Contributor Spotlight: Kristina Marie Darling

Kristina Banner PhotoKristina Marie Darling’s poem “Soirée (II)” appears in Midwestern Gothic Issue 4, out now.

How long have you been writing?
Although I wrote a few poems in high school, I started writing seriously when I took my first poetry workshop as a freshman in college. This class was definitely a transformative experience, since it was the first time I started reading contemporary poets. For me, a real writer has at least some knowledge of the literary conversation in which he or she is participating. Before learning about contemporary poetry, I think I would have been premature in calling myself a writer.

What’s your connection to the Midwest?
I was raised in Missouri and Chicago. I went to school at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Missouri-St. Louis before moving to the “Gateway to the Midwest,” Buffalo, New York. I’m working on a PhD in Poetics there at SUNY-Buffalo. I suppose you could say that I’m a lifelong Midwesterner.

How has the Midwest influenced your writing?
Living in the Midwest has helped me become more conscious of the beauty that can be found in fairly unremarkable things. My poems are filled with small, often broken domestic objects. I like to portray these discarded gloves, shattered tea cups, and rusted necklaces as having greater significance than the reader would initially expect.

Why do you believe there has never really been a regionalist push for Midwestern writing in the past like there has with the South or even the West Coast?
Most Midwesterners I’ve met see their surroundings as fairly ordinary, too unremarkable for regional pride. But I think there’s something unique about this self-deprecating attitude, and it seems to inform much of the fiction and poetry that comes out of the Midwest. I would really love to see more of a regionalist push for Midwestern writing.

How do you feel about social media to promote your writing, and do you use it?
I am absolutely shameless. I don’t think I’ve published a review, poem, or interview that hasn’t appeared on my Facebook page. And I love adding new literary friends. With that said, I think Facebook offers unique possibilities for collaboration and sharing ideas about writing, especially with writers who are outside of one’s geographic reach.

Favorite book?
Helen in Egypt by H.D.

Favorite food?
Thai pizza.

If you could have coffee (or tea or a beer) with any literary figure, alive or dead, who would it be?
I would have tea with Anais Nin. Although I’d really like to hear about her writing process, her inspirations, and her literary influences, I would also love to get some dirt on Henry Miller.

Where can we find more information about you?
I hope you’ll visit me online at

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