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Literature & Fiction - Poetry

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An Eye in Each Square

ISBN: 9798988137801
Binding: Paperback
Author: Lauren Mukamal Camp
Pages: 74
Trim: 6 x 8 inches
Published: 06/20/2023

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.


Lauren Camp is the author of five previous books of poetry, including Took House, which won the American Fiction Award in Poetry and was a finalist for the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award and the Southwest Book Design & Production Award. Her book One Hundred Hungers won a Dorset Prize and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award and Housatonic Book Award. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Narrative, Massachusetts Review, and Poet Lore; her work has been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, French, and Arabic. She is a senior fellow for Black Earth Institute and was Astronomer in Residence at Grand Canyon National Park in 2022. She is the Poet Laureate of New Mexico.


"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. 'I notice Agnes sits / and frames the room and the room where she sits is built reliable / around her,' Camp writes, illuminating the fact that 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 Swensen

"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