Murmurs at the Gate by Suzanne S. Rancourt – reviewed by Duncan Harley


Bereft of the usual capitalisation in the title line, Suzanne S. Rancourt’s new poetry anthology ‘murmurs at the gate’ makes for a quite reasonable read. I have taken the decision to capitalise the header. Not that you would really notice. It’s just that MS Word requires such pleasantries. 
Ms Rancourt is of course a military veteran and her past experiences show through and not at all in a shadowy way.

There are no smoke bombs here and the 200 or so pages encompass and expose the inner workings of a thoughtful poet who has bravely shed the notion that just a few poems would do for a first shot at stardom. Not that any are superfluous. Just that there are a lot of them.
In a more equal world, where editions flow more rarely, reviewers and commentators would have the privilege of following a poetic career. There are some ‘Oh my god the tank is on fire’ moments here. But equally there many short and concisely penned pieces such as November:

The tomato
like a cup of tea
your hands cupped its essence
an offering your hands made
like feeding doves
I was hungry

In extreme contrast the likes of Cold Steel, Fathers Gone and the bloodily suggestive Ba Boom: ‘what is action, I was just saying the other day how some assaults cause one person to disintegrate into wicked submission’ reveal the inner workings and the darker depths within this sometimes-dark anthology.

The Global War on Terror, a toothless Gramma and a splendidly titled poem headed ‘In Between’ inhabit this quite splendid collection of what must be a lifetime’s thoughts.
On a personal level, the lines ‘What kind of animal are we that does not recognize we are all related’ resonate. As does that anthem to the lost which includes the lines:

‘a coffee table edition of History Americana
as real today as it was then.
And most who read this
will not know what I’m talking about. ‘

If only this collection was available in every school and in every church throughout the land.

‘murmurs at the gate’ is published by Unsolicited Press and penned by Suzanne S. Rancourt

ISBN: 978-1-947021-92-1

Duncan Harley is author of several books on Scottish History including: The A-Z of Curious Aberdeenshire and The Little History of Aberdeenshire - both titles are available via Amazon

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