For previous posts on the contributors, see these authors who were all featured in the first section of the book, “Mystics and Messengers.”
And from the second section of the book, “Angels Watching Over Me.”
Lauren Camp is the Poet Laureate of New Mexico (2022-2025) and the author of five books, most recently Took House. Honors include the Dorset Prize and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award, Housatonic Book Award and New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. In 2018 she was a visiting scholar/poet at the Mayo Clinic, presenting her poems on dementia to physicians. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Witness, and Poet Lore, and her work has been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, Servian, and Arabic. She also had a successful career as a visual artist (1996-2008) and spent 15 years as a producer and host for Santa Fe Public Radio. www.laurencamp.com
I’ve never met Lauren but she was recommended to me when I was looking for poets to invite to contribute to this collection. I’m so glad I “discovered” her, especially for exploring the beauty of her poetry, but also because we both share the grief of losing a parent to dementia—my mother and Lauren’s father. I wrote a memoir about my relationship with my mother during her struggle—Tangles and Plaques: A Mother and Daughter Face Alzheimer’s. If I had a mustard seed of poetry in me I would have expressed my grief in verse, as Lauren has. Here’s one of the poems she sent me for this collection.
“Prayer for My Father’s Frontal Lobes”
Leave him a little, the prelude to night. Leave him
his languages and lonesome embellishmens. First name
and leave him a gap to last strip
of being. We redistrict to his breakings, and he to old
photographs with content. Leave him far more—
the wide anchor of winter, his eye on the flat of the river,
The desert is blooming
its nests and mending. These days I confide in vague
fractions, the durable light.
Leave him the ordinary.
Leave him his storms. Pray away vanishing.