Compendium Cover 2Compendium.  Cow Heavy Books, 2011.  Reissued by Scrambler Books, 2013.

Praise for Compendium:

Kristina Marie Darling’s Compendium is an omen, an invitation to peek inside an antique locket and be overtaken by the simultaneously strange and gorgeous language that inhabits the stillness of white space and the darkest corners of imaginary rooms.  The poems themselves are a graceful ‘array of miniatures,’ a means to explore the tension between music and silence, and Darling is a master composer.

—Susan Slaviero, Author of Cyborgia

Darling’s Compendium is the remnant of a ghost story, a book which unravels the tattered ends of our literature and collages them into its own sort of opus.  Filled with the buoys of the lives of others that materialize and vanish beneath the sea of white—“the piano’s most delicate song,” “a dusty wooden stage,” “every violent burned to the ground,” they are quiet, dangerous poems, poems where restriction itself becomes the obsession.  So, prepare yourself for obsession— this is the kind of book that merits it.

—Kyle McCord, Author of Galley of the Beloved in Torment

“It was only then I wished to preserve my collection, its infinite variety. In each of the charms, a constellation. In every necklace a cluster of nervous stars.” Kristina Marie Darling’s Compendium is a collection of just this sort—lyrical prose poems, erasures, glossaries, histories, and footnotes as “nervous stars” that illustrate a singular recursive obsession and its tangential orbits. Part catalog, part jewelry box, Darling’s work is informed and self-aware with a lilting loveliness. Compendium challenges us to ask whether we are whole enough to “appreciate the infinite variety of the lockets” on display here in this talented writer’s work.

—Brandi Homan, Author of Bobcat Country

How often does one open a book of poems, commence reading, and then wish that the book had no poems in it at all? Compendium solves this problem by providing footnotes for texts that are invisible, mislaid, erased, or for some other reason not included in the volume. Thank you, Kristina Darling, for protecting the reader’s interest—and advancing the art.

—Aaron Belz, Author of Lovely, Raspberry

Reviews of Compendium:

“This is an interesting experiment by a writer with a genuine gift for beautiful language.”—The Colorado Review.

“Darling’s new collection seems to be more attuned to carefully controlled snippets of fairy tale attire….The constraint is purposeful, carefully handled and well-written.”—Galatea Resurrects: A Poetry Engagement.

“The latest collection from Kristina Marie Darling is beautifully written and so clever in concept. What we have…is a Victorian novel chopped and strained through the mesh of a poet’s mind.”—The Orange Alert.

Compendium is a captivating collection of mixed forms that challenges the reader to imagine what text could fill the pages of white space.”—PANK Magazine.

“Darling’s words are like envelopes—they contain more within them, in their multiple implications, than initially expected.”—The Prick of the Spindle. 

“Fascinating and rewarding – I’ll be interested to see where Darling goes next.”—Stride Magazine.

“Darling’s hyper-concise work leaves space for the reader’s imagination in a way that seems neither lazy nor unfulfilling. It’s one of those rare books of fragmentary and spare verse that I find so enviable.”—Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century.

“Like a master of jazz in word form, Darling keeps building variations upon each chord, deconstructing and modifying boundaries, seeing how far she can stretch her interpretation without it all descending into chaos.”—The Rose & Thorn. 

“Kristina Marie Darling’s Compendium is a marvel of a marriage, its formal experimentation expertly synced with the puritan restraint of its content.”—A Cappella Zoo.

“Darling has assembled a purposefully incomplete history filled with desire, mystery, music, and silence.”—The Rumpus.

“The collection is excellently crafted and as it goes on, draws us deeper and deeper into the sad intimacy of Madeline’s melancholy…What is the purpose of a collection if not to draw us fully into another world different from our own? Darling succeeds with true creativity in this unusual collection about the small, eternal memories in our painful past.”—JMWW.

“This book is an experiment and Darling has much to offer if you get your hands on it. She is a linguist at play.”—Gloom Cupboard.

“Louis Sullivan, in the early 20th century, coined the phrase “form follows function” referring to modern architecture, though his assistant Frank Lloyd Wright made the phrase popular, shaping it to his own use. Kristina Marie Darling’s book of poetry is something that Wright’s poetic sensibilities might understand: every sentence, mark of punctuation, footnote, and chapter heading in this small book dictates a reason to be there.”-Gigantic Sequins.

Interviews about Compendium:

Big Other


The Nervous Breakdown

Writer’s Digest

Additional Features: New and Noteworthy Books


“Footnotes to a History of Dress” in Word for/Word

“Footnotes to a History of Architecture” in elimae

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.