From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. While it might be possible, on first read, to assume that Field's quirkily, aphoristic poems are some kind of ode to a simple and innocent Southern aesthetic, with titles like Self Portrait in Toad Suck, Arkansas and Possums and Critters Gets Back There, her debut book is nothing of the kind, immediately assuring the reader that she has already outlived her older sister/ and determines: I am blessed but not by God
. At the core of these searing poems is the story of Field's sister who was brutally murdered, which Field tells and retells in poem after poem, as if it could finally be got off her chest: Only so much is let out/ of a face and I read in folk Someone killed your someone too
. The saddest of these poems see with eyes that are big for wrong reasons, but Field also has a warmth and humor that refuse to let every poem be sad. There is no wallowing, just cold observation of a hurt heart's deep life (admit you feel as though you never wear shoes), where there is no simple consolation for the things that shouldn't happen but do: Murders happen all the time./ I really lost it walking from her new grave// to the car
. Then the subject changes./ Someone tells me I'm so strong. (Apr.)
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"Farrah Field is a slinger of the colloquial phrase, the slangy, side-of-the-mouth aphorism, which combines the clever and the cornpone. At once masked and mouthy, cryptic and in-your-face, her voice is flavored by a Southern regionalism, but the country manners are deployed at a metropolitan speed. The best of her poems represent the hybrid dilemma of an inside-outsider, who isn't sure how much of her belongs to any tribe, a resonant story we all share at times. 'There's a southern gawd composed of green beans/ with fat back, tractor tires, and young'nssprayed / by a hose,' she says, and, 'I am part of them like fire insurance and quick / look to the left.' Elsewhere she hits more elegant registers: 'Your printer light is on in our sad governance.' There is grief under this skillful tonal recklessness, and these poems possess awonderful combination of irony and soul, satire and vulnerability, which shines a warmly human light." TONY HOAGLAND, Judge"