Poetry, chapbook, 36 pages, from Bottlecap Features.
Ranney Campbell’s the desert so is the work of a poet who not only packed up her life in St Louis and remade it in Southern California, but turned sharply away from the academic creative writing of the program she attended. This collection is sometimes a lament and sometimes tough talk straight up. The words reach you where you might least expect it, in your guilty conscience for not living harder or better or just plain more.
The longing to be left alone, beckoned to by something as wide and open as the desert, is met by the yearning to share what is beautiful with someone. Campbell longs for such quiet that she imagines it possible to hear sound emanate from sunflowers and she paints a portrait of love using mediums of biochemistry and brain-waves complemented with concepts of subatomic physics and Bigfoot onto an untreated canvas of chosen belief.
If you listen to this poet, you may hear not only the quiet things but the violence in beauty and the insistence of the inner voices that make one wish to throw away dead life and start again where there is gorgeousness. In the reading, you may find a way, as Campbell has, to not only passively long but to act with openness and hope despite the risk — or perhaps, with the auspiciousness — of its ending in solitude.
Ranney Campbell is a former journalist whose first two chapbooks, Pimp, and Yes. Done. are published by Arroyo Seco Press and works of prose and poetry have appeared in publications such as Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Hummingbird: Magazine of the Short Poem, Third Wednesday, Twelve Winters, ONE ART, Storm Cellar and elsewhere. She is from St. Louis, Missouri, where she earned both a BA with concentrations in psychology and American politics and an MFA in fiction from the University of Missouri. She lives in Southern California with dreams of New Mexico.