Praise for Night Songs:
Night Songs builds within its pages an atmosphere Proustian—no, not sentences running the course of many pages; no, not any simply measured loquaciousness. Rather, we find here a poetry concerned with music, subsuming into itself music’s own mysterious structure: sentence as re-appearing theme, a music-like stitch that counters the discursive pleasures of the prose poems by calling the reader’s mind back to what must be, or might be, remembered. Here, too, the night thickens with nostalgia, a form of memory that calls into question itself, revises itself, erases itself, categorizes itself—a music, I’d say, that wants to listen to itself to know its own song, to prove its melody to itself with only itself for evidence. It is a lovingly faulty task undertaken in poems just as lovingly full, lovingly faultless, trusting to the book’s whole composition what no single poem can claim alone—the music entire.
The mostly prose poems of Night Songs provide us with a poetry of subtle gestures that plays with the borders of reader/listener and creator/producer, that tangles with questions of order/mechanization versus life/subject. Through her use of music as a theme, Darling takes us on an exploration of poetics in brief but well-crafted pieces.
Night Songs is a strange and marvelous collection. In a series of off-kilter narratives, Kristina Marie Darling describes the shifting interior lives of musicians, deconstructs a Victorian guide to music appreciation, then, word by word, erases her own poems. Here, the evening opens “like a black umbrella” while the audience murmurs. Later, a cellist practices as snow falls around him “like tinfoil under a phosphorescent moon.” Musicians compete, fail, strive or fall in love—until the dim stage collapses “in a heap of shattered harpsichords.” Lyrically subtle and technically inventive, these poems play with narrative and prose forms in ways I haven’t encountered before. And they’re deeply engaging.
Reviews of Night Songs:
“Darling undertakes, boldly and skillfully, the colossal job of referencing Western Classical music almost in its entirety. She integrates everything from a cello to a canary to a baroque viola in pursuit of this topic, affording the reader vivid, original impressions of sound and melody.” —The Pedestal Magazine.
“From the very first page, Night Songs gives off a calculated humbleness….However, these facets, the non-threatening format and alacrity, are intentional parts of Darling’s strategy. They generate a seemingly placid surface, which she expertly ripples with moments of animation and irony until she begins disassembling the poems altogether. This assembly and disassembly of narrative, this diminuendo is one of the formidable accomplishments of Night Songs.”—Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing.
“The poems of Night Songs…like a flawless performance, resonate long after the members of the orchestra have left the stage.”—The Prick of the Spindle.
“Lavish images give form to sound, resonate. The prose poems feel “classic”—but not rigid or moribund. Looking forward to reading more Kristina Marie Darling.”—Joe Hall, author of Pigafetta is My Wife.
“Kristina Marie Darling has God in her fingers, and a song forever on her lips. She is the spirit of the choirboy soaring up above into the higher beams of the cathedral with his voice, unadulterated and bell-like, reveling in the stained glass sunlight. She is light, she is song.”—Carah Naseem, author of Pith & Amber.
“With sublime technical mastery and lyrical astuteness, Darling devises the basic notes of her linguistic scale of images: night, cello, teeth, moon, bird (canaries, in particular) harp, dust, clock, blue, window, hall, curtains—all arranged and rearranged in prose poem compositions that strike just the right chord.”—The Rose & Thorn.
“Few poets venture as beautifully in the stillness of nocturnal spaces as Kristina Marie Darling…Dreamscapes cycle through Night Songs so naturally that, by the time Darling has begun erasing her own poems, the reader has given him or herself over to the language, and is fully invested in the beauty of Darling’s pale, haunting figures.”—Gadfly Magazine.
“True to her nature, Darling finds the romance in the details shrouding the reader in a world of dusty velvet folds, the rustle of foliage, the cold wind against the music player and the moon casting its own curious glow.”-Poet Hound.
“Night Songs is a lovely, haunting collection: each piece flows into the next, the way music settles into the corners of a room during intermission. Kristina Marie Darling has crafted poems about music that move like ghosts: each poem a note of music that seems to chime in my ears long after it has become inaudible.”-Larissa Nash, founder of Rose Red Review.
“Kristina Marie Darling, author of fifteen previous books and recipient of numerous literary awards, has re-released the utterly stunning Night Songs from Gold Wake Press. Originally published in 2010, it is a celebration of music, nature, art, and their various intersections.”-Moonglows.
Interviews about Night Songs: