Two poems from Kate Camp’s sumptuous new collection


Kate Camp22 copy.JPG

Photo credit Grant Maiden



Woman at breakfast

for Alice

This yellow orange egg
full of goodness and

Round end of the knife
against the yolk, the joy
which can only be known

as a kind of relief
for disappointed hopes and poached eggs
go hand in hand.

Clouds puff past the window
it takes a while to realise
they’re home made

our house is powered by steam
like the ferry that waits
by the rain-soaked wharf

I think I see the young Katherine Mansfield
boarding with her grandmother,
her duck-handled umbrella.

I am surprised to find
I am someone who cares
for the bygone days of the harbour.

The very best bread
is mostly holes
networks, archways and chambers

as most of us is empty space
around which our elements move
in their microscopic orbits.

Accepting all the sacrifices of the meal
the unmade feathers and the wild yeast
I think of you. Happy birthday.


©Kate Camp, The Internet of Things, Victoria University Press, 2017



Mr Tumnus, the neighbours’ guinea pig
out in his triangle run. Beside him
the daphne: it’s almost embarrassing
to fall for its charms in yet another winter.

This garage was the stable of the taxi horses
when they pulled their way, steaming,
up from the coast. There was a racetrack there
but they weren’t those kind of animals.

From here I’m looking down on our roof
its grey, regular valleys like a well behaved ocean
and the stairs, their cracks
luminous with pine pollen.

And I’m looking down on buses—
methodical yellow envelopes—
and on the lights changing from red to green,
the black shadows of the pines.

You are not to tell me to be careful but I am,
with all my bags in one hand.


©Kate Camp, The Internet of Things, Victoria University Press, 2017


The Internet of Things.jpg


A sumptuous cover for a sumptuous read that is full of nooks and crannies, things in plain view, just off the edge of the page to track, or exquisitely placed on the shelf of the line. There is a sense of slow contemplation, of lingering and then releasing. For the first time ever, as I perused my list of poems that stuck to me, I couldn’t decide, so cheekily asked permission to post two. ‘Woman at breakfast’ takes the simplicity of an egg to mark the value of life, connections, friendship, memory. Inside and beyond the pulsing image, there are rich layers to dawdle over. It is dedicated to Alice Leila Chidgey. ‘Detail’ borrows the title  from Ursula Bethell’s poem about a garage. Again the aromatic detail, the movement that is andante rather than allegro, and the layers that are brought into life by the terrific ending.

Kate Camp has published five collections of poetry. She won NZSA Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry in 1999 and NZ Post Book Award for Best Book of Poetry in 2011 for The Mirror of Simple Annihilated Souls. You can hear her discuss classic literature with Kim Hill on Radio NZ with Kate’s Klassics. She is the 2017 Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellow.

1 thought on “Two poems from Kate Camp’s sumptuous new collection

  1. Pingback: Congratulations to the Ockham Book Award Poetry Longlisters | NZ Poetry Shelf

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