Posts By Dimitra Xidous

Consent, by Kimberly Campanello

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Book Review: Consent, by Kimberly Campanello, Doire Press, 2013 

Consent is alive with poems that move the gut, that shock and excite in equal measure.  Eating and shitting, fucking and childbirth, living and dying – all are on full display and the end result is a collection that celebrates the body’s strengths and its breakdowns, and Campanello treats both with a tenderness that demands the reader pay attention.

Humour and defiance are out in full force throughout this collection, and each serves to highlight Campanello’s kindness to the body as it struggles to navigate  a world bound  by the ‘antonyms that bind consent’. In the opening poem ‘Consent’, physical acquiescence due to lactose intolerance, ‘My bowels are bound/by cheese and fear,’ is handled with humour that reads slightly of defiance –  ‘Meaning my shit is bound/for another bright port’.   In short, this sort of breakdown is nothing to be ashamed of.  In ‘The Eggshell Rule’ defiance – born of the notion that it is the fault of the skull, acquiescing for being so thin, a thinness that permits death –   turns to talk of equality, pushing the poem to an ending that is greater than the sum of its parts:

I just want to tell you,

I am a man and you are a woman.

But we are equal

in my mind.

fffffff

And how did I find you?

And you, me?

As is.

Elsewhere, as in ‘Grandma’, a poem about the body’s breakdown to Alzheimer’s, humour and defiance give way to love –

You burn through the bottom

of four coffee pots

You serve your grandchildren

raw sausages on Sunday

When you’re hungry

you eat ice cream

fffffff

 You forgo shots of botulism in the face

to stop the twitching in your eye

You are still beautiful

Like a baby mouse

your bones and veins

breathe through your skin

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