Teaches of Peaches, a chapbook by Diane Exavier
"My father did not choose my mother," Diane Exavier writes early on in Teaches of Peaches. "He chose his condition and thought he could take care of both. He was wrong." Exavier's Teaches of Peaches is an elegy wrapped in an anti-elegy. It resists category and traditional form with a formidable nod toward hybrid. But unlike many hybrid collections, which work to show us idea through form and its faceted subversions, Teaches of Peaches presents form through idea and an idea's subversion to fact. We feel the heat of autobiography's grief chasm, but then Exavier encourages us to fall through that grief chasm with her. And grief is a funny thing in this collection. The death of her mother rests in a mausoleum in Haiti. The death of her father years later resides in another Exavier-sealed elsewhere. Grief is not a thing with feathers. It is the chiasmus of youth "masquerading in different vessels." It is in the porn Exavier watches as a girl and it is the girl herself: "Mismatched butterfly clips graced / the end of chubby fat twists / atop my head," Exavier writes. "I wanted to die." Grief is a disavowal. Grief is a cat named Peaches.
For the month of September, you can purchase Teaches of Peaches free of shipping, no matter where in the world you are. It is a gorgeous, svelte chapbook. TAR Chapbook Series's third and penultimate chapbook of 2017. As always, the beautiful cover was illustrated and designed by Emily Raw.
Praise for Teaches of Peaches
"Teaches of Peaches is a tour through the fragments of the origin, a meditation on the ways a life can be altered by intimacy, immigration and loss. Diane Exavier glides between verse and prose in a voice propelled by delicate honesty and powerful poetic inquiry. In her writing, we hear the footfalls of Dionne Brand and Édouard Glissant. We hear her movements through Haiti, Brooklyn and New England, in body and imagination. Exavier demands that we look, and look again: at how routinized survival can interrupt grief’s work of repair, and how the self becomes both memento and vessel of infinite possibility."
—Desiree Bailey, In Dirt or Saltwater
"It's a singular privilege to be let inside of Diane Exavier's home and mind. She is wildly generous with her process, questions, failures and fears. Her work is a gift."
—Morgan Parker, There Are More Beautiful Things than Beyoncé