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Archive for September 2013

Brushes with, by Kristina Marie Darling discussed on Open Salon


 'Visitation' by Noah Saterstrom (2012)

Brushes With by Kristina Marie Darling. Published Blazevox Books, 2013

Raising the Object to Fetish Item In Brushes With by Kristina Marie Darling

There are eight major poems in Brushes With which treat of the loss of love. These are titled Cartography, Feminism, Spectacle, Landscape, Antarctica , Migration, Utopia and Martyrdom. The major poems are juxtaposed with footnotes which run the gamut of the text.

I subtitled this response to the text of Brushes With; Raising The Object To Fetish Item, because the objects within the body of the work function as load-bearing major symbols that carry the narrative. None more so than Darling's use of the footnote in the body of the entire text.

In Darling's narrative the footnote acts as driver to and anchor of the poems that I have listed above. The footnote also acts as subverter to the poet's own voice through increasingly exteriorising and encapsulating her emotional pitch in a series of objects: the star-map, the headless statue, the ripped dress, the violet nightdress, the burnt meadow, and the burnt room. The interior objects that belong in the ruined house have gained a steely patina that gleam beneath glass, or are hidden beneath wood.

What the reader is presented with here is a major narrative and its attendant subtext which refuses to run parallel with the text, but instead ducks and hides to be taken up by the poet at a later point in the work. There is no tension between narrative and subtext. Their relation is symbiotic , one cannot be read without the other and the use of subtext/footnote is carefully controlled throughout.

The most obvious Darling symbol herein and one that I should return to is that of the dress which occurs in the very first footnote and is repeated in a variety of forms throughout the book. However, there is a buried symbol in Brushes With which I felt took on quite gargantuan symbolic proportion and that is the image I have chosen to look at for the purpose of this reading. The image of thebroken statuette. The porcelain statuette first occurs in the poem  Feminism.


    'You had always loved mementoes. Once you'd even rented

    a small boat to find your missing porcelain statuette. ˆ


    I started to wonder what other gifts you'd leave behind .

    The dried insects I'd find in each of your letters.


   I closed the cabinet door, counted each piece of shattered

   glass, and tried to imagine them all in your perfect white hands.'


   from, Feminism by Kristina Marie Darling


^ 18. 'This statue of the Holy mother would later be found headless in a tiny museum in northern France.'

^63 (p 44) 'Upon seeing the smoke rising, she could barely speak. The little statue lost as the entire roof caved in before them.'

^45. (P  35) ' The girls in these statues are always martyrs: drowned Ophelia, the Holy Mother, Jeanne D'Arc.  Day after day the same shattered porcelain hands. '

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Krystal Languell upcoming readings

Krystal Languell upcoming readings


Krystal Languell, author of Call the Catastrophists has her upcoming Fall readings up and down the East coast of the US. So if you are nearby, please do come and hear a wonderful poet! Hurray!   

Sept 21
Publicly Complex Series
Ada Books, 717 Westminster St.
Providence, RI
w/ Rangi McNeil

Sept 24
Mental Marginalia
379 Union Ave
Brooklyn, NY 

Oct 14
Poetry Project
131 E. 10th St.
w/ Ted Dodson

Oct 24
What's New in Poetry Series
Emory Bookstore
Atlanta, GA
w/ Susan Briante, Farid Matuk, and Sarah Mumolo

November 8
Trobar Ric Series
Oxford, MS


Call the Catastrophists by Krystal Languell

Fiery and fine, Krystal Languell's Call the Catastrophists is a "Whoomp! (There it is)" of a first collection. Amused, bemused, explosive, defused, beautiful, ass-shaking, self-effacing, serious, then distant, then wise, Languell's register-shifting magic in these poems is worth the price of entry. You'll be coming back, though, for the heart.

—Ander Monson

Krystal Languell traverses memory and desire with a tough-minded concern for language’s (in)ability to mean. Place and language collide, collude, and collapse everywhere, producing subversions of the order/system of all things: catastrophe pervades. Call the Catastrophists interrogates—colloquially, effortlessly—the damage done to us by language. There is perhaps no greater challenge for the poet, and perhaps no better poet to engage it than Languell.

—Carmen Giménez Smith

Okay, what should I call them? Nyuk-nyuk-nyuk-nyuk. Anything but late for supper! Ah-cha-cha-cha! Krystal Languell’s poems are a lot funnier than those jokes. And sadder. And far more perceptive. And maybe they’re not so much about pulling the rug from under language as they are about getting down on the carpet and helping you to look for your lost contact lens or to scrub up the wine you just spilled. These are poems by a human being who reminds you that there are more of us (from wherever it is we came from) both behind and in front of this book.

—Graham Foust

What then is a catastrophist? In the cosmography of this incredible first volume, she is a mobile force that screams: There is plenty to say, say it, say it! In the case where it is the critical reality of the daily life of a person, a thinking person, a person with a sex that is not one, with a class not a cache, who bumps against reality being easily bruised, and doing it again, and saying so. Krystal Languell reinscribes poetry to its rightful spot where we begin, and keep beginning, inside our catastrophe, where it lives.

—Rachel Levitsky

Krystal Languell was a semi-finalist for the 2010 University of Akron Press Poetry Prize and a finalist for the 2011 National Poetry Series. Her work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Fairy Tale Review, and DIAGRAM among other journals, and was anthologized in the 2010 edition of Best of the Web. Founder of the feminist literary magazine Bone Bouquet, she serves as a collaborative board member for Belladonna* Series as well as editor-in-chief at Noemi Press. She teaches composition at York College in Queens and the Borough of Manhattan Community College. She lives in Brooklyn, where she also co-curates the HOT TEXTS Reading Series.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 68 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-090-3


Buy it at Amazon here

Call the Catastrophists by Krystal Languell Book Preview

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Split Lip interviews Kristina Marie Darling on her new book Brushes with

J. Scott Bugher

Kristina Marie Darling on Her New Book: Brushes with

It was a joy reading Kristina Marie Darling's new book Brushes with and it is a privilege to have the chance to discuss the book with this brilliant avant-garde writer. She is a master of innovative form. There is a famous quote from poet Robert Creeley: "Form is an extension of content," and Kristina Marie Darling indeed a master of using such things as footnotes, terms found in dictionaries, glossaries, erasure, etc blended with prose poetry. In sum, fragmentation. Through the course of reading Brushes with--which you should because it's available HERE--you'll find all sorts of unique gems that masterfully tell this story. 

I would first like to thank you for dehydrating my highlighting marker in its entirety. There is much to take in when reading your new bookBrushes with. I want to dive into the book here soon, but could you tell me if this has this always been your gig: experimental writing? Was there ever a time you wrote more conventional prose or poetry? Where did it all start and what brought you to the writer you are now?


When I first started writing, I was very traditional.  Much of what I wrote was autobiographical.  Failed relationships, Missouri, and the suburbs were almost always my chosen subjects.  Reading other poets was what helped me incorporate more variety in my writing.  I read everything I could get my hands on, which ranged from Gary Snyder to Joshua Clover and even The Maximus Poems.  I started to understand that the poet isn't always the speaker of the poem, but rather, poets can experiment with the techniques of fiction writing. I'd have to say that reading, and being

exposed to many ideas outside of my own comfort zone, taught me the importance of innovation, experimentation, and risk-taking in poetry.  It's fine to write from one's lived experience, but one shouldn't be afraid to take liberties with both form and content when writing from autobiography. 


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