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An Eye in Each Square

River River Books • June 2023

Award-winning poet Lauren Camp’s sixth collection of poetry.

With the gifts of a visual artist and poet’s attention, AN EYE IN EACH SQUARE confronts our era’s barbed and shifting networks of power and atrocities. Lauren Camp’s sixth collection of poetry offers social critique within an imaginative biography of enigmatic painter Agnes Martin and a treatise on the multiplicities of the natural world. Rendering its landscape in precise imagery and lyrical language, AN EYE IN EACH SQUARE asks the reader to hold the conscience of the world and also to claim what we might need most–the risky and urgent space of comfort found within the artist’s line.

“The paintings and mind of artist Agnes Martin echo through the very structure of these poems. In fact, Martin is the book’s structure. She is a form like a sonnet is a form. … Ekphrasis is no contrivance. It is a cosmology. These poems are ‘slow and persuasive.’ They move like the sea, mirror the stillness of the sky, mapping and refining a deep interiority. Agnes Martin’s visual work is composed of verticals and horizontals, and Camp finds their parallel in poetry’s unit of measure, the line, a line that is a question providing its own answer.”–Diane Seuss

“These poems shine with the crystalline austerity of an Agnes Martin painting, sparkling with precise imagery, crisp word choices, and surprising swerves of syntax. The whole braids personal exploration with a deep appreciation, not only of Martin’s work, but also of her unusual participation in the land around her. These poems, similarly, become a part of the landscape in an alchemical feat that brings the reader into its very heart.”–Cole Swenson

“In AN EYE IN EACH SQUARE, Lauren Camp explores the boundary between seeing the world and watching the seeing of the world by somebody else–in this case, the artist Agnes Martin. It’s difficult to capture making in a medium different from the medium in which the making is happening, but Camp translates the feeling of looking into words and accomplishes thereby a rare thing: She writes poems as full as the things about which she is writing.”–Shane McCrae

Writer and educator Lauren Camp works in the confluence of sound, psychology and language.

New Mexico Poet Laureate Lauren Camp is the author of seven poetry collections, most recently An Eye in Each Square (River River Books, 2023) and Worn Smooth Between Devourings (NYQ Books, 2023).

She was awarded a 2023 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship. Other honors include a Dorset Prize and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award, the Housatonic Book Award and the Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry. In 2022, she was Astronomer in Residence at Grand Canyon National Park. Lauren is the recipient of fellowships from Denver Botanic Gardens, The Taft-Nicholson Center for Environmental Humanities and Black Earth Institute. She was a visiting writer at the Mayo Clinic, and artist in residence at Lowell Observatory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Kenyon ReviewPrairie SchoonerMid-American ReviewMissouri Review, and The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day.

Her work has been translated into Turkish, Mandarin, Serbian, Arabic, French and Spanish. She teaches for Poetry Out Loud-New Mexico and leads her own community workshops.

She has pivoted from a successful career as a visual artist (1996-2008). Her portrait series, “The Fabric of Jazz,” traveled to museums in ten cities. More artwork can be found in cultural centers, hospitals, museums, U.S. embassies and other organizations around the world. For 15 years, she was a producer and host for Santa Fe Public Radio.

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