Synopses & Reviews
"A poet to watch."O Magazine
"I tell the truth, but I try to be kind about it."Camille Rankine in 12 Questions
Named "a poet to watch" by O Magazine, Camille Rankine's debut collection is a series of provocations and explorations. Rankine's short, lyric poems are sharp, agonized, and exquisite, exploring themes of doubt and identity. The collection's sense of continuity and coherence comes through recurring poem types, including "still lifes," "instructions," and "symptoms."
From "Symptoms of Aftermath":
When I am saved, a slim nurse
leans out of the white light. I need
to hear your voice, sweetheart. I see
my escape. I walk into the water.
The sky is blue like the ocean,
which is blue like the sky.
Camille Rankine is the author of the chapbook Slow Dance with Trip Wire, selected by Cornelius Eady for the Poetry Society of America's Chapbook Fellowship. The recipient of a 2010 "Discovery" / Boston Review Poetry Prize and a MacDowell fellowship, her poetry appears in Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Tin House, and other publications. Currently, she is assistant director of the MFA program in creative writing at Manhattanville College and lives in Harlem.
Rankine’s highly anticipated debut collection is carefully constructed but riddled with deliberate rifts that threaten to tear into its ordered existence. It is this quiet tension that raises the stakes on assertions such as “we have two lives/ and only one of them is real.” The landscapes are alluring yet sparse conflict torn and replete with natural disasters; the poems’ speaker is plagued with worries of nonexistence “all object// all dress no bone.” A profound sense of loneliness permeates and that void is treated with ambivalence as the speaker seeks another’s touch and then flees from it: “A flock of birds/ when touched I scatter.” Love is therefore also viewed as the potential herald for doomsday (which it often is in this collection) the speaker admonishing a lover “You swore// there would be no other/ apocalypse and here we are/ again.” Desire for the other is “a sickness” and “viper’s poison.” Rankine’s style can be opaque—though fittingly wary of letting others in—but it yields many rewards; grappling with her language and engaging with the poems’ mysteries become their own pleasures. And it becomes easy to relate to feeling like “a dummy swaddled/ in worry and want tethered/ by two small rooms a few small thoughts.” Rankine skillfully matches form to content and her linguistic ingenuity is worth reveling in. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
This debut volume introduces a powerful new voice that focuses on doubt, identity, and the fractious, modern world.
This debut collection from a young, African American poet, is a series of provocations and explorations. Rankines short, lyric poems are sharp, agonized, and exquisite, exploring themes of race, doubt, and identity in the fractious, modern world. The collections sense of continuity and coherence comes through recurring poem types, including still lifes,” instructions,” and symptoms.”
About the Author
Camille Rankine is the author of Slow Dance with Trip Wire, selected by Cornelius Eady for the Poetry Society of Americas Chapbook Fellowship. The recipient of a 2010 Discovery” / Boston Review Poetry Prize and a MacDowell fellowship, her poetry appears in Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Tin House, and other publications. Currently, she is Assistant Director of the M.F.A program in Creative Writing at Manhattanville College and lives in New York City.