“Within the circuits of a dark eloquence, Bin Ramke has found a way to locate a self within the bonds of history and in so doing has broken those bonds into a new 'conspiracy of dazzle.' If knowledge is form—and it is—here is a poetry that everywhere shows us what it knows and leads us into a stunned gratitude.”—Ann Lauterbach
“Wake works brilliantly as a whole—the book's title with its multiple meanings impregnates the poems and allows them to speak to one another—and the overriding emotional thrust is a nostalgia freed of sentimentality, a nostalgia for the dream, for the dead, and for the ephemeral traces of nature, remnants that touch our senses…Wake is epic in its measure of the ruined world, which is our world, whether we dare claim it or not.”—Rain Taxi
“Readers should be thankful that Ramke has shared his inner peregrinations; those sturdy enough to withstand the hard Sophoclean light of his examination of humankind and the world at large may be the wiser for it.”—Max Winter, Boston Review
Throughout Bin Ramke's book of poems, certain elements recur insistently: birds and boyhood, betrayal and longings that careen between flesh and faith.
Ramke refuses to distinguish between scientific and poetic approaches to knowing the world. In Wake, the poet does not pretend to offer wisdom but instead offers words, and the words are given as much freedom as possible. The title itself resonates with all its presumptive meanings: an alternative to dreaming, a ceremony binding the living to the dead, and the pattern left briefly in water by boats—handwriting as turbulence in a fluid medium.
Elements of the world at large are woven into the language of these poems, resulting in a conversation among transcripts from the trial of Jeffrey Dahmer, passages from the notebooks of John James Audubon, a meditation on the Book of Daniel, whole epic sentences out of Milton, and the modest observations of the struggling poet himself.
A Little Ovid Late In The Day
It is late in the day
to outlive the words:
tales of incest, corruption,
any big, mythic vice
against the color of sun,
the sweetness of the time of day—
I know the story,
it is the light I care about.
The book falls from my hands
and I know all the stories,
I know better than that.
They glitter in the grass.
This is fun in the summer,
the sun descending onto my back,
the weight of eight light-minutes
warm there against skin.
Someone will read aloud to me
when I have forgotten the words,
the look they make against the page,
the kind of stain it is against the paper.