Fortress. Sundress Publications, 2014. Available here.
Praise for Fortress:
“The lineage of poetic experimentation with footnotes and other paratexts is long and varied, yet few have explored these formal possibilities with as much intellectual depth and emotional resonance as Kristina Marie Darling. Fortress continues Darling’s investigation into the print page as a kind of interface – leading not only to poetry but to the reader’s understanding of the ways one imaginatively co-creates character, narrative, drama. The ‘sprawling fields’ of the vast white page we find here remind us that poems are places as much as they are language – places that invite us in, guard against us, and sometimes won’t let us go. ‘What does it mean to cross a threshold?’ Darling’s narrator asks. ‘Most nights I would never choose to leave.’ Reading Fortress, one can’t help but agree.”
-Andy Frazee, author of The Body, The Rooms
“Picking up Kristina Marie Darling’s newest collection is like holding a delicate antique: her work trembles with fragility in its exploration of the ephemeral. This collection carefully juxtaposes love and nostalgia alongside the way we covet mementoes to serve as relics and proofs of the depths of our heart’s capabilities. Readers traverse through scatterings of dead flowers, ruined gardens, and broken jewelry that serve as mirrors to pain and longing. The collection’s masterful use of white space allows for contemplation: a place to ponder what’s shattered, what’s left, and what still has any worth. In the lines of Darling, you’ll find a place to interrogate your deepest wounds, and, in doing so, you may discover them to be ‘synonymous with both beauty and ruination.’”
-Anne Champion, author of Reluctant Mistress
“In Kristina Marie Darling’s innovative new collection, the distance between our bodies is measured in language. Footnotes become poems, defining absence and commenting on the blankness of the page. Fortress is a meditation on loss: the loss of a marriage and the loss of a life. The fortress our heroine paces through acts as both a prison and a memory palace. It is scattered in fading red poppies and Polaroid photographs. Room after room, we pick up fragments of broken glass and piece them together into something whole and glittering.”
-Lily Ladewig, author of The Silhouettes
“Kristina Marie Darling is the author of twenty poetry collections, and to know Kristina’s poetry is to know delight in experimentation and how genre tropes are trumped and intersected to push the boundaries of narrative and imagination.”-Word Riot.
“Kristina Marie Darling has produced many volumes of hybrid poetry and prose, each one a fresh attempt to invigorate literature. Her work is as vital, as alive, and as daring as it is incisive. Fortress is about a marriage, but, more than that, it is a marriage–of sophisticated artistry and tender honesty.”-Tarpaulin Sky.
“Darling’s application of the erasure technique to Scarry’s text provides a compelling illustration of how porous our suffering makes us — wounded (‘the wound becomes a way of articulating // vulnerability’), yes, but also open. More open than we would be otherwise.”-Bookslut.
“Fortress is image-rich, despite its stunningly bold use of white space. The world created in the text might remind one of Sophia Coppola’s film, Marie Antoinette. Like the movie, Darling’s book is simultaneously excess and desolation. Each section is draped in silk, lace, sparkles, and decadence.”-The Rumpus.
“Darling’s Fortress is a descendant of fairy tales like Cinderella, and also a fracturing of it to get beyond the trauma of that original house that became a prison. Darling seems to understand that eventually, some of us pick the locks, we leave our fortresses, and we go.”-PANK Magazine.
“Kristina Marie Darling’s voice is as strong and recognizable as ever.”-Moonglows.