The calculating speaker of The Moon & Other Inventions: Poems After Joseph Cornell is at once delicate and power-driven, feminine and empirical, mysterious and distinct. This woman and her interests—the disconcerting symmetry of the sky, instruments of measurement and discovery, maps and faint music—have been cast to the bottom of the page, pressed beneath white space and a phantom text, as footnotes. Whether this is an observation on the female voice still occupying marginalized space, or a commentary on absence (of narrative, companionship, emotional attachment, connection...), or even a celebration of the fragment, you cannot help but wonder what is happening above and around those footnotes.
This is the task Darling has set out for you—fill in the spaces she has left open and uncluttered.
The reader must engage, discover, and imagine alongside the speaker, who reveres and then smashes her ornaments and mechanisms, relishes and then disregards her obsessions with stars and photography and maps and music, lauds and then destroys her own life until only scattered notes remain because, as the speaker admits, “documentation was an unforgiving task” and this is one woman unconcerned with absolution.
Perhaps that is what makes the sparse text intriguing rather than frustrating—though the notes are only threads, they are threads through a maze you want to be lost in, no matter how demanding, or desolate.