Scorched Altar is a hybrid master work. Kristina Maria Darling’s fractured bits lent themselves perfectly to “meta” moments. I beg her indulgence and yours, reader, in reviewing this work using Darling’s own phrases, reassembled. ~ Sarah Ann Winn 

Review Cento of Kristina Marie Darling’s Scorched Altar: Selected Poems & Stories 2007-2014 

I had wished for the collection,
now my covetous eye casts over
each of the charms. A constellation.
Always night, always a listless moon as
a shape that fades or becomes narrow.
The necessary progression from an object to interpretation.

When I ask why
the evening had been opened,
the gears in her heart begin to turn.
Their otherworldly debris, humming.
Their song waxes with her restlessness.

What is there left to do but wait?
Only when she lifted its lid,
these transformations, while enigmatic,
nod their heads, listening intently.

The book as field guide
wanted to transcend the ordinary
task of curator:
maintain a record,
an effort to balance desire with restraint.
Wanted to preserve the light,
to preserve the sequence,
to catalogue, sort and procure
a museum of memorable objects:
their faultless order,
their careful illumination, the delicate balance of brightness and dark.
Anxiety about losing and perhaps also maintaining
the most elaborate pieces of an altar.

I wanted to see
her small storehouse,
wished the pursuit would continue indefinitely.

I started to wonder where
we’d follow maps of the night sky.
What does it mean to cross?
I didn’t expect to see
the innermost workings
that the house reveals, harbors, conceals:
gathered all of the broken,
an uncanny brightness in every window.
Clothes look darker than they did before.

It’s hard to know what
grows colder and colder.
The house was haunted.
The marriage was haunted.
The smallest parcel shows its frozen worlds,
a state of mourning for the lost object.
The book’s about wedding.
Consider the graceful line,
an elegant universe,
all thistle and frost.

This woman sings and sings
an homage to some other life.
Every back light seems to smolder.

 

Broadsides from Kristina Marie Darling’s Essays on Distance: A Book of Failures 

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-2-31-55-pm

 

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-2-32-40-pm


sarahwinn-headshot Sarah Ann Winn’s poems, prose, and hybrid works have appeared in Five Points, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Massachusetts Review, Passages North, and Quarterly West, among others. Her chapbooks include Field Guide to Alma Avenue and Frew Drive (Essay Press, 2016), Haunting the Last House on Holland Island, Fallen into the Bay (Porkbelly Press, 2016) and Portage (Sundress Publications, 2015). Her first book, Alma Almanac, won the 2016 Barrow Street Book Prize, and will be published by Barrow Street Press in 2017. Visit her at http://bluebirdwords.com or follow her @blueaisling.

 

 

 

 

Author photo 3 Kristina Marie Darling is the author of over twenty books of poetry, most recently DARK HORSE (C&R Press, 2017). Her awards include two Yaddo residencies, a Hawthornden Castle Fellowship, and a Visiting Artist Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome, as well as grants from the Whiting Foundation and Harvard University’s Kittredge Fund. Her work appears in The Gettysburg Review, New American Writing, The Iowa Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She is Editor-in-Chief of Tupelo Quarterly, Founding Editor of Noctuary Press, and Grants Specialist at Black Ocean.

 

 

 

 

Source notes by stanza for Sarah Ann Winn’s Cento Review of Scorched Altar

*Some of the source texts are untitled, and as such are noted by the work where they are found.

Footnotes to a History of Psychoanalysis (from The Body is a Little Gilded Cage)

An Introduction to the Lyric Ode (from Compendium)

Footnotes to a History of Dress (from Compendium)

Pastoral: In Which One’s Faith May Be Seen and Touched (from Night Songs)

A History of the Shoe: Glossary of Terms (from Compendium)

Footnotes to a History of the Dress (from Compendium)

 

Ennui (from Night Songs)

“I Was Lit as if from the Inside” (from Night Songs)

Notes to a History of the Locket (from Compendium)

The Homecoming (from Night Songs)

The Patron (from Night Songs)

 

Minor Plot (III) (from Fortress)

Notes to a History of the Locket (from Compendium)

Footnotes to a History of Ornithology (from Night Songs)

Saint Brigid (from Night Songs)

 

Notes to a History of Bird Keeping (from The Body is a Little Gilded Cage)

Footnotes to a History of the Corsage (from The Body is a Little Gilded Cage)

Subplot (III) (from Correspondence)

Footnotes to a History of Psychoanalysis (from The Body Is a Little Gilded Cage)

An Introduction to the Lyric Ode (from Compendium)

Subplot (I) (from Correspondence)

Footnotes to a History of Architecture (from Compendium)

Footnotes to a History of Desire (from Compendium)

An Index of Illustrations (from Correspondence)

Footnotes to a History of Astronomy (from The Moon & Other Inventions)

Chapter Two (from Palimpset)

Subplot (III) (from Correspondence)

Footnotes to a History of the Beloved (from Melancholia/an essay), and (from Vow)

 

Footnotes to a History of Correspondence (from Melancholia/an essay)

Chapter Two (from Palimpset)

Noctuary (I) (from Melancholia/an essay)

 

Cartography (from Brushes With)

Migration (from Brushes With)

(from Requited)

Migration (from Brushes With)

Migration (from Brushes With)

(from Vow)

Feminism (from Brushes With)

Antarctica (from Brushes With)

(from Vow)

 

(from Vow)

Your Only Wife (from The Arctic Circle)

Mirage (from The Arctic Circle)

Magnificence (from The Arctic Circle)

North (II) (from The Arctic Circle)

Footnotes to a History of the Corsage (from The Body is a Little Gilded Cage)

North (III) (from The Arctic Circle)

A History of Melancholia: Glossary of Terms (from Melancholia/an essay)

(from Requited)

Mercy (from The Arctic Circle)

 

Cantatrice (from Night Songs)

The Homecoming (from Night Songs)

City Walk (from The Body is a Little Gilded Cage)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>