Zoom Blog

Everything BlazeVOX

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. '

Leave a Reply

Extra Pages

Photos on flickr