God Complex, Rachael Allen's second collection, is a sweeping and corrosive epic, a narrative poem that tells the story of the breakup of a toxic relationship in the face of the similarly toxic catastrophe of global degradation and disaster. Through the fiery and unstable speaker of the poem, these conditions become fused, lending themselves to the depiction of unutterable thoughts and seams of emotion. Measuring the impact of pollutants through an instrument of bodily grief and loss, perspective starts to blur and logic distorts, creating an entwining of human and landscape that culminates in a hallucinogenic alternative reality.
Loss is divined everywhere, in human relations, in the ruptures of class and privilege, in the poisoning of the planet. But it is through the purgatorial leavening of pain that the narrator works towards a more devotional life, one that derives healing from the delicate, persistent systems of a nonhuman landscape. The result is visionary, a book that vibrates with urgency and feeling.