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Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher: The TNB Self-Interview




What are three things you want the reader to know about GHOST / LANDSCAPE?

KMD: In the poems, you’ll find a bank robbery, a lock on the door, and a freezer we keep forgetting we keep in the basement. One (and only one) of these things is real.

Now that you’ve entered the landscape, don’t follow the paths that seem most clearly marked. They’ll lead you further away from the guesthouse (and the truth about the ghost).

Lastly, and most importantly, the conference we keep referring to was really an elaborate cover-up. Even the panels were just for show.

JG: Things keep changing, you know? One moment the news is on, and it’s such very bad news from so many quarters (1). And then you’re shopping for new shoes (2). Both of these things are honest and true things about living in the world (3).

I was reading something the other day (you might’ve seen it; it was passed around facebook) arguing against the current conception of empathy, that it’s too easily swayed by individuals in crisis and not enough by long-term goals. And it reminded me of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, where Riker gets turned into a god, and loses his capacity for empathy. Like most things, it’s a negotiation.


What does collaboration make possible in your work?

JG: Someone else! I get tired of myself and my way of thinking, and it’s great to get out of that house, go visiting. It’s why we have dinner parties? Something like that. A new context allows for new thinking.

KMD: Absolutely! Collaboration invites a degree of spontaneity into my practice that is just about impossible when I’m writing alone.  I tend to be a control freak, a compulsive planner.  But when you’re writing a book with John, you really never know what he’s going to do.  Which is a good thing.  Well, most of the time.


Read the whole interview here

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Tony Trigilio interviewed on Best American Poetry Blog


"Eleven Questions for Eleven Poets" Part 1 of the Best American Poetry blog interview! 

Alan Michael Parker interviewed Tony Trigilio
 and 10 other poets (Elizabeth Colen, Carolina Ebeid, Dana Levin, Max Ritvo, David Rivard, Chris Santiago, Lee Sharkey, Clint Smith, Megan Snyder-Camp, and Monica Youn). Everyone talks about their new books coming out this fall.
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Those Godawful Streets of Man by Stephen Bett reviewed

 Today's book of poetry:
Those Godawful Streets of Man: A Book Of Raw Wire In The City.  Stephen Bett.  Blazevox[Books].  Buffalo, New York.  2015.

Stephen Bett is damned sure that none of us is going to get out of this city unscathed.  Those Godawful Streets of Man: A Book Of Raw Wire In The City is a little light when it comes to optimism, this book is a sneer from a mouth full of broken teeth.

Those Godawful Streets of Man (64th St.)

Then there was cousin
Billy (Edinburg)
down the shop
for smokes

Wife & baby daughter
at home for five

Twenty years later
detective tracked
him in NYC


And it's all
about cities
(& borders)

And people really
fucking each
other up

It's cruel as
all get out,
& someone
ought to
die for it

Or lose
(at the


In Bett's city someone just played the joker against any chance of a winning hand.  People smear themselves like bloodstains all over their attempts to find love. 

Those that do find love discover just how flawed love can be.  Those Godawful Streets of Man... is an illustrated fall from grace, one gut punch at a time.


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New interviews with Kristina Marie Darling!!


There is a lot of great new interviews with Kristina Marie Darling’s collaborative work with John Gallaher, GHOST / LANDSCAPE



A new interview with Kristina Marie Darling in Writer’s Digest:



GHOST / LANDSCAPE is reviewed in The Rumpus: 



And Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher are featured in The Conversant:



Dora Malech included her book The Moon and Other Inventions: Poems After Joseph Cornell, in her essay on the work of Joseph Cornell, in The Kenyon Review:


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Ghost | Landscape by Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher reviewed at Ploughshares


ghost landscape mainGhost/Landscape
Kristina Marie Darling & John Gallaher
Blaxevox, February 2016
102 pp; $16

Buy: paperback

In the collaborative poetry collection Ghost/Landscape (Blazevox, 2016) by Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher there is no beginning or end. The first poem is “Chapter Two.” So begins traversing a time loop of poems where the reader can really “begin” anywhere. What is a beginning and what is an ending? Is moving forward and looking behind you the same thing? A circle never ends. “Chapter Two,” begins like a bed time story:

“We must have known there was no going back…that morning, before our windows had been broken, you asked about the lock on the door. I realized it was only a matter of time before the alarm sounded, which always seemed out of place in the dead of winter.”  

The reader is a happy prisoner in this manikin-like frieze: feelings are suppressed into the pages of Goethe novel. Timelines, like broken glasses, need to be glued back together. If the reader needs to assemble a puzzle to establish a linear map, one should look to the corners first. In Ghost/Landscape, the edges are gray and decrepit. The backbone seethes.

Darling and Gallaher use color to drip the poems in surprising apathy. In this illusion to the underworld, “Thermopolis as a concept” they paint this canvas:

“The scenery is used to being blamed for such things, red,
beige, and more red with some yellow. And blue and black
and white.

I’m busy looking at everything I’m looking at. It rises and falls as I sit and stand. It’s shadowy or bright or neither, really. Navys and grays. I expect great things from it.

A little jump and it’s leaping. There on the bluffs overlooking
the town I see it leap as I’m looking at it leaping.

If, late in summer, it’s late summer, then it’s late in summer.
That weird feeling of being cheated when the forecast of bad
things happening doesn’t come to pass…”

The outer world is constantly in flux, unforgiving, and ambivalent towards the humans who gaze upon it no matter if the grass is green or covered in snow. There is also an apt correlation: if the outer surroundings are corrected than inner relationships may heal. In the poem “Landscaping,”

“We’re looking out the kitchen window, and we have this opportunity to go back and undo our errors. But where do we start? We mowed poorly around the trees. We didn’t marry well or have pleasant children…”

The landscape reflects a sadness.  There are repeated domestic objects noted throughout the collection: drinking glasses, the phone, a calendar, a television, torn photographs.  The objects reflect how the speakers convey the passing of time: selling them, losing them, realizing something was stolen. The objects may change but our connection to them remain the same. We sell certain objects just to want them again. In another poem in the middle of the collection, also titled “Chapter Two,” 

“Next thing you know, the whole house is a yard sale. Your bed is three feet under other things. Here, there’s still some room between it and where the bureau was, a kind of depression you can lie on…”

The succinct wordplay here illustrates a heavy woe: one can lay down on a bed and make a depression with one’s figure as well as succumb to an emotional albatross.

Read the whole review here

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Extra Pages

Photos on flickr