Lauren Camp is the author of five books, most recently Took House (Tupelo Press), which received the American Fiction Award in Poetry. Other honors include the Dorset Prize and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award, North American Book Award, and New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. Her work has appeared in Kenyon Review, Poem-a-Day, Blackbird, World Literature Today and The Los Angeles Review, and has been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, Serbian and Arabic. Camp's work has been supported by fellowships from Black Earth Institute, Denver Botanic Gardens and the Taft-Nicholson Center. She currently lives in New Mexico, where she teaches creative writing to people of all ages.
Samples of Work
No Other Place to Go
I was sitting on a bench watching night
move into place. I wasn’t doing nothing
and I wasn’t doing anything about that
either. It was unlike real life.
Simple, such looking without
having to notice. Stars little by little
gathered in the paunch above
and so I was thinking
about darkness and light, thinking gradations
of points and the uses of wings
and just then two people asked
to share the bench. Though they sat no distance
from me, they were only bodies lived
through voices. The mother began to tell
where they home—a concrete jungle she said,
two hours from this and two hours
beamed to another big city. Her husband
right then was down the road, wanting
to photograph the sky. In position,
awaiting. I sat without taking my eyes
from the vanishing, And that was what I was,
happy and whole. She said he lugs
his equipment on trips to find
any dark. She wanted him
to have what they can’t see in Delaware,
the missing data of the impossibly vast.
That night we saw stars fish around
and we filled only with what
they were doing.
86 Light Years Away
You are inside an equilibrium. Inside a legend
—or many. As all else is bluing, bats
slash without struggle. Dark begins to build
its boundaries. First settles at the bottom then vastly above.
In the middle, a jewel blue stripe. On it goes, the dark
mitering in. You are inside that equilibrium. That orb
overall. Lightning ripens and bisects to the north
without clamor. These are your brief concerns.
You have put on your winter cap because the air is askew
with direction. You see the sky isn’t null;
the dark darns itself to some traces.
You think of everyone you love. A tree leans,
undressed, toward the great expanse.
Dark awning. Dark buoy. Stars have started
their exercise. The eye draws from these some triangles
and brushes and dusted animals. Inside
the night a language is decoding. Dark
nips into its flavors and moods.
The blue has become a wedge, impossibly
closing on one edge. Should you look at that—
or how the dark keeps to its holding?
New stars saffron and tassel. You’ll never know
more than what leaks out. Before you, the blue road.
Very easy, your ear purposes patterns.
The woven sound of cicadas, the lid of a metal garbage can,
and dark instead of your eye again with its clarity.
The blue has crunched to a line on your left.
You are more inside the unlit and read it like a clock.
When you look at this, do you understand
strength and escape, how to stay, how to emerge?
Or is this only an ornate heaven to watch
for a while? You will need to pick your steps back.
Blue Sphere Cento*
tumbles in somersaults through the gathering darkness.
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"I grew to love the dark--That I could see so little and within it, just enough." Lauren Camp was selected as Grand Canyon's fourth Astronomer in Residence to explore through the written word the subtle emotions, aesthetic qualities, and complex thoughts we all feel under the vastness of the night skies. The Grand Canyon has welcomed a long history of poets who have attempted to capture its beauty with the pen--spend a Minute Out In It listening to Lauren read a night poem created during her residency.
Media Coverage of Lauren Camp's Residency
Poet Selected as new Grand Canyon Astronomer in Residence - Arizona PBS
Poet Lauren Camp Selected as Next grand Canyon Astronomer in Residence - Williams News
This New Mexico Teacher is the Newest Astronomer in Residence at the Grand Canyon - KJZZ The Show
Poet Selected as New Grand Canyon Astronomer in Residence - KNAU News Talk
Last updated: September 13, 2022