OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAuthor of nearly twenty books, Eckleburg is thrilled to have Kristina Marie Darling teach our Crafting, Publishing, and Promoting Hybrid Work online workshop through the Eckleburg workshop series. Darling teaches the online 4-week workshop monthly, and, as she describes in the following interview, the workshop is a place where students will write new material and learn how to successfully submit pieces to publishers, as well as have the opportunity to be in a creative and supportive space. During the workshop, students will gain invaluable knowledge not just from Darling, but from each other as well.


The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review:How did you become involved with the Eckleburg Workshops Series?

Kristina Marie Darling:I became involved with the Eckleburg Workshop Series in July 2014. I heard about the workshops because I’m a huge fan of the magazine and the other faculty. Lisa Marie Basile and Rae Bryant are fabulous. As an educator, I was drawn to the Eckleburg Workshops because they offer the opportunity to teach more specialized writing and publishing classes. After all, serious writers have very specific needs and interests. Also, blending the creative and business aspects of writing is an important part of my teaching, and this is a priority for the Eckleburg Workshops as well. When I initially looked at the course offerings, it seemed like a match made in heaven.


TJE: What workshop do you teach and how often do you teach it?

KMD: I teach Crafting, Publishing, and Promoting Hybrid Work, which is a regular offering at the Eckleburg Workshops. The class is offered every month, and I hope you’ll check it out!


TJE: What attracts you to the genre of your workshop?

KMD: Hybrid writing is great because anything is possible within it. You can mix and match genres, pairing the techniques of poetry with those of fiction. But you can also draw from non-literary types of writing:  guidebooks, glossaries, advertisements, and endnotes….


TJE: What is your approach to teaching and running a workshop?

KMD: I’ll never tell you what your writing should be like. I don’t believe in the word “should” in a workshop. Rather, I try to show students what’s possible within their writing. How can a story be made richer, even more complex? How can the writer build on what’s already compelling and good about a text? There’s no one answer to these questions, since they depend on each individual writer and their goals.


TJE: What is your own writing background?

KMD: I’m the author of twenty collections of hybrid writing, which include Petrarchan and Vow, both available from BlazeVOX [books]. I’ve been awarded fellowships from Yaddo, the Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Ucross Foundation, and was recently selected as a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome. I’m also active as a book critic, with reviews appearing in Boston Review, Gettysburg Review, Colorado Review, and Pleiades.


TJE: What three books/articles would you recommend to someone who is just starting to write in her workshop’s genre?

KMD: I’d recommend Jenny Boully’s The Body: An Essay, of course, since the book gracefully blends academic writing with memoir. It also shows that hybridity, and the mixing of forms, can be a powerful vehicle for social commentary. The book is largely a feminist critique of academic writing, and a call for social justice and inclusion within the academy.

Also, Kim Gek Lin Short’s The Bugging Watch and Other Exhibits shows how the forms of academic writing can be appropriated and used for something else entirely. The book offers fun, engaging flash fictions and footnotes about the secret lives of bugs. I love seeing these unexciting academic forms being made enjoyable and relevant again.

Lastly, Carol Guess’s Darling Endangered is just fabulous. She shows how the techniques of poetry can be brought to bear on prose and flash fiction. These micro-stories use sound and the sonic qualities of language to forge connections between plot elements.


TJE: What type of material, and how much of it will the participant produce by the end of the workshop?

KMD: Students can expect to write two new hybrid pieces, a query letter to a publisher, and a marketing plan for a book or chapbook. We also provide a list of journals and presses that have expressed an interest in reading submissions from our workshop.


TJE: What is your favorite facet of the workshop?

KMD: I love learning from my students, and seeing them learn from each other.


Kristina Marie Darling is the author of nearly twenty books, which include Melancholia (An Essay) (Ravenna Press, 2012), Petrarchan (BlazeVOX Books, 2013), and Scorched Altar: Selected Poems and Stories 2007-2014 (BlazeVOX Books, forthcoming).  Her awards include fellowships from Yaddo, the Ucross Foundation, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers, as well as grants from the Kittredge Fund and the Elizabeth George Foundation.  She was recently selected as a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome.


Kristina Marie Darling