With her love of classical music and romantic-era literature, philosophy graduate student Kristina Darling offers glimpses into this period with her new book of poems, “Night Songs,” published by Gold Wake Press in Boston. In it, she conjures up dusty old homes, Victorian canaries, cold nights and mysterious figures all while paying homage to the instruments, musicians and music she admires.
“The book started out as one poem in a class I took at a writer’s workshop,” said Darling, of Ballwin, Mo. “It grew gradually.”
She describes it as experimental prose.
“They’re not poems and not quite short stories,” she said. “The book also includes collages from Victorian guides to music appreciation.
Prior to Night Songs, Darling had many of the poems published in journals like Garygoyle Magazine, Cider Press Review and Janus Head. She has written reviews for the Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah and Pleiades.
Darling is getting her second master’s degree at the University of Missouri–St. Louis – not in creative writing, but philosophy. She earned her first master’s degree in American culture studies and a bachelor’s degree in English from another institution.
“I find that studying fields other than writing is much more interesting,” said Darling, 25, who will write her thesis on Freudian philosophy. She wants to get a PhD in English and study modernist poetry and psychoanalysis.
She’s been writing since high school and loves poetry and classical music because they “communicate something we can’t say in everyday life.”
“The Orchestra” from “Night Songs”
My instrument is a splintered viola that no longer sounds. And its strings snapped one by one, curling like vines into the greenish night. When the connoisseur left, with his gold pocket watch and unsightly bifocals, every concerto grew oddly dissonant. Our conductor wanted nothing but to count aloud. The dark blue hall still rings with the sound of his tally, a rapt audience humming along.
-Kristina Marie Darling