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Kristina Marie Darling interview at The Lit Review by Leah Umansky

 

An Interview with Kristina Marie Darling

09/15/14

Leah Umansky: Reading Vow, is like peering into someone’s secret past. A woman is said to be married. Her fiancé dies. She is left, bereft and almost-helpless. It reminds me much of Jane Eyre (for what would Jane be without her Rochester?). On the other hand, it reminds me of Charlotte Bronte herself and the way the Bronte Parsonage was both her home and her fortress. She died soon after she was married, too. With this said, how does your poetry lend itself to allusions? Do you find these books and stories are intrinsic to your life as a writer, or do you seek out these connections?

Kristina Marie Darling: That’s a great question. Most of my poems arise out of my life as a reader. I’ve always been intrigued by Marianne Moore’s use of the term “conversity,” a word she coined to describe the dialogic nature of poetry. With that in mind, I envision my poems as a response to the work that came before my own. By that I don’t just mean poetry, but also fiction, visual art, and literary theory. I’ve always thought it was the writer’s job to not only revise and modify earlier texts, but to forge connections between different texts. With Vow, I definitely sought to explore the relevance of these nineteenth century women’s texts to contemporary debates about language, gender and received literary forms.

For me, Vow represents a corrective gesture. In much of nineteenth century literary culture, women’s writing occupied a marginal space. For example, the sketchbook – which consisted of songs, notes, poems, diary entries, and a mixture of many other types of writing — was considered a predominantly female literary form. More often than not, literary forms that were marked as female were relegated to a private space. When writing Vow, I was interested in taking this marginal space, which women’s writing so often occupied, and making it a focal point.

LU: I’m interested in the speaker of these poems. I know you just founded your own feminist press, Noctury Press, so I know you have a clear relationship to gender in writing. What is her connection to the self? She’s strong, yet impressionable. She wants answers. She wants direction. She wants. What governs her? Is it desire? Is it loneliness? Is it the story inside being the bride? Women are expected to be so many different roles, besides being a woman.

For example: She “doesn’t know how” to use her wings.

                        She “doesn’t know how” to wear the dress.

                        She tries “ascending,” but says “it’s hard to know.”

                        She says,“a locked room, but what else?”

KMD: I’m very interested in the notion of the palimpsest, a text that is written, erased, and written over again and again. This is exactly how I envisioned the speaker of the poems in Vow.  She is inscribed and reinscribed with many different roles, expectations, and normative ideas about gender. These range from the complex culture surrounding weddings — the white dress, the ceremony, and the other accompanying rituals — to the myriad beliefs about what a wife should be, and what constitutes failure as a wife. The speaker of these poems definitely feels that she has failed as a wife, and as a result, she has been buried alive by the many normative ideas about marriage that have been inscribed onto her. She is motivated by the desire to erase this palimpsest, and find out what’s underneath the words and beliefs others have imposed upon her marriage and her identity. With that said, she is also interested in carefully documenting everything, for herself and for other women in her position.

Read the whole Interview here

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Leah Umansky reviewed in Best American Poetry

Posted by Kristina Marie Darling

February 25, 2014

I'm intrigued by Umansky's treatment of the poem as a space in which intervention into literary tradition becomes possible.  Just as she re-imagines Wuthering Heights from a fragmented, postmodern stylistic standpoint, Umansky presents each poem as a theoretical act, an active engagement with the work that came before her own.  Domestic Uncertainties is filled with poems like this one, which read as both conversation with and revision of received wisdom. 

Read the whole review here   

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Leah Umansky interviewed in the New School Blog

 

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Leah Umansky, poet, writer and curator / host of COUPLET: a poetry and music series (and regular in Patricia Carlin‘s poetry workshop in The New School’s Continuing Education Program) shows us all there is in love and unlove, that Don Draper makes a compelling muse, that we are our own heroines (or heroes, as the case may be), and that we should really, really care about poetry.

 Read the Whole Review Here  

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Leah Umansky recommends in the new issue of Poets & Writers!!!

 

Leah Umansky Recommends...

WRITERS RECOMMEND

Posted 8.07.13

“Read the news. There are some strange things happening in the world. The New York Times is a huge part of my writing process. I rip out articles; I circle phrases from the science section, the business section, and sometimes (dare I say) the book review. I recently wrote a poem that came from an article Teddy Wayne wrote about Justin Bieber.

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Leah Umansky reviewed in the Brooklyn rail and a reading tour schedule

 

From Jeffrey Cypers Wright on the Brooklyn Rails' Rapid Transit: 

RAPID TRANSIT

Leah Umansky
Domestic Uncertainties
(BlazeVOX, 2013)

Leah Umansky admits impediments. In fact, her topos of a marriage-gone-bad is previewed on the cover (she did the collage). A wedding cake couple floats above rocks under a stormy sky framed by flaming red curtains. The poetry is much more subtle but no less vivid.

[ read the whole review here, along with great reviews of new work by Rob Cook and Marjorie Welish.]

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Umansky on Tour

Published on Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Leah Umansky has just added new reading dates in support of her debut collection, Domestic Uncertanties(BlazeVox, 2013).

July (Northwest USA)

Umansky’s August dates are still TBA. Keep up with all the latest dates and locations by checking here.

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Extra Pages

Photos on flickr