Julie's Reviews > Incorrect Merciful Impulses

Incorrect Merciful Impulses by Camille Rankine
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it was amazing
bookshelves: poetry, read-2015, best-of-2015

I read each of these poems aloud. There was no other way to do it. The rhythm of Rankine's lines, the urgency of her stanzas, demand to be listened to as much as read. My throat, tongue, mouth, lips felt the meaning at least as much as my brain.

In the half-light, I am most
at home, my shadow
as company.

When I feel hot, I push a button
to make it stop.I mean this stain on my mind
I can't get out. How human

I seem. Like modern man,
I traffic in extinction. I have a gift.
Like an animal, I sustain.
From The Current Isolationism


There is very little of the literal in Rankine's debut collection; instead, quiet, keening allegory and dreamlike-imagery push politics and love and body and broken soul through thin ice into the air to be snatched like smoke. She writes often of loneliness and of love, which are inseparable conditions, aren't they?
I am dirt
and all the nights that keep ending like this:
I return from the party, my life is smoke,
I fall asleep trying to seduce you.
From Wilt

Rankine presents a range of poetic structures, from numbered lists to tercets to free verse that ranges over the page, sometimes like the unchecked rush of a waterfall, sometimes like the painted stripes on a highway that keep you in your lane. But always, ever-present, is the lucid and luminous prose that rings like a clarion.

Dear night: It was so warm
under you that I offered
but you refused

to endure
From Vespertine

Here is what a broken heart feels like:
I turn to you to find
there is no you,
which means it's morning

and I will fail
at everything today.
From Wake

Incorrect Merciful Impulses was a chance find at a Copper Canyon Press poetry reading of Pablo Neruda's forthcoming Lost Poems. An impulse purchase. A correct and merciful one.
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Reading Progress

December 12, 2015 – Started Reading
December 12, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
December 12, 2015 – Shelved
December 12, 2015 – Shelved as: poetry
December 13, 2015 –
38.0% "Friday night I went to a Copper Canyon Press open house, to hear the first public reading of poems from The Lost Poems of Pablo Neruda, to be published by CCP in April 2016. Along the way, I picked up a few volumes of poetry, including this first collection by Camille Rankine. It's exquisite."
December 14, 2015 – Shelved as: read-2015
December 14, 2015 – Shelved as: best-of-2015
December 14, 2015 – Finished Reading

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