Kristina Marie Darling’s new poetry collection, The Sun & the Moon, from BlazeVOX [books] is as smooth and well-crafted as the flowers that so often appear in Darling’s poems. The book is separated into four sections: the main narrative, illustrations of various astronomical clocks—probably because of the many stars that appear in the text—erasures of the main narrative, and “Notes and Observations.”
Though Darling employed many of the same images and techniques as in other books, (such as erasure) The Sun & the Moon was different because there was so much more of a dreamlike narrative bent to the poems than in previous collections such as Fortress or Night Songs. This made for an interesting and welcomed change. I’m glad to see Darling expand her horizons. The book tells of a married couple whose house is taken over by “an endless train of ghosts” and burned.
I believe the ghosts represented the couple’s troubled marriage. In fact, the husband leaves the house by the end of the book, leaving the protagonist as the only human occupant in the house. What I found peculiar is that the ghosts and the husband did similar things, such as carry stars around with them. Also, the husband did fantastic, surreal things: “The tablecloth was burning & still you just sat there, stroking that enormous fire.” I wonder, since there were such similarities between the man and the ghosts, was the man a ghost too? Is that how the protagonist saw him? As always, provocative questions like these appear in all of Darlings poems.
There were also parallels to Darlings other book Fortress, mainly the focus on domestic life, and the structure of a house as a trope to symbolize the union between the man and the woman in the story.
Also, the preoccupation with household objects that the ghosts rummage through: locks on the gate, silverware, clothing, etc. reminded me quite a bit of Kristy Bowen’s work, another poet I admire, and a poet who was published by Darling’s press, Noctuary Press.
I wonder if this is much of a coincidence or if we all borrow each other’s voices from time to time. I know I do this in my poetry, become strongly inspired by another poet’s work, so that it bleeds into my work a bit. I know Kristina Marie Darling informs my work a lot of the time. I urge you to find out more about Darling here, and purchase a copy of The Sun & the Moon.