Throw Yourself Into The Prairie. Francesca Chabrier. Sarabande Books. Louisville, Kentucky. 2014.
You want to know what the internet is, how to write a novel or to build a net? Francesca Chabrier will give you the necessary answers, instructions, information.
It might arrive air-mail on the misty wings of a flying fish - but arrive it will.
Whimsy can be a waste of time or a portal to a better understanding. Whimsy can be that moment of childhood clarity disguised as delight when your best friend explains the universe and it makes sense, even if only for a brief moment. Clarity, certainty and knowledge can be that fleeting.
Throw Yourself Into The Prairie is an incandescent delight.
The End Of The Lonesome Era
The internet means I want to touch you.
I write to you on the internet to say hello,
why don't you try and touch me too.
I found a lettuce growing machine on the internet.
I found tiny cans of oatmeal, and a replica
of a painting that I printed out and hung on my wall.
The internet feels like almost being someplace.
It feels like doing a pretty normal thing
somewhere strange, like playing fetch in a graveyard.
Behind a veil of clean glass, there are so many eyes.
I thought mine were hazel, but it said they are brown.
The internet never sleeps. It is millions of spiders.
Big spiders and little spiders. Spiders whose bodies feel like linen.
Spiders that look fierce. Spiders that are harmless.
Spiders that move in the dark and behave like the sea.
These utterly charming poems work at the speed of a whip cracking but leave no scar, instead, a knowing smirk. The reader is not just amused -- but amused and newly informed.
Canadian wunderkind Kayla Czaga casts a similar spell -- and I am left to wonder where these young poets are coming from that know so much more than their years? This is a newish sort of wisdom, artfully articulate, deftly adroit, funny as hell and sprinkled with a knowing certainty.
The Beautiful Poem
Beautiful Australian girls wearing pinafores under the umbrellas
of Business Executives in the rain
Beautiful Antarctic girls riding on the backs of dorados, holding
fish heads in their cold, dusty, curving arms
Beautiful Hawaiian girls swimming in circles
Beautiful girls from Shangri-la, all Capricorns, all left-handed,
chartering helicopters to the Memphis skyline
Beautiful Taino girls giving birth to babies that sleep in glass cradles
Beautiful Swiss girls climbing Mont Blanc in Phys. Ed.
Beautiful Lithuanian girls with blonde hair and golden thighs
pencil diving into the Baltic Sea
Beautiful Irish girls playing house on an island otherwise
entirely populated by subversive politicians
Beautiful Antiguan girls playing cricket near Galley Bay
Beautiful Earth girls are easy
Beautiful Irish girl, you are crunked in a totally green dress,
you are paranormal, you have a headlamp in the grass, you are
digging and can see China
Beautiful Korean girls snapping pictures of the dam
Beautiful fed-up, hard-up, knocked-up, locked-up, stuffed-up,
worked-up, beat-up girls
Beautiful girls from Brixton who admire all that is gilded and
excessive, with a passion for luxury, and a love of Oriental clothes
Beautiful Fijian girls drinking high-quality, reserved, silver
Beautiful Italian girls working in a factory near Siena that
produces mahogany torture racks with platinum chains
Beautiful girls from Zanzibar walking across raffia beams
holding handfulls of counterfeit cash Natural Disasters and then:
dancehalls with natural lighting, where natural beauties with
natural haircolor & natural instincts play Russian Roulette
Beautiful Spanish girls of Moorish descent, longing to hear music,
active in the pursuit thereof, digging for musettes in arenas
Beautiful Romanian girls stretching before breakfast, mounting
a single, chalky beam, dismounting perfectly into their coach's
Beautiful girls on experimental diets flying without cargo on a
biplane over the coast of Normandy
Beautiful Arab girls sewing puppets of djinns
Beautiful Argentinean girls with clear skin, glossy hair, sound
teeth, bright eyes & experience fornicating in all British overseas
Beautiful American girls, completely unmagnificent, holding
themselves together by the ends of their braids
These poems, given the chance, fall like the first snow of a new winter. Big, white, welcomed beautiful flakes, each as original as the first hands on the first clock, sundial ancestors.
Francesca Chabrier is that sort of poet, has that sort of voice.
In The Valley On A Hill
a Ferrari zooming
the big hill I live on
red and speedy
I wait for you
to invent a new gear
and ask Chelly
if who I want to be
because my brain is sharp
today and when it is
like this like a blade
I take my weaponry
into the tent I pitch
as high as the voice
I want to use
to sing to you all my friends
I know what people mean
when they say:
"I do not condone violence"
and hand you tiny deer
to put in your hair
but I'd like to crush you
Throw Yourself Into The Prairie sings itself, resonates like that pop song you always thought you knew.
Francesca Chabrier -- you won't have any problem remembering that name -- you are going to see it again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Francesca Chabrier is the author of the chapbook The Axioms (Pilot Books, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Action Yes, jubilat, notnostrums, Sixth Finch and Sink Review. She is a graduate of the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and lives and writes in Oregon.
"With joy, resilience, and mindfulness, Francesca Chabrier makes poems that sing, laugh, cajole and weep. The spirited world of this book is assembled out of the poets/ unique and artful voice, as we find here when she so lovingly writes: "the tent I pitch / as high as the voice / I want to use / to sing to you all my friends." Who can resist?"
"Francesca Chabrier's Throw Yourself Into The Prairie is beautiful. This book, told in chapters, really does tell a story of a world that is surprising though mundane, gentle though sad, and at every turn filled with amazement. Both hers and our. This is the world I want to live in. Chabrier's voice is the exact opposite of the bossy pedants we've all heard too much from. Like Berrigan, she is "feminine,
marvelous and tough."
"Look fierce, do not think too hard about loss, say how to write a novel, keep a list of beautiful women, say axioms, write like an angel -- one of our beloved recording angels -- put it in chapters, send it out into the world. Francesca Chabrier proposes scenarios that test our imagination's courage and stamina; her words fuel our brains' desires to live fuller and more exquisitely meaningful lives. Watch Francesca Chabrier as she goes about not stopping Throw Yourself Into The Prairie's charms. Once you are under their spells you won't want to stop reading this other-worldly good book.
-- Dara Wier
Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher. They are shown here for publicity and review purposes. For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.