So Late to the Party

THE BOOK: “So Late to the Party.”


THE AUTHOR: Kate Angus.

THE PUBLISHER: Negative Capability Press. Based in Mobile, Alabama, Negative Capability Press has been publishing award-winning books since 1981 under the guidance of Editor-in-Chief Sue Brannan Walker.

Kate AngusSUMMARY: The poems in So Late to the Party, in different ways, all ask the same question: How can we best live in this beautiful terrible world that we are lucky enough to so briefly visit? There are poems about loneliness and desire, love and loss, longing and connection, cups of coffee and glasses of wine, wolves and tiny origami dragons, violins and shipwrecks, New York City’s East Village late at night and early mornings in Michigan, cassette tapes and theremins, and family and friends and lovers and pets who all make an appearance, wandering in and out of the poems.

WHY THIS TITLE?: Before this book was published, a different version of it was called Distant Satellite. I changed the title to So Late to the Party in part because I realized the redundancy of that previous title (what satellite isn’t distant?), but more because of how long it took for me to finish this book and find a publisher who would give it the home I wanted. For many years, I watched so many of my friends publish their first, second, third book while I was still trying to revise this book into the right version. I began to feel like there was some special room somewhere where a party was happening—the “being a published writer” party—and hopefully I’d been invited and I might walk into that room someday, but for the time being, I’d gotten lost along the way, I hadn’t printed out the right directions to find my way there or something. I did believe I’d eventually arrive at that party, but I felt very very late, especially in comparison (though I know you should never compare) to friends and grad school peers, so it started to feel as if my book’s title should reflect that feeling of lateness.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? I think So Late to the Party ultimately is about being lonely and curious and optimistic but also sometimes very sad and longing for a connection with others and the world. This is a very beautiful life, but also sometimes a really hard one, and these poems dwell in that space, in a speaker who is trying to figure out how can we live in this world as well and as happily and as kindly as possible even when we feel lost. I think anyone who has felt that way might find an echo of their experiences in these poems and so also hopefully feel a little less alone in the world.


“One of the reasons these poems are so successful is that they are genuine. Real enough to stop your breath. Today’s Book of Poetry felt like the poet/voice was someone he knew, already familiar with – or someone he wanted to know. Who wouldn’t want to get at the source of this humour and dark wit, the kindness and ready sharp tongue?…So Late to the Party has at least one ghost and one sonnet, a tiny dragon, wolves and so on. What…most impressed was the consistency with which Angus knocked her poems out of the park. Tension, humour, justice, fate, sorrow – it’s all in this remarkable first book….Today’s Book of Poetry’s greatest pleasure in his poetry life is discovering poets like Kate Angus.” —Michael Dennis, Today’s Book of Poetry review.

“‘Lift off the roof / of your skull,” writes Kate Angus in this confident, wonderful debut, and I do indeed feel my mind dangerously opened by the clarify and intimacy of these intelligent, warm, sad, funny, genuine poems. This poet takes us with her as she walks through the world, often alone, often filled with happy despair, always hopeful, always thinking of distant others, including us, her readers. This book does not merely describe, but enacts a faith in life, and in poetry’s necessity. This is the poetry for those of us who don’t just want but need to ‘always and silently unseal everything,’ to see what we can feel and know.” —Matthew Zapruder, author of Come On All You Ghosts.

“Lately I’ve been reading a Kate Angus poem every morning, so I can start the day falling in love with language. The poems in So Late to the Party look at love and lust, loneliness and longing, and treat us to a better understanding of the nuances of humanity. These poems will break your heart.” — Shelly Oria, author of New York 1, Tel Aviv 0.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Kate Angus was born and raised in Michigan, and currently lives in New York where she teaches at Gotham Writers’ Workshop, LIM College, and privately. She is the founding editor of Augury Books and the Creative Writing Advisory Board member for the Mayapple Center for Arts and Humanities at Sarah Lawrence College. Kate’s poetry and nonfiction have appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Tin House, Poetry Daily, The Academy of American Poets’ “Poem-a-Day” newsletter, Best New Poets 2010 and Best New Poets 2014. She has received the A Room of her Own Foundation’s “Orlando” prize; residencies from Interlochen Arts Academy, the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation, and the Betsy Hotel’s Writer’s Room; as well as The New York Times’ “Teacher Who Made a Difference” award. Her hobbies include drinking coffee, going to CrossFit, adding extra garlic when she cooks, and looking at pictures of dogs on the Internet.


Wild Rabbits Have Sharp Eyes

Which is another way of saying, everything you want to hide

blares like a motel’s Vacant sign. How long it took

for you to tumble into sleeping on the couch, the bed stripped

except for piles of laundry you could not bring yourself

to put away. Do you remember when you didn’t

live inside this city’s constant siren, when you were

the teenager in the woods, wearing dark like a blanket, the night

studded with stars as many as your friends. It’s just the past now:

the teenagers you later taught are all adults. They have children, lovers.

You have a certain archive of a mind

that files away the beautiful impractical. For example: The Amish

cultivate saffron. For example, Octopi have three hearts and die

of starvation–the mothers starve guarding

their unhatched eggs. So you know things.

Knowledge doesn’t fix the faucet whose drip stains

the white sink chlorine blue. Information is only your own hands

stroking your hips as you turn each night. What you would give

to be a wheat field during a storm. Stalks bending, seeded

by violent rain, and the sky a clotted

purple arch above you, lightening strikes that jolt you so you remember

no matter how dead you feel you are not dead.

LOCAL OUTLETS: So Late to the Party can be purchased at independent bookstores in New York City such as McNally Jackson, Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop, and The Corner Bookstore. links:

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Indiebound, and Small Press Distribution,
PRICE: $12.95


Instagram: @collokateangus

Twitter: @collokate Facebook:

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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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