Poetry, chapbook, 32 pages, from Bottlecap Features.
Quarantine Daybook is the story of a woman in lockdown. Written during the first wave of COVID-19, when Europe and the rest of the world were shutting down, these pages peek into the life of an ex-pat, Parisian teaching-artist who is forced suddenly to face the reality of her “charming,” 27-square meter apartment. Confronting a true domesticity, she finds herself pacing, at once luxuriating in and lamenting, the hardwoods of her new formal constraint.
As she becomes fascinated by the intricacies of a day, normally spent in a hundred exchanges with strangers, now shrunken and wound tight, she pens her universe, increasingly intrigued with the revelations under her roof. This collection celebrates the woman in the wilderness of the indoors, as she discovers the joyous and painful reflexivity of her home, her confine.
“On the note of inspiration, Rilke once said that an artist knows no such thing as a 'poor indifferent place'—Carrie Chappell, then, clearly fits the bill. With Paris's strict pandemic lockdown as their backdrop, her poems gift an eager and eagle-eyed attention to the wonder hidden just beneath the surface of the everyday, at a moment when 'the everyday' has never been nearer to us nor tighter on us. Chappell takes what might have been called a humdrum quarantine year and cracks it open like an egg, taking a magnifying glass to the vivid life rolling and pitching inside of it. Alternately contemplative, humorous, plaintive, defiant, and practically dancing with exuberant, ecstatic love—Chappell's voice, buoyed by her nimble-footed lyricism and spirited investigations of language, strikes every note at the perfect pitch. These poems are a kind of salvation, reminding us of a truth often all too easy to forget: that even in the year that escaped time, we were living, still; with laughter, with sorrow, with affection, with conviction, with indomitable hope.”
-Marissa Davis, author of My Name and Other Languages I Am Learning How to Speak
"In Quarantine Daybook, Carrie Chappell deftly articulates the difficulties of space: the space to which we are confined during a quarantine in a global pandemic; the space to which we are confined—and comforted—by marriage; the space of our bodies, to which we women are confined with particularly absurd parameters. These poems are celebratory odes, stumbling into surprise, translating and mis-translating, finding hope in the realization that words, like our neighbors, can surprise us. And these poems are fortresses, meant to protect that which we risk losing, like past selves, tethers to family across long distances, the women we are becoming, and the daughters who will soon surface. Chappell helps us clear our 'email eyes' to better see ourselves and the world.
-Kristin Sanders, author of Cuntry
Carrie Chappell is a writer, editor, and translator and holds an MFA from the Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans. She is currently an English Lecturer at Cergy Paris Université in Paris, France; and Poetry Editor of Sundog Lit. Each April, she curates Verse of April, of which she is the founder. Some of her recent poems have appeared in Juke Joint, Iron Horse Literary Review, Nashville Review, Redivider, SWIMM, and Yemassee. Her lyric and book essays have been published in DIAGRAM, Fanzine, The Iowa Review, The Rumpus, The Rupture, and Xavier Review.
Bottlecap Features #4