Winner of the 2017 Coal Hill Review Chapbook Contest
Selected by Heather McNaugher, contest judge for Coal Hill Review's 2017 Chapbook Prize.
Sonia Greenfield’s poetry chapbook American Parable is a portrait of America’s current political and cultural landscape. Greenfield’s candor is a light that helps us make sense of a murky world.
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Reviews / Endorsements
“This timely and imaginative collection by Sonia Greenfield reads like a seer’s post-apocalyptic vision of America. Her poems are lucid, emotionally evocative, and wise. In “Ghost Ship,” the speaker advises us that “when a swirl of colored spotlights sets you / spinning, you have to dance as if / the very act of living depends on it.” American Parable is simultaneously dance and doom—and spin you will.”—David Hernandez
“These poems had me at Lakshmi Singh, one of a dozen or so daily-life characters who invite us into the dicey, irresistible country of American Parable.”—Heather McNaugher
“By turns both playful and menacing, Sonia Greenfield’s American Parable achieves the near impossible, giving voice and vision to our current politics, offering one roadmap for making sense of our harrowing times. With startling candor, outrage, and a lusty, full-hearted, maternal sense of calling, Greenfield refuses to be silenced or to live in fear. Migrants, refugees, out-of-work clowns, gay men lost to the plague years, missing children, drowned monuments, dead and dying animals: all populate Greenfield’s ghostly, apocalyptic landscape. But they are amplified by Greenfield’s audacious love, imaginative wit, and determined singing: ‘when music flares up and takes a hold of you,’ Greenfield writes, ‘you have to dance as if / the very act of living depends on it.’”—David J. Daniels
From the Book:
Family Road Trip
You're pretty sure it's sagebrush
green blasted & bleached
by the sun. It always reaches
the horizon no matter where
the car points, clouds cast
shadows shaped like tortoises
that crawl across the desert.
Something subtle switches
as you cross: Joshua trees gather
then a sea of cacti no higher
than our knees. Husband
at the wheel, son singing
in the backseat & you
fiddling with the car's climate
press blue down for cool, red
up for hot. What you would die for
is already with you in the wagon
almost paid off. To ask
who you would die for will
never come to pass. The light
is long this time of year when
the border collects migrants who
had to answer: they found
an empty water bottle & photos
of children in the man's pocket
but had no idea who to call.
SONIA GREENFIELD was born and raised in Peekskill, New York, and her book Boy with a Halo at the Farmer’s Market,won the 2014 Codhill Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in a variety of places, including in the 2010 Best American Poetry, Antioch Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Los Angeles Review, Massachusetts Review, and Willow Springs. Her collection of prose poems, Letdown, is forthcoming. She lives with her husband and son in Hollywood where she edits the Rise Up Review and co-directs the Southern California Poetry Festival.