Published by BlazeVox in 2013, Kristina Marie Darling’s collection titled Petrarchan takes its inspiration from Francesco Petrarca, a poet born in Italy in 1304. Inspired by a woman named Laura de Noves, he wrote a collection of love poems and Kristina Marie Darling has taken the chapter titles of her collection from his bibliography and her appendixes are based on found text in Pertrach’s sonnets. Her style is evident here with footnotes, dictionary terms, and glimpses of images that leave the reader to imagine a full text being commented on. As always, Darling’s work is beautiful and inspiring while exposing fragility of human nature and its emotions. In much of Darling’s collections there are references to pale skin, faint music, mysterious rooms, doors, locks, and they all wind their way into this collection in a way that is just as fascinating as all of her other works previously reviewed on Poet Hound. If she ever offers a boxed set, I would urge anyone to spring for it immediately. For now, I am always eager for the next collection and proud to share samples with you, readers:
1. Something unattainable by ordinary means.
2. Meaning that one seems frigid or unapproachable.
3. Referring to a research station on the North Pole (See also: Pole of Inaccessiblity).
5. The painting renders her conscious mind as a window overlooking a barren field. To an untrained eye, the ice gathering on the ledge seems to herald a lengthy solitude.
From the chapter titled “Guide to the Holy Land:” I am unable to do Darling justice as there are symbols included with 2 and 3 above. However, I like this piece because it makes reference to the idea that what an artist is trying to present versus others interpretation can be two different things when the painting is mentioned. As for the term “inaccessible” I wonder if she is referring to Petrarch’s fixation on Laura de Noves? The reference to the North Pole makes me think of “cold shoulder.” Either way, I like that so much is left to interpretation and allows the reader to make their own story with the use of these footnotes.
1. A seemingly endless blue corridor, which leads to an empty room.
2. She fastened the latch as the light began to fade. That was when she wandered the unlit halls. A heavy fog drifting through all the windows.
3. “Only when alone did I understand this house by the sea, its faultless architecture. And now a pigeon nesting in every rafter.”
This is from the chapter titled “On the Solitary Life.” There are references within the collection of “the house by the sea” and I’m not sure if it refers to Petrarch’s poems or to a subconscious mind frame. The images are haunting and beautiful, the “endless blue corridor” and “heavy fog drifting through all the windows.” You can imagine a figure wandering this corridor, shadowed by fog, hearing the pigeons roosting and the figure trying to discover what is at the end, only to find emptiness, the figure’s voice is captured above, it could be Darling’s or a fictionalized figure. I let my own imagination drift to a drafty house with long hallways, abandoned by the original owners and providing no clues to who used to live there.
1. A cabinet that housed her beloved’s black winter coat.
2. When asked, she would describe his attire as “militant.” Yet his hands seemed fragile, even delicate.
3. “I remember only the struggle between his decorum and my unfailing warmth. Within every drawer I found the most dangerous objects.”
This excerpt is from the chapter “Triumphs.” Here I imagine Petrarch’s love, Laura, being featured, though I could be wrong. The juxtaposition between the man’s hard edges, his “militant” attire and the drawer of “most dangerous objects” against his “hands” that “seemed fragile, even delicate,” brings the characters of this excerpt closer to the reader. You can imagine the woman’s smile and the man’s struggle to maintain a strong, hard-edged façade. You can then imagine translating it into your own interactions in a variety of situations and this makes the excerpts above more life-like and colorful to me.
I can hardly do Darling’s work justice. All I can say is that I love the mystery of the footnotes and the beautiful images, phrases, and how they all tie together when you read the book cover to cover. To purchase a copy of Petrarchan by Kristina Marie Darling for $16.00 go to:
or purchase from BlazeVox for $16.00 at:
For more details about Francesco Petrarca, the inspiration behind this collection, go to:
Thanks always for reading, please stop by again Thursday…