How to Be Happy Though Human


A timely collection of new and previously published work by one of Aotearoa’s most acclaimed poets, How to Be Happy Though Human is Kate Camp’s superb seventh book of poetry. It is published simultaneously in Canada and the United States by House of Anansi Press.


Kate Camp’s poetry has been described by critics as ‘fearless’, ‘wry, sympathetic, affable, deadpan’, and ‘containing a surprising radicalism and power’. Incorporating new, previously unpublished work and a selection of important poems from her six earlier collections, How to Be Happy Though Human represents a new chapter in her career.


Camp’s debut collection, Unfamiliar Legends of the Stars, won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry on publication over twenty years ago. Subsequent books confirmed Camp as a leading voice of her generation: widely anthologised, studied, and cited as an influence by emerging poets. Her work is recognised for its wide-ranging and eclectic subject matter, its technical control and its musicality, with pop culture, high culture, the domestic confessional, close observation and found language featured as recurring elements. Her fourth collection, The Mirror of Simple Annihilated Souls – which shares a title with Belgian mystic Marguerite Porete’s 1310 collection, a book that caused is author to be burned at the stake – won the poetry award at the New Zealand Post Book Awards in 2011 and marked a turn in her work towards darker and more philosophical subject matter.

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