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Rankine , Camille

Camille Rankine

Years: Honorary Fellow


Camille Rankine is the author of Slow Dance with Trip Wire, selected by Cornelius Eady for the Poetry Society of America's 2010 New York Chapbook Fellowship. The recipient of a 2010 "Discovery"/Boston Review Poetry Prize, she is featured as an emerging poet in the fall 2010 issue of American Poet and the April 2011 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. Her poetry has appeared in American Poet, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Indiana Review and POOL: A Journal of Poetry, and was commissioned by the New York Botanical Garden for their Literary Audio Tour. Camille received her BA from Harvard University, and her MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. Formerly the Manager of External Relations & National Programs at Cave Canem Foundation, Camille is currently Assisant Director of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Manhattanville University. She lives in New York City.




What is this flawed obedience?

There’s only one of me, I guard my door

at noon and in the early dark

I put myself away. At dawn,

a man approaches.  The man is you. 

He tells me to keep going, I say

yes and we argue all day. I tell him

to forget me.  I dislike this warmth, I worry

at my own fat want, a hobby. 

I am not good, I do not strive

for it. I am quiet, unmerited

bleak. I am tragic and the sky

appears red. I am passionate, of course: I kneel.

I tear at the floorboards.  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 Slow Dance with Trip Wire, Poetry Society of America, 2011