Good afternoon, Friends, and welcome! Today I have a real treat for you, artist and poet, Kristen Darling! In addition to poetry, Kristen also makes homemade sweaters from yarn she spins! You are going to love this multi-creative and amazing woman! Let’s welcome her!
“Imperfection inspires invention, imagination, creativity. It stimulates. The more I feel imperfect, the more I feel alive.”
– Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
When did you start writing poetry?
When I was 8!
Wow! Did you share your work, or was it personal?
I’d share it with my parents or caretakers (my mom was sick with cancer when I started writing it, so I spent a lot of time getting shuttled around to different church people’s houses).
I first started writing poetry in earnest when I left the Mormon church; the loss of faith and community was bewildering and painful, and giving voice to its pain helped me make my way through it. I tend to use poetry to process grief and change. I write almost exclusively free verse and reclaim religious themes and imagery in many of them.
I co-published/edited/contributed to a collection of poems called Shades of Becoming. I was married to my ex-husband and had his last name still when it was published, but it’s me.
Can you tell us more about your book, “Shades of Becoming?”
Nancy and I both felt there wasn’t a good book of poetry to hold the experience of faith transition that we had gone through and so many people we knew had. Together, we took submissions and collected them together into the collection. I’m very proud of the finished product!
Good for you for writing your book. I write a lot on spirituality, too, and faith is a concept I believe in.
Spiritual themes can’t help but make their way into my poetry. I don’t really believe in God anymore, but I write poems to myself from a Goddess to reclaim her and to heal what hurts about organized religion.
What does the Goddess mean to you?
I think the Goddess stands in for the divine feminine healing that I always craved in organized religion and could never touch. I pray to the Universe and the All that is All (my own personal way to express something similar to Thich Nhat Hahn’s concept of “interbeing”) for guidance and direction. I don’t necessarily believe in an embodied deity anymore, but I believe in intention, ritual, and personal freedom to create spiritual meaning in my life.
Are you working on a new book now?
I have a manuscript, working title “soft little deaths,” that I am trying to polish and edit. Publication date, TBD. (If you have any awesome contacts who would love to publish my anguished sapphic poetry, hit me up. Self-publishing Shades was an effort of love, but not very profitable!)
Tell us more about “Soft Little Deaths.”
The manuscript starts at the beginning of my faith crisis in Mormonism, my ongoing grief over my mother’s cancer death when I was 9. It follows me through the process of writing my way out of Mormonism, processing religious and marital abuse, and coming out the other side, a champion of self-love and self-tenderness. There are many deaths and rebirths in the manuscript.
Do you have a short poem to share with us?
I have many poems I could share. Do you have a theme you’d like to speak to with this? I can find one that fits probably.
Do you have one about love in general?
My wife and I performed this as our vows at our wedding!
in praise of stubborn love
i love you like a barnacle
hugs the side of a boat
you’ll have to pry me off
with a spoon, steer us from
one salt body to the lochs of
Portland, Oregon so we can
swim free together
let me fall forever in love with you
leap up up up into love
beloved this love has no bottom
the limit does not exist
prisms of light refracted through
the rosy lenses of love
all of you is holy
i love all you find unlovable
i will find you in darkness
and when you think
you want to remain lost
i will still be there
i will love you like a lighthouse
shelters the fleets of your
wander lusty heart
soar gull-like wherever your
brain body takes you
i remain your introverted
light partner shining
warmly of safety
let me love you
like the dying thing i am
this mortal husk that is devoted
to you and has one shot
i am not a greedy woman
but i am jealous of time
its pockets stuffed full of
hours and moments
forever running through my
fingers, so i’ll say it again
i love you
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I like scalding hot baths, playing video games with my son, going on long walks in Utah sunsets, reading anything I can get my hands on, and all things fiber arts. Pre-pandemic brunch with friends was my favorite sport.
That’s great that you play video games with your son! I’ll bet you are a great mom!
I try very hard. My momming journey has been challenging to navigate, as my son has a clinical sleep disorder and didn’t sleep through the night until he was 7. But with time and meds and medical intervention, he’s doing great now.
It is impressive that you created yarn to make your clothes with. Where did you learn to make the yarn?
My friend Rachael gave me my first spinning lesson using a drop spindle. I took to it immediately and made hundreds of yards of yarn while I learned how to control the twist and tension of the thread. Within about six months, I bought my spinning wheel, and I taught myself how to use it on the internet. I spin, weave, knit, and crochet pretty regularly. I weave the least, but my wife and I often have a scarf on the loom and take turns working on it.
I want to thank you, Kristen, for being our guest today! You are brilliant, and we are in awe of your creative talents! Please keep us updated about your work so we can follow you.
Readers, thank you for visiting today! Be sure to check out Kristen’s poetry book, Shades of Becoming, on Amazon. Stay tuned for my next blog in two weeks with another fantastic author!
Until Next Time,
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