Frances of the Wider Field
“What distinguishes Laura Van Prooyen’s Frances of the Wider Field is the collection’s attention to the specific imaginative image. Images are emotion’s rivets that fasten our feelings to language of a specific time and place. In Van Prooyen’s poems, images go beyond representing emotions to actually recreating them with evocative language and details.”
“Frances is an entity toward which these poems direct questions, imagine alternate lives, and tell secrets. As such, Frances doesn’t offer answers or solutions, but she does seem to listen. She also embodies a kind of freedom-in-action that the speakers of these poems seem to wish for.”
“In her third book, Frances of the Wider Field, poems are populated by a shifting but constant group of personages, often gravitating towards loss. Mother, daughter, sister, and the enigmatic Frances recur, nearly cyclically, along with God, and with silence. ”
“In Laura Van Prooyen’s Frances of the Wider Field, time and space are slippery things, as is memory. Memory and the mysterious Frances of the title hover over the book like glimmers and ghosts seen from the corner of the eye. . . .
Laura Van Prooyen captures the illusory quality of memories rooted in emotion. The ones that stay with us often recall powerful moments of shame, grief, or joy, yet the tone throughout is calm and reflective, showing the distance in time and place from the moments recalled.”
–Kim Jacobs-Beck for Southern Indiana Review read the entire review here.
Our House Was on Fire
“It might be optimistic to think that great poetry can undo the mistakes of empty language and everyday cliché, but I do think Van Prooyen’s verse is the type that can reach such accomplishment. “Our Story in Snow” is one of the most gorgeous, measured love poems I have ever read.”
I picked Our House Was on Fire because of the way it flows together as a whole. I was very taken with how these poems, which vary widely in their subjects and images, play off of each other, how they build and root deeper as they progress. The poems about her child are interspersed in a way that feels like everything else is suspended by that gravity. And while Van Prooyen entertains other preoccupations—loneliness, love, heartbreak, memory, the natural world, and domestic life—that dull ache of motherhood is always just under the surface of image and sound.
–Lyric Essentials: Megan Merchant Reads Laura Van Prooyen
Other reviews of Our House Was on Fire
Inkblot and Altar
“. . . the poems are tight and controlled without ever feeling over-managed. They are crisp and clear and true. Van Prooyen explores (and ponders the very nature of exploration while doing so) and re-explores the self, the challenging of the rules, and her work is filled with desire and questions, innuendo and prayer.”