Tag Archives: The Difficult Farm

The Difficult Farm by Heather Christle

25 Dec

Christle Cover

I just finished this book, why I didn’t read it sooner is beyond me, and I wanted to say, “I think it’s really good,” but that’s a bad single-sentence review.

The busyness of the poems, of the speaker’s mind, remind me of right now, it’s Christmas, and weird things are happening, and I’m thinking things, and people are playing professional sports, and other people are getting fatter, and a bird outside is flying because it wants to.

Yeah, I just admitted I wish I had read it sooner, but maybe the only other time I wish I’d read it was during Christmas time last year, the only time hectic in this place, by place I mean my house and my head, that collide with, or perhaps compliment, these poems so well.

In their strangeness, these poems can chatter with the best of them, that meaningful chatter making me want to interact, to get up and trot around, to find a nice ear or hole in the world and talk into it.


Here’s a little bit of my favorite poem that might make this post a little more “together,” since it’s the holidays and all, since we’re supposed to be together:

It Is Raining In Here

I am remembering how yesterday

a falcon landed on the telephone pole

and we stepped out of the car, amazed.

It was the color of somebody’s carpet.

In somebody’s carpet there is a falcon-

shaped hole. The trees here by the airport

stand leafless and wet, full of hidden coils

and a light that battles the asphalt. I love

the asphalt and everyone’s terrible behavior.

And I quoted more of that than I planned, but read the whole glorious thing at Sixth Finch. Or buy the book from Octopus Books. Or from Laura at the VouchedATL table if you’re so lucky to be near that goodness.


Awful Interview: Heather Christle

15 Jul

Heather Christle is not a cowboy. She is many other things. For instance, she  recently proved to be very good at answering your telephone call. Some of her other talents include: wearing bold head-wear, wearing nothing on her head, and most importantly, writing poetry. I am so very glad that she will be reading at Vouched Atlanta’s launch reading. You should be too.

To help promote your poetry collection, The Trees The Trees, you released your phone number on the interwebs so that people could call you hear you read them a poem. So here’s my question: did you ever consider reading them with a foreign accent or an impersonation of some sort? Like, if I called you right now could you read me one as Sam Elliot?

I’m not a very good cowboy. Once at a party in Portland where I only knew a couple people, I pretended to be Russian. It pretty much worked. I don’t think I will try it again.

What inspired you to pretend to be Russian? Have you ever been to Russia? I like the fuzzy hats they wear, you know- Ushankas.

I was inspired by a dress I was wearing, a then-recent purchase from an antique shop. I’ve not been to Russia, though I would love to go. Never enough money. I too love those hats. I’m looking forward to moving back to Massachusetts, where I will once again have the opportunity to wear notable winter hats. My sister has been the custodian of a really excellent one during my tenure in the south. It is the kind of hat that makes people talk to its wearer. We’ve been collecting conversations and comments it has caused:

Comments & Questions

  • You look like a dandelion!  From the back!  A dandelion!
  • You look like an animal walking away from here.
  • What is it made out of?
  • That must keep you warm.
  • You must be sweating when it is 10 degrees outside.
  • That is a great hat by the way.
  • That is a great hat.
  • That is a great hat by the way.
  • I thought you were a snow bear.
  • You look like a macaroon.
  • It’s not that cold out.
  • I used to have a hat like that.
  • We all used to wear hats like that.


  • (a woman seated in a crowed and posh restaurant grabs a pom pom and paws at it like a balloon in the air)


  • A: Nice hat.
  • B: Thanks.
  • A: Can I borrow it tomorrow night?
  • B: No.
  • A: If I give you a free coffee will you give me that hat?
  • B: No.
  • A: Can I touch your hat?
  • B: Ok.
  • A: I have been wanting to do this all night.

Wow, that sounds like it is most certainly a conversation starter. I like the part where the lady pawed the pom-pom at the restaurant. Do wear a thinking-cap while you write your poetry? If you don’t, would you be opposed to wearing one? Would it help?

I like for there to be nothing on my head when I am writing. I even have to pull back my hair. If I am too aware of my head I find it difficult to concentrate.

So what happens in your head when there’s nothing on your head? Where does your inspiration come from?

It depends. I go through phases. When I was writing The Difficult Farm I was inspired by a process of thinking of only one word at a time, getting to constantly surprise myself. With The Trees The Trees it was prepositions that got me going, and some questions about the line. Lately it’s been color and light. My reading is always waking me up to new possibilities, whether I’m reading poetry (Inger Christenson’s Alphabet is very much with me right now), or something else (Richard Dawkins, for instance).

Is there anything you would like to say to the people who are considering coming to the reading on the 24th?

It’s going to be fun. Not indoor-fireworks kind of fun, but still pretty great.

SSR #2 of 15: The Difficult Farm

9 Jul

For my second single sentence review, I would like to draw your attention to Heather Christle‘s first collection of poetry, The Difficult Farm. I will also be carrying her sophomore release, The Trees The Trees, on the table– but more on that later. Both titles are releases from Octopus Books.

We are lucky enough to have Heather read for us! Which means, yes, you have the opportunity to have her read her poems to you (if you hadn’t heard them on the phone already) and then bring them home to read to yourself later! 

These poems are hard-core magical incantations, the kind I would get up and say aloud if I was a Quaker at a ‘Friends Meeting’ because they move me in the G way, in the elated prayer sense, but with less consequences and lots more fun.