Poem by Martha Kapos

Eyewear is very pleased to welcome Martha Kapos (pictured) this Friday. She recently read for the Oxfam Series, in London, and is the author of one of my favourite contemporary poems published in the UK, which, by a happy coincidence, is below.

Kapos was born in New Haven, Connecticut and grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Having completed a degree in Classics at Harvard, she came to London to study Painting and the History of Art at the Chelsea School of Art, where she stayed to teach - writing and lecturing on art and poetry until 2001.

A pamphlet from The Many Press, The Boy Under The Water, was her first poetry publication in 1989. She won a Hawthornden Fellowship in 1994 and in 2000 was shortlisted for Poetry Review’s Geoffrey Dearmer ‘New Poet of the Year’ award. She became assistant poetry editor of Poetry London in 2001.

Her poems have appeared in a number of magazines including Poetry Review, PN Review, Poetry Wales, The Manhattan Review, and the TLS. A selection of her poems appeared in Oxford Poets 2002: An Anthology published by Carcanet. My Nights in Cupid’s Palace (Enitharmon, 2003) was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation and won the Jerwood/Aldeburgh Prize for Best First Collection.

Finding My Bearings

Such intricate
navigational equipment.
A search of the black sky

for the Pole Star. Soundings
to establish a safe depth.
Sailing in the dark up

the empty estuary, shining hotel
corridors with static
electricity in each doorknob.

Never go down teetum teetum
if you don’t go down with me.
Why are the little roads

to your secret address so faint?
The A to Z of your smile without
getting lost. Its turnings and

mysterious co-ordinates.
Let's look it up
in the index under S:

Something Circus
Something Crescent
Something Close

Acknowledgement to the TLS; reprinted with permission of the poet.


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