Kristina Marie Darling


“Singing, stones fill with music”: A Review of Meena Alexander’s Atmospheric Embroidery by Anu Mahadev

What is home? Is it a place, a person, a feeling, a sense of belonging? Or all of these? Or none perhaps. Home–its absence, its overwhelming presence–is the central theme in Meena Alexander’s Atmospheric Embroidery, a collection that surrounds the reader with its constant sense of displacement, an evolving journey […]


“How do eyes and ears keep pace?” A Review of Jenny Xie’s Eye Level

Jenny Xie’s second poetry collection, Eye Level, reveals the prowess of a new contemporary literary great. The title theme weaves a cohesive fabric of perception—the physical, metaphysical, and cultural act of seeing and being seen—among a rich array of topics ranging from solitude to heritage, migration to land and (dis)placement. […]


Racial Allegory and Complex Contradiction in Rajiv Mohabir’s The Taxidermist’s Cut

A metaphor that extends across a poem, defying clichés and breaches of clarity or cohesion, is already a feat to be admired. Rajiv Mohabir sees this challenge and raises it 98 pages, pushing a metaphor and its accompanying string of associative leaps to form the rock upon which The Taxidermist’s […]


Dynamism and Defamiliarization in Kristin Robertson’s Surgical Wing

If you read Kristin Robertson’s debut book once, you really ought to read it again. In the very last poem, one finds oneself circling back to the beginning with a newfound understanding of Robertson’s self-awareness. By trafficking in sarcasm and irony, she reveals that throughout the sincerity and imagination of […]


“I’m not human, I’m grammarian”: Life, Being, and Grammar in Aditi Machado’s Some Beheadings

Towards the end of her debut book, Some Beheadings, Aditi Machado’s speaker in “Prospect” ponders their ontological nature: “…I think/I’m not human, I’m grammarian.” It is not a surprising thought by that point in the collection. Machado consistently interrogates how grammar, diction, and syntax all constitute personhood or being. She […]


“With Every Register of Her Seven Tongues”: A Review of Tarfia Faizullah’s Registers of Illuminated Villages

Tarfia Faizullah’s new collection of poems, Registers of Illuminated Villages, engages with issues of grief, trauma, ancestry, and joy in a voice that is always attentive and intensely lyric. Faizullah untangles matters of societal and ancestral influence; she catalogs the ways we hurt and affirm each other; and she answers […]


Falling in Love with the World: A Review of Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s Oceanic

In Oceanic, her fourth collection of poetry, Aimee Nezhukumatathil writes a series of love letters to the world and its inhabitants. From intimate psalms of love to her husband—whose love wields electricity as they ascend the Swiss Alps—to poems addressed to starfish, turtles, and the Northern Lights, the “you” in […]