A new Book by the New Mexico Poet Laureate, Lauren Camp.
The poems in WORN SMOOTH BETWEEN DEVOURINGS travel through fears of ecological devastation and national and global tragedy, and map routes away from despair. Worry remains in the background, even in landscapes that still hold time's beginning. Even in long love. "We are suspended in places / entire and different and home," Camp writes. These precise, sonically-driven poems investigate a confessed gaze for contentment with the conviction of quiet rebellion. Through repeating distance, multiplying birds and crisscrossing storylines, they offer a testament to land and lack, grief, faith, and endurance.
“An exhilarating tableau, WORN SMOOTH BETWEEN DEVOURINGS is wrought in spectacular language that is precise and a perfect vessel. This book captures the lifeblood of our experiences down to each crucial moment and image. Here is a poet writing with a sensibility forged from the viewpoint of one who sees the world in a way no one else sees it, and showing it to us in poems of immense personal impact. Camp has written, with splendor, a collection grounded in searing images of her world and ours. Here is 'an album of prayers... standing on the periphery of light' and at the center of things, singing 'the inevitable echoes' of life.” —Saddiq Dzukogi
“'There are no casual insights,' writes Lauren Camp in 'Lessons from a Temporary North,' and these brilliant poems bear out that truth again and again. Wildly original, dense with beauty and startle and riotously rich language, these poems explore their subjects—fire and climate, connection to the land and to one another— with urgency and empathy, and acknowledge the many ways we can be capsized by crisis and wonder alike. WORN SMOOTH BETWEEN DEVOURINGS is an exhilarating collection.” —Catherine Pierce
“WORN SMOOTH BETWEEN DEVOURINGS occupies a world as tightly wound as an octave-sharp E-string. Our world, that is. But in the midst of the regular, even relentless, calamities and instabilities, Lauren Camp's poems provide an essential calm, where there is, for example, 'a stone wall / against a bruised sky, / a red mailbox // and clapboard saturated / with morning rain.' That's a beautiful and special place—in the same world on the same earth—where we can believe in the possibilities of love, beauty, and peace.”—Robert Wrigley
Lauren Camp is the Poet Laureate of New Mexico and author of five books, most recently TOOK HOUSE (Tupelo Press, 2020). Two new books-AN EYE IN EACH SQUARE (River River Books, 2023) and WORN SMOOTH BETWEEN DEVOURINGS (NYQ Books) -are forthcoming in 2023. Honors include a Dorset Prize and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award and Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Witness, The Common, and Poet Lore, and her work has been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, and Arabic. Her work has received support from Black Earth Institute, Storyknife Writers Retreat, Denver Botanic Gardens, and the Taft-Nicholson Center. In 2018, she was a visiting scholar/poet at the Mayo Clinic, sharing poems of dementia with physicians and research scientists, and she was Astronomer in Residence at Grand Canyon National Park in 2022.