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Worn Smooth between Devourings

NYQ Books • September 2023

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

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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