Praise for The Arctic Circle:
Startling and luminous, the poems of The Arctic Circle comprise a kind of haunted allegory about marriage and disappearance. Crystalline vignettes accumulate like snow flakes; a white dress comes to feel like winter; language that’s precise and mysterious and spare becomes more and more spare, until language itself seems to disintegrate, leaving only fragments, and then only the silence of the blank page. But still there’s a ghost-shimmer, an after-chill; something strange and beautiful and terrifying has happened here.
The Arctic Circle defines the latitude above which, for one day each year, the sun never rises (and on another day, never sets). But because of the changing tilt of the Earth’s axis, its location is not fixed. Kristina Marie Darling’s collection, The Arctic Circle, describes a world that is both utter in its dark outcome and variable in its bright details. Using a collage of perspectives, erasures, and illustrations, Darling explores the loss of identity through marriage. And when the ghost arrives–“She carried no purse, and no luggage, as though everything she needed was already here”–these poems begin to question the very accuracy and power of desire.
Two brides crystalize into one entity then split, climatic conditions echo and advance deeply lodged psycho-somatic realities—The Arctic Circle is a cautionary tale about flawed repetition and imprisoned categories of sex. Operating simultaneously as interior and exterior drama, these icy prose poems move as if from the caged, claustrophobic bedroom presented in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper to an outer ecology that moves from house (the body) to an exorbitant surrounding environment (the social). The symmetrical aspects of this narrative make for a pristine evocation of crisis and overcoming. Kristina Darling’s fable resists disintegration, challenging instead a forceful awareness. The dynamics here do not permit abjection to pulverize presence.