The Moon & Other Inventions: Poems After Joseph Cornell is a fully enchanting if somewhat mysterious collection of poems, written entirely as footnotes, by the prolific Kristina Marie Darling. Although the book’s subtitle suggests Cornell as its primary subject matter, these poems are inspired by Cornell’s use of assemblage rather than derived from or driven by it. The poems’ focus on apparatuses and their intricate mechanics (for instance the telescope’s “little gears turning” or “metal scraps and shards of colored glass” on which “a rare variety of cockatiel” feed) are certainly in keeping with the feeling of Cornell’s boxes, as is Darling’s own use of found text. But to say this is a book that requires deep knowledge of or leans heavily upon Cornell’s work would be misleading.
Readers already familiar with Darling’s work will not be surprised to find that The Moon & Other Inventions: Poems After Joseph Cornell is a story told exclusively in footnotes. Darling is a poet interested in “writing poems that allow multiple voices to coexist within the same narrative space,” as she states in a 2012 interview with The American Literary Review.