Music for another life. Co-written with Max Avi Kaplan. BlazeVOX [books], 2014. Available here.
Praise for Music for another life:
Music for another life presents the story of Adelle, a woman we expect to understand, but cannot. Viewed by the outside world as a typical housewife, we learn through Kristina Marie Darling’s poetry that Adelle is as haunted by her duties as a woman as we, the readers, are haunted by her intimate and wounded thoughts. She is not weak, and we see her strength and exterior glamour in Max Avi Kaplan’s structured, yet eerie, photographs. Together Darling and Kaplan recreate the story of a woman leading a double life, seducing the reader into her world with beautiful prose and gorgeous photographs. The result is bittersweet; the reader learns Adelle’s most deep and delicious secrets, but the sorrow of what Adelle keeps hidden away lingers in the reader’s mind long after closing Music for another life.
—Julia Kaziewicz, Assistant Professor of Focused Inquiry at Virginia Commonwealth University
Music for Another Life finds a compelling beauty in the juxtaposition of contrasts. At once melodramatic and surreal, organic and synthetic, ornamental and haunting, the book is a mysterious journey and a visual delight. I found myself returning to the images and the text over and over, finding new facets of Adelle’s story. Her world is grounded in the glamour of 1950s film noir and the puzzle writing of Robbe-Grillet, yet is something totally new as well. Darling and Kaplan’s achievement is that they find an aesthetic that is oblique without being obscure and that their work is emotional but restrained. Music for another life is a unique book with a strong vision. I will wait eagerly to see more work from this young writer and photographer.
—Rahul Hamid, Editor, Cineaste magazine
These are dispatches of desperation from the world of cake servers, meatloaf, garters, and freshly vacuumed carpet. The Adelle of Darling’s poems is ‘prettiest at a distance, the sleeves on my dress neatly pressed, the flowers in my hair a blur,’ and indeed up close these are messy, domestic lives. Evoking the era of Madmen and Revolution Road, the accompanying photos by Kaplan are perfectly styled companions to the materialism and longing captured here.
—Carrie Olivia Adams, Author of Intervening Absence
Reviews of Music for another life:
“Music for another life, a series of linked poems and photographs by Kristina Marie Darling and Max Avi Kaplan, is drawn together by protagonist Adelle, an impressively multi-dimensional 1950s housewife who struggles to find her place in a world of diamonds, desire, and domestic misery.”-American Microreviews and Interviews.
“Kristina Marie Darling, already an accomplished poet in her own right (she’s published sixteen poetry collections), has begun paving a new trail with her foray into collaborative writing. Her previous collaborations work alongside poet Carol Guess, but her newest work, Music for another life, collaborates with the accomplished visual artist and scholar, Max Avi Kaplan, and the finished product is a brilliant and moving piece of art.”-PANK Magazine.
“Max Avi Kaplan’s photography captures a glamorous 1950’s high-style woman who is spun into a wife…The accompanying poems reveal the unglamorous side of domestic bliss under Kristina Marie Darling’s skilled hands.”-Poet Hound.