Articulate as Rain

Stephen KampaPublication: March 15th, 2018

£9.99

A collection that encompasses the Garden of Eden (Something for Everything) and the end of the world (Have It, Eat It), Articulate as Rain is an omnium-gatherum of tones, themes, prosodies, and poetic ploys. With characteristic comedy and surprising darkness, Stephen Kampa explores the relational aspects of our lives—love, faith, metaphysics, our civic selves—while revelling in the ranginess of the English language and in the music of its metrics. Yet for all its variety, this book reminds readers that countless raindrops can belong to the same storm.

Coming Soon

ISBN: 978-1-904130-91-8 Extent: 96pp Category:

Articulate as Rain

What first impresses and finally astounds in Stephen Kampa’s new collection is the unflagging richness of his invention and virtuosity of his execution, the way in which technical precision allows him to speak to us in an amazing variety of registers. We are privy to existential dilemmas and prone to collapsing in helpless laughter, sometimes on the same page. As was said of Ovid, Stephen does not know when to stop. Good for him and good for us. – Charles Martin

Articulate as Rain, Stephen Kampa’s latest collection, moves crisply between registers, sounding out ‘the revelations / of rhythm’ by which a man measures his life. Whether his subject is a tropical cyclone or an overflowing toilet, Kampa renders it with precision and wit, and each poem’s intricate architecture expands or contracts to suit the occasion. Elegant, wise, and resolutely tender, these are songs of experience, and Stephen Kampa is a masterful singer. – Caki Wilkinson

Stephen Kampa’s poems can ‘count the seconds, click by weighted click, / As though they were the tumblers to a safe,’ until what has been locked away in darkness—the musings of our moral and ethical lives—is revealed. His classically poised verses make a winningly modern music, and his recurring themes (also classical!) of lust and booze, culture shocks and attenuated verities have never been fresher. Ask Kampa’s tattoo artist for the skinny: ‘Fate, circumstances, physics, God—will pierce you / More times than you can count.’ This book is a boon! – David Yezzi

Something for Everything

Adam sat naming everything he’d miss.
He couldn’t quite explain
Why he was doing this
Or how he drew such pleasure from the pain

Of his enumerations: snowdrops twice
As vibrant from the view
Outside of paradise,
And paradisiacal birds with curlicue

Tail feathers drooping in foreboding loops,
And howler monkeys calling
To other howler troops,
The shade trees and the footpaths and the falling

Fruit, unforbidden, he was meant to eat—
To think of losing it
Made every bite more sweet,
So he indulged such thinking as he bit,

Grateful that loss was merely nomenclature,
A term to understand,
And reveled in his nature
As Eve approached him, something in her hand.

 

Have It, Eat It

What I expect
to see at the end
isn’t the moon
gray as a dusty plate
or red as
a party balloon let go

because its holder
just couldn’t wait to open
her first gift,
tearing sky-blue paper the way
the sky itself
will be torn to celebrate

in due time
with apt atmospherics the day
we all were
born, nor dune upon dune
of radioactive sand
blowing in a staticky hiss

like a radio
tuned to all the news
we’ll miss once
the party’s over and everyone’s
gone, but this:
one bare, branchless tree, straight

as the barrel
of an enormous gun, stuck
like a toothpick
in the cakey, sun-warmed mud
to see if
finally the world is done.

Excerpts

Something for Everything

Adam sat naming everything he’d miss.
He couldn’t quite explain
Why he was doing this
Or how he drew such pleasure from the pain

Of his enumerations: snowdrops twice
As vibrant from the view
Outside of paradise,
And paradisiacal birds with curlicue

Tail feathers drooping in foreboding loops,
And howler monkeys calling
To other howler troops,
The shade trees and the footpaths and the falling

Fruit, unforbidden, he was meant to eat—
To think of losing it
Made every bite more sweet,
So he indulged such thinking as he bit,

Grateful that loss was merely nomenclature,
A term to understand,
And reveled in his nature
As Eve approached him, something in her hand.

 

Have It, Eat It

What I expect
to see at the end
isn’t the moon
gray as a dusty plate
or red as
a party balloon let go

because its holder
just couldn’t wait to open
her first gift,
tearing sky-blue paper the way
the sky itself
will be torn to celebrate

in due time
with apt atmospherics the day
we all were
born, nor dune upon dune
of radioactive sand
blowing in a staticky hiss

like a radio
tuned to all the news
we’ll miss once
the party’s over and everyone’s
gone, but this:
one bare, branchless tree, straight

as the barrel
of an enormous gun, stuck
like a toothpick
in the cakey, sun-warmed mud
to see if
finally the world is done.