The World’s Largest Cherry Pie is Sophie Appel’s debut poetry collection, released by Los Angeles alt lit heir, Dream Boy Book Club. Cherry Pie is an inversion of Alexa Chung’s 2013 work It, illustrating Appel’s disparate constellation of other people’s bedrooms and the activities in it. Appel’s poetry evokes imagery of codebreaking rentals and listless travel between the coasts. In one of Cherry Pie’s opening poems, titled “Cygnet”, Appel states:

“I’m never alone when I have my purse / because It’s actually just made out of me.”

Items like cigarettes, lip gloss, receipts, and change compose a purse. Appel’s narration places more abstract ideas into her purse, like bad dreams and their symbolic imagery. Cherry Pie comes from a place of continued girlhood in a life turning the corner in the other direction, approaching the hurdle of 30 with Appel’s unique tone of feminine anxiety.

Appel evokes a specific late-twenties sense of dread. In one poem, she talks about all the world’s flies drowning in left out glasses of wine, indicating that everything is already so over. While Cherry Pie is rife with post-millennial images alluding to nervous sex and hurt feelings, Appel is also literal through the titles of pieces like “A Public Record of My Self Hatred”. “Like a bad dream,” Appel writes in her litany of items edifying the titular record. Cherry Pie is its own collection of flashing vignettes set against the careening cityscapes of Los Angeles and New York City.

Cherry Pie is an expression of the luteal phase – whatever the subject matter at hand is, it keeps getting worse. Appel confesses in “Except For That Snake”:

“This was supposed to crash.”

All the ugly emotions she writes about culminate in sharp and wrenching lines that embellish the damaging girlhood that stays long after its actual time has passed. As an author presumably in her late twenties, Appel’s book answers what comes next, at least for the women that feel the same way that she does –

“I’m ready for the end now,”

“I’m ready for the desert.”

“Key Hole Limpets, Crabs, & Mussels” adds to the aforementioned idea of ascended girlhood. Like a child, she pouts: “Today was supposed to be nice.” Appel’s narration comes from this ideal of post-25 and pre-30 teenage girldom, an odd space in between the beginning and what is to be perceived as the end of all life. Appel references stilted emotions and positions them against images like the dead flies, establishing feelings of not only loneliness but a complete lack of understanding from the world through the idea of exiling yourself to the desert. In the narrative’s pressing need to be understood, it also communicates that it may be better off alone. In “395 After Plague”, Appel echoes the late Dolores O’Riordan by asking:

“How do you know which way to go?”

She’s answered this question several times in the book, providing a compelling argument for already knowing how it all ends.  

Available now at Dream Boy Book Club