Holler: A Poet Among Patriots, Danielle Chapman
Fine Softcover with Dust Jacket; 190 pages; 5″ x 7.5″
Publication Date: October 10, 2023
“A beautiful memoir … as devastating as American history itself … Few can write prose as musical and precise … Holler is a stunning book.” — Ilya Kaminsky
A tour de force of prose style, Holler is poet Danielle Chapman’s moving and provocative portrait of her Southern, military childhood — and an unflinching reckoning with what such an inheritance means now. A crucial book for anyone with a racial conscience in today’s divided America, Holler is one woman’s account of “the miraculous catastrophe” of being human in an inhumane world, and proof that it’s possible to fully face who we are while searching for forgiveness.
Holler begins with Chapman’s father’s death, in a scuba diving accident in Okinawa, which she witnessed at age three. Brought back to the States by her father’s father, the former Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, Chapman soon finds herself in the family’s ancestral farmhouse in Tennessee — a tavern built in 1790 and later an antebellum farm. There, Chapman encounters the pungent atmospheres of her Confederate forebears, and a living cast of Southern eccentrics and WWII warhorses, forcing her to confront America’s racism and its wars. She enters her Gen X adolescence on fire with liberal outrage, but bewildered by “what to do about it.” It’s only as an adult, returning to her memories after decades working as a poet and a professor, that Chapman is able to fully see the stories that made her — turning up the depth of their sins, their sufferings, and their grace.
Chapman’s second collection of poetry, Boxed Juice, is forthcoming in 2024
Danielle Chapman is the author of two collections of poetry, Delinquent Palaces (Northwestern University Press, 2015) and Boxed Juice, which will be released from Unbound Edition Press in 2024. She teaches Shakespeare and creative writing at Yale University and lives in Hamden, CT, with her husband, Christian Wiman, and their daughters Eliza and Fiona.
“Holler traces out the strands of self, place and history that bind us to any past we claim or disclaim…”
“…a magical and rare species of a book.”
“With blazing lyric intensity … Chapman’s story builds to a conclusion of mythic power … An astonishment. A lesson in being human.”
“A beautiful memoir … as devastating as American history itself … Few can write prose as musical and precise … Holler is a stunning book.”
“Chapman’s complex and sensitive approach offers a brave and insightful path forward as we confront the past.”
“Danielle Chapman sees — and lets us see — both the beauty and the horror of her family legacy in this sad, haunting, and, above all, unblinking memoir.”
“Chapman’s is a Southern story, American with a bitter and by-now familiar tint of blood racialism. [She] has broken into the past without prejudice. This is new.”