In Other Houses, Kate Cayley’s second collection of poetry, objects are alive with the presence of the people who have handled them. Myths and legends are interwoven with daily life. Visionaries, mystics, charlatans, artists, and the dead speak to us like chatty neighbours. An imaginary library catalogues missing people. Reading becomes a way of remembering the dead. Home is an elsewhere we are “called to,” a mystery that impels children to wander off, and adults to grow in unexpected directions.
Cayley couples a rich, meaty lyricism with the intimacy of direct address, creating a poetry that is at once embodied and spectral. She directs us to wonder, “Did light and dark have a taste and texture, like food?” At the same time, her command of voice and narrative is masterful—each of these poems unfolds with the sweep and precision of a compressed novel.