Wolf and Pilot
by Farrah Field
In the innovative world of Farrah Field's Wolf and Pilot, magic and fantasy
seep through the cracks of actuality to engender a creepy, comical narrative
centered on four runaway girls, a detective, a witchmother, and a beloved
teacher. Half-phantoms, half-feral animals, the runaways tiptoe through Field's
poems, hiding from a grotesque mother who "can pull her face off at the
nostril" while seeking everyday childish delights: "We want our tongues blue
with lollipops. / The little one thinks she would like bubble gum ice cream."
Through this intersection of the bizarre and the quotidian, eeriness rises.
These poems resemble dreams, nightmares, and reality as they redefine the
Field melds together fragments of each sister's voice to create a collective
consciousness, where the girls know each other's words and thoughts before they
are spoken aloud: “The girls can talk just by thinking.” Bound to this girlhood
closeness, these poems reach into the world of fairytales and explore that
world through a voyeuristic eye with the creative attentiveness oft unique to a
child: “We think her ear looks like a fetus.” Collectively, these poems remind
us that “Girls are prey to everything," for even as the sisters build a reality
that is presumed to be safe— we cannot forget the witch-mother: “Someone's
always watching, / but never where you think.”
reviews & past praise
"Under our fresh outfits," declare the sisters in Farrah
Field's newest book, "we're variations of wolves at best." I can think of no
better description of these poems. In Wolf and Pilot, in language that
stitches a caustic humor onto worn velvet, we meet the sisters, four girls
mothered by a witch. Think Alcott's Little Women turned streetwise and
feral. Aided by the detective, we pursue them into the seedy, lovely world of
girls. Wolf and Pilot is dangerous and enchanting."
“'Girls are prey to everything' in Farrah Field's second book, a dark sequence about twisted domesticity that speaks from an insular, sisterly 'we': 'We are stronger than blackbirds,' Field writes, 'we don't know what anything means we put our/ hands on the cool glass called a window./ Once upon a time all adults used to be children.' People appear and reappear throughout four unnamed sections, becoming haunting figures in silhouette: the detective, the witch/mother, the teacher. Field mimics childhood's flailing attempts at sense making through narrative gestures cut short in favor of whimsical leaps: 'I heard you love falling./ How come dress up the detective doesn't?/ It's a party! It's a date! It's a party!' A little bit bildungsroman, a little bit fairy tale, these poems feel constantly urgent: 'Walking around a grieving household/ makes out ink it could be picked up/ in the palm and put in the oven./ Come on, little house. Say something.' But Field writes, 'We can never be too aware of what's really being said,' and throughout these poems, because we can never become fully privy to sisters' experiences, what's being said could mean wildly different, and powerful, things to different readers.”
RED ONION PAPER
See the crocodile noses as they sleep in the water.
Whoever thought a body could hang like that.
Suspended in the pond, bottomless brown.
When we swim, we'll roll our hair around our faces
one hundred times.
A set of claws works as good as hands.
The crocodiles will assume we're already caught.
They won't trust the commotion.
We avoid being eaten by pretending the thing
has already eaten.
There could be a bus-sized catfish down there.
Our mother drinks the debris in a mug.
Our mother waits behind a log.
With her hair caught on the reeds and her mouth open.
about the author
Farrah Field is the author of Rising (Four Way Books, 2009) and the chapbook Parents
(Immaculate Disciples Press, 2011). Her poems and essays have appeared in
many publications including Sixth Finch, Ploughshares, Harp & Altar,
Lit, Typo, La Petite Zine, and Drunken Boat. Two of her poems
were selected by Kevin Young for The Best American Poetry 2011. Her
essays and reviews have appeared in Harp & Altar and Coldfront.
She lives in Brooklyn where she co-hosts an event series called Yardmeter
Editions. She occasionally blogs at adultish.blogspot.com and is co-owner of
Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop.
photo: Shelton Walsmith