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Spanning four books across a six year period, Darling’s selected delivers a natural cohesion, a sense of the single, complex gesture, sharply whittled from these formerly separate visions. In the opening poem, Darling writes, “when she falls in love/ physical pain does not simply resist language but actively destroys it,” posing a thesis statement for the poems’ skeletal, clawing elegance. At the center of this book is a failed engagement, a sudden abandonment, tinged with violence, which serves as Darling’s flood subject, and expressed most often though erasures and extended narratives centered on playwriting and theatrical performance. Specifically, Shakespeare’s Ophelia appears as a wire running through the poems, serving as a totem for the speaker’s despair and aesthetic concerns. Those who have followed Darling’s astonishing artistic output will be delighted to possess this selection of her strongest and most current work. —Allison Benis White
Truest intimacy comes with an awful paradox: How can what is closest to us also be what is furthest away? An uncanny familiarity binds together these poems selected from the volumes Kristina Darling has written, so much so, it can feel as if each poem is trying to make the same gesture, to show us something—some scene, some relic, some person, some story, some confession—that retreats into obscurity as soon as a portion is revealed. Motifs surface and resurface again, nodes of a bare nerve: a silken dress, a bouquet of flowers, a seascape, a you, a her, a window, a text, a room. The great virtue here is a poetry that makes of itself an inner chamber, a place aside from the grand narratives—be they Shakespeare’s tragedies, or a text of which we have but the footnotes—that give ground to thoughts so quiet we seldom hear them even within ourselves. It is an old word, but an apt one, that describes these pages: they are lovelorn. That is, they suffer the thing they seek; and they offer us steadfast company as we do the very same. —Dan Beachy-Quick
The remarkably prolific Kristina Marie Darling presents selected poems covering only 6 years, but many styles. Intensely literary, and visually beautiful as well, these poems in the form of footnotes, erasures, lyric essays, and meditations on other texts, show the full array of her interests and literary powers. She has the ability to create haunting and intimate physical spaces with her language and her visual arrangements. Reading these poems, you will feel like you are in a carefully curated environment—like those foreign films you saw as a teen that made you, when you emerged into the bright light of your boring life, want to take a train to a rainy European city and fall in love with the wrong person. —Matthew Rohrer
What an inventive and brilliant collection this is, finding in free verse, in prose, in Shakespeare, in memoir, in erasure, and even in footnotes surprising opportunities for lyric meditations on love, violence, womanhood, and death. The poetry here is always intimate and lush, narrative voices and poetic modes interrupting each other, gesturing toward each other, concealing just below their many surfaces that sense of a story urgently trying to be told. This is a remarkable collection by a poet of depth and vision. —Kevin Prufer
This marvelously rich collection, gathering selections from Darling’s last four books, displays the complete range of her formal invention. She uses both footnotes and erasure to suggest social forces constantly repressed, but refusing to remain so, transforming themselves into constantly emergent truths. Her dynamic visual and verbal strategies create a dramatic vitality on every page. And indeed, drama is at the center of it all, in a long excerpt from her 2015 Women and Ghosts, a feminist reading of Shakespeare’s tragic heroines. The power and clarity of her voice and the haunting echoes of her imagery forge a stunning and deeply moving work. —Cole Swensen
Poetry. Women’s Studies.
Kristina Marie Darling is the author of thirty-six books, which include Look to Your Left: A Feminist Poetics of Spectacle; Stylistic Innovation, Conscious Experience, and the Self in Modernist Women's Poetry; DAYLIGHT HAS ALREADY COME: SELECTED POEMS 2014 - 2020; Silence in Contemporary Poetry; Silent Refusal: Essays on Contemporary Feminist Poetry; Angel of the North; and X Marks the Dress: A Registry (co-written with Carol Guess). Her work has been recognized with three residencies at Yaddo, where she has held the Martha Walsh Pulver Residency for a Poet and the Howard Moss Residency in Poetry; a Fundación Valparaíso fellowship to live and work in Spain; a Hawthornden Castle Fellowship, funded by the Heinz Foundation; an artist-in-residence position at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris; six residencies at the American Academy in Rome; two grants from the Whiting Foundation; and a Faber Residency in the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities.