurring imagery and language, I was reminded of the musicality and looping patterns of sestinas. Can you please talk about your use of form in this book?

That’s a great question, and I love the comparison you draw between the prose poems and sestinas. I value the sense of unity that these inherited forms provide, especially within a book-length manuscript. Within my own practice, though, I often have a difficult time rendering my ideas, imagery, and language compatible with forms like the sonnet, the villanelle, and the sestina. I enjoy inventing my own formal constraints, since this seems to give me the best of both worlds: the unity and sense of order associated with writing in form, and the freedom to discover the poem or sequence as I write it. To make impulsive and intuitive choices, rather than striving for loyalty to the formal constraint.

When writing The Sun & the Moon, I was unsure at first what form the book would take, since the sequence began in fragments. I was drawn to the little prose boxes you see in the book because they worked in tension with the chaos and violence in the content of the manuscript. As I drafted the book, I wanted to see how long I could sustain the tension between order and chaos, between the uniform appearance of the poems and the way that the images and motifs slowly changed shape. I hope that the relationship between form and content will spark the reader’s curiosity, and add to the possibilities for interpretation.

The sections that I felt most drawn to were Appendix B and C—though they were made more meaningful by the first section. Appendix B seemed to act as a kind of document, as if a diary destroyed in a fire by soot, water damage, erasures. Appendix C functioned for me as if some kind of relationship field notes—can you again, please speak of how these structures and forms operate in your larger project? How did you arrive at using these forms and structures?

I appreciate your careful reading of the book’s Appendix B and C. Appendix B actually consists of erasures of the earlier section, but I love your comparison to a diary that has been destroyed by soot or fire damage. I arrived at these fragmented literary forms after seeing just how visually uniform the first section appeared. So in this respect, your comparison between the invented constraints of the prose poems and a sestina sequence is especially perceptive.

Read the Whole Interview Here 

Her most recent book, The Sun & the Moon, was just released by BlazeVOX Books.

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The Arctic Circle by Kristina Marie Darling highlighted on The Collagist

 

The Arctic Circle

By Kristina Marie Darling


BlazeVOX
October 2014
978-1609641955


 

Mercy


Wind shook the fence around our yard. A shadow appeared beneath the window. But it wasn't the marble statue or a deer. It wasn't the birdbath with its small store of ice. The shadow was cast by your first wife, returning after our wedding. So long after she'd left that you'd stopped watching for signs.

 

The garden was all thistle and frost. I was surprised she recognized the small iron gate, the iced-over trees. For years I had been living in her house, wearing her clothes, answering to her name.

I could no longer step outside without my hands shaking.  Your real wife stood there like a buck, waiting to charge.

 

Solstice


After you left for work, my hair lightened. My mouth turned the color of your first wife's favorite lipstick: light pink, with the tiniest hint of shimmer. I placed my old clothes in boxes, started to label them. Then I struck a match, lit them all on fire.

 

When you got home, dinner was waiting. Forks and knives glittered next to our plates. Before long you saw the heap of ashes in the living room. I had swept them into a little pile beneath the armchair. But you never asked how the fire started.

You stood there with your hair slicked backed, smiling. Then you touched my blonde hair, my pale pink lips, and said, This is why I married you . . . 

 

Avalanche


Little dishes lined the cabinet above the stove. When we moved into the house, I made you coffee every morning.

 

The stove was old, but I didn't expect it to turn the bottom of the kettle black. I poured your coffee into a china cup. You drank it slowly because it never tasted right. I always made too much, and you didn't want me to know. So when you left for the office, you took the cup and saucer with you.

The dishes started to disappear. Before long the cabinet was almost empty. Then one morning as I made your coffee, my ring fell in the cup. I knew it was only a matter of time before everything else would be carried away.

Read the whole feature at the Collagist here

Buy The Arctic Circle here

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Requited by Kristina Marie Darling reviewed on Drunken Boat

 

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Drunken Boat’s very own Matthew Hamilton reviews Kristina Marie Darling’s Requited.

 

Imagine coming home one day and finding out that your wife packed all her belongings, and the only thing left of hers was a note, laying there like a cold memory, that read, “I’m not happy anymore. Take care.” Imagine an empty space where the word Love should have been above her signature. Imagine scratching your head as you struggle to understand why this has happened to you. Imagine your emotions freezing inside of you like an impatient winter storm.

 

For me, Kristina Marie Darling’s poetry collection, Requited, could not have come at a better time. As someone recently going through a divorce, after reading this collection, I feel confident saying that I understand the frozen space of a damaged heart, of an experience so hurtful it often leaves me reeling in angst with every thought I have of my soon to be ex-wife from the moment I read her letter.

 

But poetry is good for the soul, and Darling’s words spoke to me like a skilled therapist speaks to a client, or a priest speaking to a parishioner in the mysterious confines of the confessional.

 

These graceful prose poems, no more than five lines in length, describe a love affair that is like a “rose garden in the dead of winter,” which sets the pace for the rest of this 41 page book with its blizzardy cold conditions. Of course, this is all metaphor to how the narrator is feeling, miserable to say the least. She is a dead flower with “cold blue lips,” “a heroine counting unfaithful stars.” And these simple, yet profound lines will pervade the reader with sympathy and understanding, especially for those readers that have experienced, or are currently experiencing, a failing relationship.

 

Read the whole review here 


Preview Requited here

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The Sun & the Moon by Kristina Marie Darling Reviewed on Poet Hound

 

Kristina Marie Darling's The Sun & The Moon

The Suns & The Moon, by Kristina Marie Darling, is a haunting and romantic collection centered around a couple who are surrounded by the supernatural. Darling creates a world that struggles with fire and ice, romance and heartbreak, and ultimately envelopes the reader in an enchanting world of her own making. Below I am happy to share some of her work:

(I)
You began as a small mark on the horizon. Then night & its endless train of ghosts. You led them in, one after the other. They took off their shoes, hung their coats & started looking through the drawers. By then I could hardly speak. I realized the lock on the door must not be working. The floor was covered in ash. There was nothing I could do, so I kept trying to tell you goodnight. You just stood there, your hands in your pockets, that small army behind you. That was when they started polishing the knives.

In this collection these ghosts come to stay and ultimately cause trouble for the couple in their home. The idea of ghosts hanging their coats and then hunting through the drawers is an unusual sight to imagine, as most ghosts have no need to do such things. The polishing of the knives sends the ominous signal that these ghosts may mean more harm than good and are here to stay.
Read The Whole Review Here 
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The Sun & the Moon by Kristina Marie Darling Reviewed

 

Kristina Marie Darling’s The Sun & the Moon



Kristina Marie Darling’s new poetry collection, The Sun & the Moon, from BlazeVOX [books] is as smooth and well-crafted as the flowers that so often appear in Darling’s poems. The book is separated into four sections: the main narrative, illustrations of various astronomical clocks—probably because of the many stars that appear in the text—erasures of the main narrative, and “Notes and Observations.”   
Though Darling employed many of the same images and techniques as in other books, (such as erasure) The Sun & the Moon was different because there was so much more of a dreamlike narrative bent to the poems than in previous collections such as Fortress or Night Songs. This made for an interesting and welcomed change. I’m glad to see Darling expand her horizons a little. The book tells of a married couple whose house is taken over by “an endless train of ghosts” and burned.
I believe the ghosts represented the couple’s troubled marriage. In fact, the husband does leave the house by the end of the book, leaving the protagonist as the only human occupant in the house. What I found peculiar is that the ghosts and the husband did similar things, such as carry stars around with them. Also, the husband did fantastic, surreal things: “The tablecloth was burning & still you just sat there, stroking that enormous fire.” I wonder if there were such similarities between the man and the ghosts, was the man a ghost too? Is that how the protagonist saw him? As always, provocative questions like these appear in all of Darlings poems.





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