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Camille Rankine

May 15, 2013

Camille Rankine

Camille Rankine lives in New York City. She likes to dance and sit along the river with friends. Featured by Oprah Magazine as a poet to watch, Camille, who likes her clothes “pretty, in a less obvious way” displays her unique song with ninja level elegance. She’s understated but she’s definitely not shy to bring the reader into her vision.

Poetry heavy-hitter Cornelius Eady said of Camille’s writing, “What an amazing combination of eye, ear, breath, and nerve.” In 2010 Eady and the Poetry Society of America awarded her Slow Dance With Trip Wire a Chapbook Fellowship.

Camille is currently Assistant Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Manhattanville College which is kicking off its online literary magazine, The Manhattanville Review, later this month. It was described to me as “a space for ideas, adventure, misfits, mishaps and masterpieces.” I can’t wait to see what develops and I’m hoping to get in some dancing or sitting by the river time with this busy poet and game changer.

from “Symptoms of Prey” by Camille Rankine

We can only guess at these events: if the gun
came through the door first, who chased whom
in the parking lot. How much was held in
that gesture: one hand to her head, one
switching the lamp off. We know how the body
smoked after. How the blood left her like a cloud.

1. What is your hometown?

Portland, OR. But I’ve lived in Harlem, NY for the past few years. And I also consider Jamaica my home. So those places. All three.

2. With what fictional character do you most identify?

 Jack McCoy.

3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.

 Sam Waterston.

4. What work of art speaks to your soul?

The ocean.

5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?

All my reading for the past few months has been reading for work. Right now, it’s Reginald Shepherd, Orpheus in the Bronx: Essays on Identity, Politics and Freedom of Poetry. And I definitley recommend it.

6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?

Tune-Yards. W H O K I L L.

7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?

Probably something completely inappropriate. I think it was Skyfall. So tragic.

8.  Cat person or dog person?

Both. And preferably it’s a kitten and a puppy and they’re friends and playing together and napping on each other and so forth.

9. What is more important, truth or kindness?

I tell the truth, but I try to be kind about it.

10.    How do you define sin?

I don’t.

11.    How do you define virtue?

I don’t.

12.   Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?

Don’t make me. I don’t want to die.

Bonus Question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?

Jack McCoy.

Camille Rankine
The Manhattanville Review

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